Shadow Transport Minister challenges Government to tackle uninsured drivers

April 29, 2009 5:25 PM

Mark spoke at a Road Safety Conference in London about the importance of tackling the growing problem of uninsured drivers

Mark Hunter, MP for the Cheadle constituency and Liberal Democrat Shadow Transport Minister, last week responded to the Government's new Road Safety proposals at a national Road Safety Conference in London.

The Government published a consultation document last week on the issue of road safety which among other proposals is looking to reduce the speed limits in residential areas to 20mph (from 30mph)and on single carriage rural roads to 50mph (from 60mph).

Mr Hunter has already backed moves in Parliament to reduce the default speed limit in residential areas from 30 to 20 mph and was responsible for introducing 20mph zones outside schools during his time as Leader of the Stockport Council.

Speaking after the conference Mr Hunter said, "The Government are very good at announcing new consultations and strategies but they've failed to take real action on the ground to prevent accidents and save lives.

"Instead of a blanket speed limit change on A roads we need to make it easier for Councils to set limits themselves that are based on local conditions without police evaluations or consent from the Government.

At the Conference Mr Hunter criticised the Government for failing to take real and urgent action to save lives. He stated that while the number of road deaths has fallen in the last decade the number involving drink drivers has not. Mr Hunter therefore called for the Government to bring the UK into line with most of the rest of Europe by reducing the alcohol limit from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50 mg. He also called for real action to tackle the growing problem of the 1.5 million uninsured drivers who kill four people a week on the roads at the same time as the average fine for driving without insurance has fallen - according to Ministerial figures.

Mr Hunter added, "The announcement had no new ideas on how to tackle the growing problem of uninsured drivers who are responsible for 36,000 crashes and 27,000 injuries each year. We need to take this problem seriously and ensure that the penalties involved fit the crime. We need to find new ways to tackle this issue and send out a clear message that driving without insurance is unacceptable.

"The greatest problem is that of enforcement. Minister can publish new policies and strategies but without a stronger and more sophisticated police presence to ensure that dangerous drivers are caught we won't see the numbers of casualties and accidents reduced. Only through better enforcement will people be deterred from driving dangerously."

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