Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Katherine Shonfield

  • Comment

Road safety is a subject no-one would have the nerve to admit is boring despite the fact that the words irresistibly conjure up well-meaning and cringeworthy public announcements redolent of Harry Enfield.

The government, it appears, is banking on road safety continuing in its guise as a minority interest. Tony Blair's statements that Britain has a good safety record scarcely square with the 40 people a week killed on the roads. This complacency - an undisguised sop to car drivers - lies behind the 'measures' which the government brought in last week with the declared intention of reducing deaths. No doubt innumerable local authorities will be fighting each other to be the first to accept their 'invitation' to introduce 20 mile an hour speed limits around schools. Likewise coach and mini bus companies will be quaking in their boots at the thought of their proposed 'consultation' on mandatory fitting of seat belts. One notes a remarkable absence of clout on every level.

It is not just the Pedestrian Association who should be getting angry at this awaited non-event, but the Urban Task Force - road safety lies right at the heart of any strategy to transform the future of the city.

The huge mass of public space of our cities is in its streets. And the successful, convivial inhabitation of the city depends on their perceived safety. But the issue of safety, so trumpeted by the pedlars of Zero Tolerance, refers exclusively to rapists and murderers: if even 10 per cent of children killed on the roads last year had been criminally abducted and killed, the government would fall. We need to ask ourselves how a Zero Tolerance policy is considered possible, and indeed laudable, against a culture of crime, and impossible as a means to modify a culture of law abiding, respectable, killer car-drivers.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs