Fears over road safety under proposed budget cuts

Bucks Free Press: Fears over road safety under proposed budget cuts Fears over road safety under proposed budget cuts

CUTS in the road safety budget for the county council could see further education for drivers scrapped, which a driving instructor said will cost lives.

Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) is looking to save money across the board and is currently consulting on ending further training for the most risk drivers on our roads.

Driving instructor, Audrey Wixon, of Wycombe Driving School believes this will lead to more casualties on the county roads.

She said "The road safety team have done a huge amount of great work over the years, providing extra training for all these high risk groups.

"I am certain this will increase the number of casualties on our roads."

The courses being looked at are for young drivers, elderly people, motorcyclists, business assessments for company cars, winter driving workshops and driving instructor assessments.

On the BCC website it highlights why it focuses on these drivers for further training.

For example, it said young drivers account for 27 per cent of killed and seriously injured casualties on our roads.

In Buckinghamshire during 2012 there were 1,169 crashes resulting in 21 deaths, 197 serious injuries and 1,395 slight injuries (this includes crashes on motorways and trunk roads).

The BCC website said road safety will always be a priority and added: "To achieve further casualty reductions will require greater effort and a co-ordinated approach to engage with road users persuading them to behave more safely."

Ms Wixon said three members of staff will be affected if the proposals go ahead.

She said: "They are trying to save £192,000 a year and the aftermath of a fatal accident costs about £1.8m, taking into account all the different factors.

"Disbanding the road safety team to save money doesn't make any sense at all. More importantly it is going to cost lives."

Spokesman for Transport for Bucks, Dan Elworthy, said: "The county council has had to make significant budget reductions across all its services.

"This has resulted in difficult decision being made across a large number of services across the whole of the county councils’ activities.

"One of the areas that has been affected by the budget process is the casualty reduction provision. The council will continue to monitor road traffic collisions and implement local safety schemes within our budget constraints.

"The education, training and publicity activity will be reduced in line with the budget cuts however we are currently reviewing how the service provision will be provided and this is part of the consultation process being undertaken at the present time."

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