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Is road safety really a priority?

6 December 2021

In this thought piece from TRL we hear from Dr Neale Kinnear who was was inspired on a visit to India to compare attitudes to road safety and what that means for a desire to reach Zero road deaths.

Hi says: 'In truth, zero is achievable, because roads should be a controlled transport system, but it is fatally flawed until we treat it as such. Let’s be honest, safety is not the number one priority for politicians, management agencies, or the public. Transport Focus tell us that drivers’ biggest concern isn’t the fact that their fellow road users are being killed and maimed every day, it’s that the road surface isn’t very comfortable to drive on. Governments and transport agencies have long focused on the driver, trying to ‘fix them’, avoiding anything that might regulate or impact on our rights and freedom, ignoring the contractual responsibility that comes with being a licence holder. Any occupational health and safety scheme will tell you that you can’t fix people to reduce risk. You have to manage risk through process, regulation and safety nets to account for the inevitable mistakes that humans will make. The strongest mitigations look to remove known risks. If that is not possible then to substitute risky situations with an alternative solution, or finally to minimise the risk. The weakest option is relying on the user to manage the risk (e.g. the driver).'

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