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February 15 2013.

Road safety experts have teamed up to publish a free guide for local councillors at a time of rising road deaths and dwindling budgets.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has joined forces with a number of other organisations to update Road Safety: A Guide for Local Councillors in England: identifying high risk road users, common causes of accidents, and the most effective ways to stop people being killed or hurt.

It has been revised against the backdrop of significant cuts to public spending and a first rise in road deaths for almost a decade.

The guide demonstrates how local authorities can continue to deliver effective road safety services by: using evidence; coordinating with other public services; designing and delivering projects in partnership, and evaluating the effectiveness of their work.

It is divided into several sections: "Road Casualties", "Who Delivers Road Safety?", "Local Government Road Safety", "Getting the Most Out of Limited Road Safety Resources", and "What You Can Do".

Reported road deaths have reduced from about 5,500 a year in the mid-1980s to fewer than 2,000 a year currently. Over the same period, road casualties have decreased from 240,000 (including 75,000 serious injuries) to just over 200,000 (including 23,000 serious injuries).

Despite these improvements, more than 35 people still die, and almost 450 are seriously injured, on Britain's roads every week. There are also signs that the long term reductions in road deaths may have stopped.

Reported road accidents, including damage-only ones, cost the nation about £15billion a year. If unreported injury accidents are included, the cost could increase to about £50billion. It has also been estimated that congestion, 25 per cent of which is caused by road collisions, costs the country about £22billion a year.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA's head of road safety, said: "The need to prevent people getting hurt or killed has become even more urgent following moves to cut public spending. Local authorities, in particular, have faced substantial spending restrictions, which affect their ability to deliver the vast range of public services for which they are responsible.

"While road safety must accept its share of these restrictions, cutting road safety services too far could have disastrous consequences. We hope that this free guide will go some way to helping local authorities surmount whatever challenges they face at the moment."

The guide was produced by RoSPA in collaboration with representatives from the following organisations: Road Safety GB, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), AIRSO, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Living Streets, and CTC. Support was also provided by members of RoSPA's National Road Safety Committee.

For a free PDF copy of the guide visit