Letter: Change in direction on road safety policy

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The Independent Online
Sir: Christian Wolmar rightly criticises complacency about road safety ('A long road to fewer deaths', 14 April), but he places less emphasis than he might on the road safety lesson to be learned from the reduction in deaths due to drinking and driving: public attitudes can be changed. The AA Foundation for Road Safety Research's studies show that drivers fail to associate pedestrians with risk, and grossly underestimate the severity of the injuries that cars can inflict on them.

The Department of Transport is trying to counter these very points through its advertising. But everyone must help. Children have to be taught at school to be responsible road users, and driving instructors must emphasise attitude, rather than just the mechanical skills of driving a car. In a 'car culture' that must change, the responsible elements of car ownership need stressing, not the performance limits to which a car can be taken.

If the attitude to the way we use cars can be changed, the roads will be safer for us all.

Yours faithfully,

KENNETH FAIRCLOTH

Deputy Director General

The Automobile Association

Basingstoke, Hampshire

14 April

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