Sweden might have set a target of reducing the number of deaths on all of its roads to zero, but Britain doesn’t need to do the same, according to the Transport Minister.
Speaking to MPs on the House of Commons Transport Committee Claire Perry insisted the UK’s road safety record was good and new motoring technology was making driving safer all the time.
Britain does not have an overall target for reducing the number of fatalities on the roads, but there is one in place for routes classed as trunk roads, she said.
Ms Perry told the committee that the Government did not wish to control the positive changes to motoring such as alternative fuels and driverless vehicles by stipulating which kind of fuel and which technology should be used and make them mandatory.
She conceded that there would inevitably be some motoring matters that require government intervention but wants to encourage people to use the latest innovations rather than making them do it.
Her views come after the Autumn Statement last week, in which Chancellor George Osborne announced that trials of driverless car technology would begin in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry in 2015.
The tests in city environments are designed to help officials understand how they can be used and give the public a taste of how they will fit into their everyday lives. The Government wants Britain to be the leading nation behind the development of driverless vehicles.
Ms Perry believes the biggest problems drivers will face in using the technology will be insurance and liability.
The trials will be allowed on public roads as long as the cars with the technology have qualified drivers in them, Ms Perry said.
Despite warning of the “hype” surrounding new motoring technologies, she admits drivers should prepare for an exciting future, but it will be an evolution not a revolution.
Car crash claims
Anyone who is hurt in a road traffic accident through no fault of their own can find out whether they could make a personal injury claim for compensation by contacting solicitors at Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile phone.