Equality and road safety

27 Apr 2009 by Karl Hallam

Last week the DfT launched their consultation on the vision, targets and measures for improving road safety in Great Britain beyond 2010. This week has also seen coverage of the Government's Equalities Bill, which has implications for departments like the DfT. The new requirement for public bodies to:

'To consider the diverse needs and requirements of their workforce, and the communities they serve, when developing employment policies and when planning services'.

The examples given in BBC coverage include 'health trusts will be required to target services, such as stop-smoking clinics, at people in deprived areas - where smoking rates tend to be higher. Education authorities will also be expected to come up with policies which prevent children from poorer backgrounds from missing out on places at the best schools'.

These are obvious departments, but the DfT consultation highlights that there is in inequality in road safety too. One of the consultation documents covers a report, A poor way to die: social deprivation and road traffic fatalities, by Nottingham Univerity. This report says that:

'The main findings were that driving at excessive speed, driver intoxication, driver/passenger failure to wear seat-belts, and unlicensed/uninsured driving were most prevalent in fatal collisions in the most deprived IMD quintiles. Young drivers (under 24 years) form high proportions of fatal casualties across all IMD quintiles. Older drivers and passenger fatalities are more concentrated in the least deprived IMD quintiles'.

Is the intention of the Equalities Bill that from now on future DfT campaigns should be targeted on this sort of evidence? Such a Bill is very dependent on evidence and while places like Professor Danny Dorling's SASI department can supply it, is there a public appetite for the intrinsically redistributive consequences of it?








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