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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 16:50 
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... ads128.xml

Concern as child road deaths rise by one fifth

By David Millward, Transport Correspondent

Fresh doubts have been raised about the Government's speed camera programme after the latest casualty figures showed a 20 per cent rise in the number of children killed on the country's roads.

The cameras which raise more than a billion pounds in fines a year have been a key plank in the Government's drive to cut deaths and injuries.

But the latest statistics covering 2006 released by the Department for Transport triggered serious questions about their effectiveness, especially when fatalities were separated from serious injuries.

The number of children killed reached 169, compared to 141 the previous year, which was the lowest ever recorded figure.

There was also a five per cent rise in the number of motorcyclists killed, with the total reaching 599 and pedestrian deaths were also up by one per cent, reaching 675.

There was a four per cent fall in the number of car users killed, with last year's total dropping to 1,612. But speed camera critics said that this drop – which contributed to an overall one per cent reduction in road deaths – said this was more to do with improved car technology.

According to Paul Smith, a ceaseless campaigner against the speed camera programme, the Government should have been looking for a far more dramatic casualty reduction if its policies were succeeding.

"The underlying story of the new road casualty figures is that we have received part of the benefit of improved car technology,” he said.

”Road safety policy appears to have made matters worse because the only gains are in car occupant deaths.

"The problem is pedestrian, child and motorcyclist deaths are up. If the Government's policy was really working all these figures should have been coming down.”

Underpinning the Government's roads policy is a pledge to bring the number of people killed and seriously injured in 2010 down to 60 per cent of the 1994-8 average.

But even if the number of deaths overall is reducing, the number of people seriously injured remains a matter of debate.

The Government has been relying on figures reported by police forces, which have generally fallen. But this fall is contradicted by hospital statistics which suggest the number of road accident admissions is on the rise.

Mr Smith said that the Government's claim to be on target to meet its target was based on police under-reporting of injuries.

This was disputed by the Department for Transport yesterday, which insisted that patrol figures were more reliable.

Based on the Government's method of calculating injuries, there was some good news for ministers.

This showed a one per cent drop in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads in 2006, compared to the previous year with the figure falling to 31,845.

Overall, the DfT said there was a five per cent drop in road casualties last year, with the 2006 total falling to 258,404.

When serious injuries were also taken into account, then the Government could report a five per cent fall in children who were killed or badly hurt on the country's roads, with a total of 3,294.

There was also a five per cent drop in the number of accidents involving personal injury, with the 2006 figure dropping to 189,161. But it was the rise in child deaths, admittedly from a low base, which drew the most comment.

"It is shocking that child road deaths have gone up by such a large margin in just one year – the same year that the Government published its first Child Road Safety Strategy,” said Jools Townsend, head of education at the charity, Brake.

The group, which unlike Mr Smith supports speed cameras, said that the Government had a long way to go to achieve its targets.

"We should be learning from the example of countries like Sweden, where the Government has set a challenging target of reducing child deaths to zero – and has come close to achieving this through significant investment in child road safety.”

The Department for Transport, however, defended its performance.

“Road deaths are now 11 per cent lower than they were in the mid-1990s and they are continuing to fall.

"Likewise, serious injuries are down by 35 per cent over the same period and the latest figures show that overall casualties are five per cent down on 2005.

"We have met our 2010 target of halving the number of children killed or badly hurt four years early and are on track to meet our 2010 target of cutting the number of people killed or seriously injured by 40 per cent.

"But any death of injury is one too any and we are working hard to reduce road casualties as far as we can.”

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 20:45 
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Last Updated: 6:01pm BST 28/06/2007


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 22:14 
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Dr L wrote:
Last Updated: 6:01pm BST 28/06/2007


Did you post that because of the question mark in the thread title?

The 'problem' is that it will appear in the 29th's copy of the paper. If someone later tried to find the article in an archive, the 29th is the date they will need.

I guess we just need a 'convention' to keep this point clear. The date of the newspaper itself seems the way to go.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 14:48 
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There is now a have your say on this artical with some interesting comments.

Daily Telegraph

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 14:56 
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I particularly like:
Quote:
Speeding is a crime the same as murder.


:shock: :roll:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 15:45 
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Some very odd comments.

The people who have convinced themselves that anyone who is anti-speed camera must also be, anti-road safety as well as definitely having been caught by speed cameras before, really piss me off. Their attitude of "anti-speed cameras? Oh, you only say that cos you've been caught and don't care for anyone else" is unreal and I find it hard to imagine how people come to these conclusions when there is so much evidence to the contrary.

--

What is pleasing is that at least 70% of the people commenting, from what I could see, were on our side.


For the record, I despise speed cameras, the current transport (public and private) policy and the corrupt world of national and local politics in general. However, I've never been given a speeding ticket, never crashed, never not paid my taxes etc etc. The only time I ever got anything was a parking ticket on my own street for leaving my car where someone else had 'booked' the space for tip use!


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