Following the announcement by the Government of a range of measures designed to improve road safety, including awarding penalty points on driving licences for not wearing a seatbelt, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“The Government is rightly recognising there are different challenges drivers contend with throughout their driving careers, so we broadly welcome many of these proposals.
“Of course it is right to crack down on those that do not wear a seatbelt and we welcome tougher penalties which will encourage some to belt up behind the wheel. But this alone won’t be enough to make the roads safer.
A number of those who choose not to buckle up are also likely to be those that flout other road traffic laws. This reinforces the importance of enforcement and we fear some drivers will persist without the genuine threat of being caught and prosecuted for not wearing a seatbelt. That’s why the Government’s promised look at roads policing is so important – with far fewer full time officers on the roads, the prospect of many people being caught for this offence and others that increase the safety risk on our roads – such as illegally using mobile phones – is worryingly low.
“The Government is also right to focus on rural roads given that these types of roads are often where many serious collisions take place. Incorporating plans for learner drivers to get more practice on these road types as well as night time driving will be beneficial to improving overall driving standards. We would hope a rural road users panel would focus on both road design standards, appropriate speed limits and overall rural road conditions.
“At the same time, while we applaud proposals to reinforce campaigns on road safety, our research suggests that illegal habits such as handheld mobile phone use and even drink driving are on the increase. Clearly some of the messages are not getting through so this will require some fresh thinking.”