The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport has issued a statement outlining a number of government proposals relating to improving road safety.

The statement comes out of concern for driver and pedestrian safety, but also seeks to minimise the pressure on NHS services that have to deal with the consequences of road traffic accidents and injuries.

Proposals that will be consulted on include changes to penalties for those caught on their mobile phone at the wheel. Under the proposals, first time offenders are unlikely to incur penalty points in favour of educational courses. However, those deemed worthy of receiving a tougher punishment would be given four penalty points rather than three. Drivers of large vehicles, including HGVs, would receive six penalty points. The fixed penalty notice for all vehicles would also increase from £100 to £150.

Other road safety issues were also addressed in the statement, including holding a consultation on legislative changes to improve urban cycle safety to minimise the risk of cycling accidents.

It was also announced that a £2 million research programme would be undertaken to identify the best possible interventions for learner and novice drivers, as well as new learning programmes that would cover motorway driving.
Other announcements include a £750,000 grant for police forces in England and Wales to allow them to develop drug-driving enforcement capabilities.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “While many of these announcements are positive, the reality is that they are drop in the ocean when it comes to genuine road safety improvement.

“Announcing a funding boost for police forces to tackle drug driving is all well and good, but forces countrywide are already struggling to properly police our roads because of funding cuts and increased workloads.

“Educating drivers is important, but so too is ensuring that there are big enough deterrents and police patrols on show to prevent people from offending in the first place. This, coupled with investment in improving outdated road infrastructure, is the only way that road safety