Is Whiplash Clampdown Justified When Britain’s Roads Are Making Accidents More Likely?

Following widespread attempts to cut down on allegedly excessive whiplash claims in recent months, the government were criticised this week after a report made by the Transport Select Committee.

Last year saw the first increase in the number of road deaths in almost a decade (since 2003): 1,901 people, 51 more than the previous year. The Transport Select Committee says that the government should be made to answer for this dramatic increase, with the coalition having allegedly disregarded national targets when they came to power and instead offloaded the majority of road safety responsibility onto local councils. The latter is arguably not the best choice considering most council’s road safety track records, which tend to suffer as a result of budgets cuts and subsequent losses of skilled staff.

Road accidents continue to be one of the main causes of fatalities among the 16-24 age group, with an alarmingly high number of pedestrians and cyclists also killed in accidents every year.

Committee chairman Louise Ellman MP suggested that better driver training may have to be implemented, while action should be taken to improve road safety for young drivers (and as such the driving population as a whole). The committee also appealed to the Department of Transport to “name and shame” those local authorities who “are under-performing on road safety”.

Regardless of accusations, the government insists that road safety continues to be top priority. However, they also recently announced that they would be working to tackle the problem of fake or exaggerated whiplash claims, based on the assumption that a good number of the claims made by those involved in accidents do not require compensation.

Surely if the government devoted more time and money to preventing accidents from happening in the first place by increasing road safety across the UK there would be less cause for claims as a whole, fraudulent or otherwise?

The debate continues.


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