At today’s launch of the ‘Making Road Safety Pay’ report from the Road Safety Foundation and Ageas at a reception in Parliament, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP pledged Government support for a key recommendation that a task force be created to develop a National Older Driver Strategy for the UK for the first time.
Responding to the pressing issue of a fast ageing population, the task force would review national and international evidence and recommend practical support for older drivers and their families in the form of a comprehensive National Strategy. Initiatives could include a focus on self-help, driver assistance technologies, better in-vehicle protection and road design for older drivers.
During consultation on the recommendations in the report, there was strong support from a wide range of interested parties for the creation of a task force to develop this plan. The remit and membership of the task force, to be led by the Road Safety Foundation, will be agreed in the coming weeks and the intention is that the National Older Driver Strategy will be published during 2016.
Welcoming the plans to develop a National Older Driver Strategy, the Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill MP said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world but there are always areas we can improve. Ensuring older drivers are safeguarded is a priority, which is why I am delighted to be supporting this task force.”
In response, Lord Whitty of the Road Safety Foundation commented: “I’d like to thank the Minister for his commitment to support the task force. It makes economic, social and health sense for drivers to remain on the road for as long as it is safe to do so. The job now is to review all the evidence and recommend ways in which that can happen. The Road Safety Foundation will play its part in facilitating this important piece of work.”
Andy Watson, CEO of Ageas UK concluded: “The purpose of commissioning today’s report was to come up with actionable recommendations that could make a real difference so we’re delighted that the Government feels able to support our call, together with the Road Safety Foundation, for a National Older Driver Strategy. As one of the leading UK insurers in the over 50s market, we look forward to contributing to the work of the task force through our own experience of supporting millions of motorists on the nation’s roads.”
At the same time, the Minister also gave support to another recommendation in Making Road Safety Pay aimed to accelerate the adoption of autonomous emergency braking, saying: “Technology is at the very heart of improving road safety and we want to ensure that all road users benefit from advanced emergency braking technology so that the casualty toll continues to fall.”