The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is today (2 October 2018) urging the government to adopt a set of performance indicators based on international good practice, tailored to UK needs. These measure the safety performance of roads, vehicles, users and emergency services and focus scarce resources on the most effective actions.

In a report sponsored by insurer, Ageas, and launched at the Conservative Party Conference, PACTS are proposing a framework that recognises that it is not enough to look only at driver behaviour to reduce deaths and serious injuries; the safety of the entire road system needs to be considered. This entire system approach includes measures from vehicle design to road infrastructure and the response of the emergency services, giving practitioners the breadth of information they need to assess the performance of their network.

The indicators proposed by the PACTS report are:

  • percentage of traffic complying with speed limits on national roads
  • percentage of traffic complying with speed limits on local roads
  • percentage of drivers who do not drive after consuming alcohol or drugs
  • percentage of car occupants using a seat belt / child seat
  • proportion of drivers not using an in-car phone (handheld or hands free)
  • percentage of new passenger cars with highest Euro NCAP safety rating
  • percentage of roads with appropriate iRAP rating
  • percentage of emergency medical services arriving at accident scene within 18 minutes

 David Davies Executive Director, PACTS explained why they produced the report;

It’s been three years since the Department for Transport recognised the value this approach could offer UK road safety, but the performance framework to support it has not been developed. PACTS is pleased to have undertaken this research, with support from leading experts and stakeholders. We have presented a set of key indicators that we believe could make a fundamental difference to road safety in the UK. As UK casualty figures have shown almost no progress since 2010, we believe it is badly needed.

Although using slightly different indicators to those proposed for the UK, in the first 15 years of using the system (known as Vision Zero) being implemented in Sweden there were 56% fewer deaths.  Claes Tingvall, formerly of the Swedish Transport Administration said:

It is not possible to manage actions that are effective simply on crash outcome. You need to work backwards in the chain from the result you desire (could be zero deaths or something alike) and see what you need to get there in terms of the traffic system. In most cases we find that a combination between an infrastructure, right driver behaviour and vehicles of a certain safety standard leads to a certain improved outcome.

Commenting on why Ageas financially supported this PACTS report, CEO Andy Watson said:

As one of the UK’s largest car insurers Ageas is committed to improving the safety of roads.  Traditional measures do not give a complete picture of road safety management. An evidence based solution, together with a detailed set of key performance indicators on road safety, is a proven way of focusing efforts on reducing casualties and deaths.

Using the information in the report, we want UK policy makers to work closely with safety practitioners to make a real difference to how road safety is managed in the UK.

Supporting the launch event Jack Brereton MP, Member of the Transport Select Committee said;

It’s fantastic to see insurance companies like Ageas take the lead in promoting road safety. I’m delighted to support the publication of this vital report, which promotes a wider approach to reducing the dangers on our roads