This first e-news of 2012 looks back on key achievements from last year. Our 19th year of operation, 2011 was again a challenging and busy year for RoadPeace. Despite the launch of a new Strategic Framework for Road Safety, the government discussed a number of changes that we believe will add to road danger, including proposals to increase speed limits, relax vehicle inspection and eyesight standards, as well as make it harder for innocent victims to access compensation.
For 2012 our priority remains supporting the bereaved and injured; working to improve the response of the justice system to road crash victims; and reducing the number of future victims through promoting policies that give greater consideration to vulnerable road users. We hope that you will continue to support us.
2011: Supporting victims of road crashes
2011: Campaigning for Justice
- Our helpline operated for the 19th year, thanks to our helpline volunteers and staff, with over 900 contacts from victims. Our support services include attending meetings with the police and CPS, inquests and trials with families.
- A new full-time Support Services Manager was employed to develop our support services and has updated support guides on trauma, for both victims and witnesses.
- Our six week Resilience Building programme was held for the third time, thanks to a successful MOJ grant application, which will allow it to be run twice a year in London and rolled out to other areas over the next three years.
- An on-line discussion forum was piloted for bereaved families in response to requests for more interaction with other similarly affected families.
- We presented our Road Death Investigation Guide for bereaved families at the WHO conference for road safety NGOs in Washington, DC and encouraged others in low income countries to organise similar guides.
2011: Working to reduce road danger
- We launched our Getting Counted, Getting Included project which highlighted the ways in which road crash victims are discriminated against and works to change this. This included:
- Representing road crash victims on the Victims' Commissioner's Policy Working Group and ensuring her research and recommendations included crash victims.
- Arguing the case for crash victims to be included in the Victim Alliance initiative, coordinated by Victim Support.
- Working with the MOJ and the Home Office to correct the information gap on victims of road crime. We believe the number of people killed by law breaking drivers exceeds the toll from murder and manslaughter but until it is officially counted and reported, road crash victims will continue to be overlooked in crime statistics, consultations and policies.
- Giving a presentation on Traffic Justice in London at Street Talks, summarising the key problems encountered by road crash victims.
- Continuing to campaign for a specific road death verdict in Coroner Courts which would allow the number of road death inquests to be counted.
- Our focus on Transparency and Accountability included
- Interviewing collision investigation units in London, Merseyside and Avon and Somerset as to current practices and procedures.
- Continuing to call for improvements to witness statements with the adoption of the Self Administered Interview.
- Publishing Causing Death by Driving 2010 which highlighted the dramatic shift in prosecutions from Causing Death by Dangerous Driving to Causing Death by Careless Driving, a worrying trend reflecting the pressure to keep cases out of court.
- Conducting a survey with our European road victim partner organisations on the right of bereaved families to information.
- Welcoming the proposed charge of Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving (the first on road driving offence to mention injury), but arguing, including on BBC Breakfast, that much more could be done.
- Our work on coroner reform included responding to consultations and arguing against the proposed watering down of the Charter for Bereaved Families, as well as
- Supporting the campaign led by Inquest to save the position of the Chief Coroner from being abolished.
- Documenting how coroners are failing in their duty to prevent future deaths in our report on the lack of coroner reports, highlighting the case of cyclists killed by lorries with blindspots.
- Civil compensation
- Joined forces with other charities in oppose changes to "no win no fee" as proposals intended to deter fraudulent claims will punish innocent victims.
- Lobbied the Victims Commissioner, DfT and the MOJ on the need to expedite payment of interim damages as victims should not have to wait for the end of criminal trials for compensation.
- Continued the call for burden of proof to be reversed in stricter liability.
- Our road danger reduction campaigns focused on reducing lorry danger and speed reduction;
- Dangerous lorries
- We were an active contributor to the TfL Cycle Safety Working Group and Metropolitan Police Service group on cycle risk, as well as the Action on Lorry Danger Campaigns group (with LCC, CTC and Living Streets).
- Published Saving Money Saving Lives, written by RoadPeace Chair Cynthia Barlow, to highlight the economic case for investing in safety. Cynthia was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Sheila McKechnie Transport Campaigner award.
- Developed the See me Save me website dedicated to reducing lorry danger which will be launched next month, included meeting with fleet operators and attending training programmes.
- Produced a briefing for coroners to highlight the preventative role of safety technologies in reducing collisions between HGVs and cyclists and pedestrians.
2011: Remembrance and recognition of lives lost and broken
- Speed matters
- Ongoing defence of speed cameras in the media. We met with Sense About Science to discuss the need for an evidence based policy to apply to road safety, as speed cameras have been described as the "MMR of transport".
- Published our Motorway Speed briefing in response to the proposed increase to motorway speeds.
- Continued to campaign for 20 mph default speed limits in urban areas and villages, supporting 20s plenty for Us and the City of 20 campaign in London.
- To commemorate the launch of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, we
- hosted an event with colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with speakers calling for a road danger reduction approach to the decade.
- Re-launched RoadPeace's campaign for the use of appropriate technology with an updated edition of 'It's a crash, not an accident' briefing. Both the Guardian and Radio 4 covered this topic this year.
- Our Global Road death counter was featured on Radio 4 on the day road deaths surpassed one million in 2011.
2011: thank you
- A new Remember Me internet memorial website of memorials and tributes was launched to complement our Remember Me roadside plaques.
- We coordinated this year's World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which included over 30 services, as well as a lecture by our new patron Professor Danny Dorling on this year's theme of "Remembering what harms us the most".
- With colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, we recorded Please Remember Me, a song dedicated to the cyclists killed in London in 2011.
- Our National Road Victim Month activities in August included remembrance ceremonies at the RoadPeace Wood at the National Memorial Arboretum and at the Remembrance Garden in Manchester and the Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, the latter held on the anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
- Five a Day, our publication on the average daily road death toll in 2010, highlighted the losses involved and the difficulties that families encounter with the justice system.
2011 was one of our most successful fundraising years to date thanks to the continued and valued support of our members, supporters, fundraisers and corporate sponsors; Fenton's, Irwin Mitchell and Pannone. We also thank our funders the Kenneth Miller Trust; Polden Puckham Charitable Foundation; Awards for All; Network for Social Change and the Ministry of Justice's Victim Fund. Thanks to Transport for London for supporting our Resilience Building programme.
Thanks also go to our local group coordinators who work tirelessly to promote RoadPeace and road danger reduction in their local communities, and ensure that RoadPeace is not limited only to a national or London perspective.
And finally we thank our courageous members, especially those who befriend victims, organise remembrance services and argue the case for a safer and fairer world with the local media and policy makers.
Your support makes all the difference.