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Road safety congress to focus on shared responsibility

Ways of encouraging everyone to play a part in preventing road deaths and injuries will be the focus of RoSPA's 73rd Road Safety Congress, taking place next week (February 25-27).

The roles of drivers and local communities in making the roads safer will be among the issues discussed, with specific presentations looking at the future of driver training and testing and how to engage two key groups – young drivers and older drivers.

MSP Stewart Stevenson, the Scottish Government's Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, will open the congress, which will be held in Glasgow from Monday, February 25 – Wednesday, February 27.

Speakers from across the UK will address nearly 300 delegates at the city's Crowne Plaza hotel.

Prof Stephen Stradling, of the Transport Research Institute at Napier University, will talk about the attitudes of Scottish drivers towards the level of car use and speeding, both of which are linked not only to road safety but also to environmental policy.

There will be reports on the success of neighbourhood road safety initiatives, which were set up across the country as part of a Department for Transport project to tackle the higher accident rates seen in areas of deprivation.

Among the other topics covered will be the safety and environmental impact of freight transport, how the Ministry of Defence addresses road safety at home and overseas, and the role of fire and rescue services.

A speaker from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association will give a presentation on involving disabled people in the creation of safe streets, and there will be an overview of the safety lessons that could be learned from the management of ground transport in the aviation industry.

The important role of the media in spreading road safety messages, and ways of linking accident prevention to sustainable transport and health agendas will also be covered at the conference, which is sponsored by Britax.

Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “Safety on our roads is everyone's responsibility. Whenever we use a road, whether as a driver, motorcyclist, cyclist, or pedestrian, we need to be mindful that we have a role to play in ensuring the safety of all the other road users around us.

“We are now approaching the final few years of the Government's current road safety strategy which set key targets for reductions in the number of casualties on our roads by 2010. We are doing very well against these targets but could do even better. In 2006, 3,172 lives were lost on Britain's roads and this figure is still too high.

“Changing the behaviour and attitude of road users is hugely important in making our roads safer. It is therefore important that we find new ways to reach those that are not engaged with road safety.”

For more information about RoSPA's 73rd Road Safety Congress, including full programme details, see www.rospa.com/road/

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