201607 PCTS

Last week, I attended the PACTS and Direct Line Constituency Road Safety Dashboard Awards. This reinforced the need for smarter focus on the issue of road safety as well as promoted a fantastic online tool on road safety progress called the Dashboard.

Road safety is very important and must be promoted in order to ensure the safety of everyone, particularly at-risk groups. The event highlighted a number of road safety issues, especially those that affect the vulnerable. The event also raised awareness of rising congestion and the issues this can bring. Many journeys often don`t need the use of a car, and we should encourage people to walk or cycle where appropriate. This would help to reduce both the number of vehicles on the road and vehicle related fatalities. Walking and cycling also brings about many environmental and health benefits, for example improved air quality.

While there is some progress, the Government cannot rest on these laurels. The latest annual road casualty figures out last month showed a 2% overall reduction in the number of fatalities and serious injuries, but this slight improvement masks sharp hikes in child and motorcycle fatalities.

Nationally, 66 people are fatally or seriously injured in a road incident each day, and there has been a worrying increase in child and motorcycle fatalities. Alarmingly, the West Midlands alone has seen a 4% increase in fatal incidents compared to national figures.

More locally, the Dashboard shows that Northfield unfortunately sees 25% more pedestrian casualties than the national average, with the progress on child casualties particularly slow. There has also been little change concerning accidents involving cyclists, motorcyclists and vehicle users. However, it is good to see that the total number of known casualties per year within the constituency has fallen since 2009, and that the rate of reduction of adult pedestrian casualties is higher than average.

I’ve pledged my support and want to promote the need for government action on road safety- the reintroduction of road casualty targets, originally implemented by the Labour party, would be a good step in a better directed and targeted government action.

Road safety was a focus point during my time as Shadow Transport Minister, and continues to be an important issue for me now. If you have any thoughts on how we can keep our roads safer, get in touch.

More information is available on local and national progress via the Dashboard website available here-


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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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