PEDALLER

Government deliberately not budging on ‘accidents’

Letter dated 12 March 2013 from Stephen Hammond, former road safety minister. Click on thumbnail for a larger view.

Letter dated 12 March 2013 from Stephen Hammond, former road safety minister.

I support the RoadPeace charity’s campaign “Crash not Accident“. I wrote a couple times to my MP about the use of the word ‘accident’ by various government departments, especially the group that publishes statistics about what has happened on the UK’s roads.

Today I had the latest letter back from the Government saying they won’t change their ways – see the scanned copies of the letters to the right (click on the thumbnails for a larger view).

Last February I asked my local police – Hampshire Constabulary – about whether they would use the word ‘accident’ in their reports and press releases. Here is what they told me:

‘Accident’ is not used, as determining whether something was an accident is done through an investigation and any legal proceedings which may follow.

In a letter dated 6 January 2014 from Robert Goodwill MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, told me:

Although we are aware there are a range of views on this, as there remains no consensus to move to any other term such as “collisions”, “crashes” or “incidents”, the Department intends to continue using “accidents”.

Letter dated 6 January 2014 from Robert Goodwill MP, under secretary of state in the Department for Transport. Click on thumbnail for a larger view.

Letter dated 6 January 2014 from Robert Goodwill MP, under secretary of state in the Department for Transport.

He did state – and I have taken him up on this point immediately so I don’t forget! – that I would be:

…welcome to contact the Department’s Road Safety Statistics Team with his proposals during the review [due to take place in late 2015 or 2016] and full consideration would be given to his suggestions. They can be contacted about this, or other road safety statistics query by email at roadacc.stats@dft.gsi.gov.uk or by phone on 020 7944 6595.

Now to set a reminder appointment for 18 months from now to write again!

UPDATE: reply received on 10 January to my email from the Statistics Travel and Road Safety group at DfT: “Your request will be taken into consideration at the next review.”

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