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House of Commons Hansard
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01 March 2018
Volume 636
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11. What steps his Department is taking to reduce road injuries and deaths. [904114]

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In December 2015 the Department for Transport published the road safety statement “Working Together to Build a Safer Road System”, and we are making excellent progress in delivering its objectives. I am pleased to announce today that the Department has, in our third attempt, commissioned an objective scientific study to understand the relationship between tyre degradation, the passage of time and the effect on tyre safety. Two earlier attempts to commission that research were unavailing. The guidance given has been very effective in this area, but that marks a further move towards better road safety.

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My constituents Julian and Gill Smith, who tragically lost their daughter Rhiannon nearly a year ago in a car collision, are now campaigning for better preventive action. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) and ask that the Minister looks seriously at calls by campaign groups such as Brake to establish a UK road collision investigation branch, so that we can have more crash data and evidence to prevent deaths and injuries on our roads.

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As the hon. Lady says, that is a tragic incident for the family concerned, and one’s heart goes out to them. As I said to the hon. Member for Huddersfield, we continue to look closely at the possibility of setting up such a national body.

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In the last 15 years, there have been 340 casualties on the notorious A417 near the Air Balloon pub. There have been 148 accidents in the last five years alone. Will my hon. Friend join me in warmly welcoming the landmark of reaching the consultation stage on the shortlisted new roads scheme? Does he agree that, by backing that project, this Government are committed to saving lives on Gloucestershire’s roads?

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Of course I welcome that. As my hon. Friend will be aware, it has been the product of a great deal of hard work by local campaigners and the Department over a considerable period.

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Would the Minister consider reducing the drink-drive limit? The reduction in Northern Ireland and Scotland has led to fewer deaths and injuries on the road and less work for the police. It is surely the most obvious thing to do.

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We continue to keep the situation under review. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, there have been moves in that direction in Scotland. As that policy works its way through, we will continue to look closely at the issue.