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18 July 2012, 16:16
The Government needs 'stronger leadership and a clearer vision'' on road safety, a report by MPs said today.
Ministers should provide an explanation for the increase in road deaths recorded last year, the report from the House of Commons Transport Committee said.
This was the first annual increase since 2003 and the Government should give reassurances ''that this does not mark the beginning of a worrying trend in road deaths'', the report added.
The committee said road accidents were the leading cause of death among young people aged 16-24.
But the MPs said that despite assurances that the issue of young driver road safety was a priority, "we are not convinced that this is reflected in the road safety strategy (published by the Government in May last year)''.
The report went on: "Stronger leadership and a clearer vision are required from Government to communicate the importance of road safety to local decision-makers.''
The committee added: "We would like to see the inclusion of plans, outlined to us by the Department for Transport, to name and shame local authorities that are under-performing on road safety.''
Launching the report today, the committee's chairman Louise Ellman MP said: "We are very concerned that 2011 saw the first increase in road fatalities since 2003, with 1,901 people killed on the roads.
"It is shocking that road accidents are the main cause of death among young adults aged 16-24 and that so many cyclists continue to be killed or injured. In 2010 there were 283 fatalities amongst car occupants aged 16-25, while 27% of young men aged 17-19 are involved in a road collision within the first year of passing their test.''
She went on: "If the Government is not willing to set targets, it should show more leadership.
"Action is required to improve road safety for young drivers, including an independent review of driver training.''
Road safety minister and Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning said: "Road safety is a top priority and it remains a fact that Britain's roads are some of the safest in the world.
"Naturally I am disappointed that there has been even a small increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured in 2011, however deaths and serious injuries last year were still 7% below 2009 and the number killed was also the second lowest since the 1930s.''
He went on: "We continue to take urgent action to crack down on the most dangerous drivers and improve training to make our roads safer.
"I would like to thank the committee for the time and thought they have given to putting the report together. We will compile a thorough response to the issues raised.''
Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire are all bucking the trend though. These counties have seen a continued fall in the number of road deaths - see below for the figures:
2011 - 16
2010 - 18
2011 - 19
2010 - 25
2011 - 33
2010 - 40
2011 - 73
2010 - 96