Speaking in the Houses of Parliament at the UK launch of the new Make Roads Safe report, Hamilton said: “I want to use my profile as world champion to do what I can to help raise awareness about global road deaths – and what can be done to prevent them. In the UK we have made great progress on road safety, but much more can be done. We need a global Decade of Action to cut the number of deaths by half. It is an ambitious vision, but not an impossible one. And it could help to save millions of lives.”
Lord Andrew Adonis, the new UK Secretary of State for Transport, pledged the UKs support for the proposed Decade of Action and promised a high level UK government presence at the forthcoming Moscow Ministerial. “I will be discussing with my colleague Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary, about these issues”, he promised, describing the scale of global road fatalities and injuries as ‘intolerable.
Versions of UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US President Barack Obama (and his predecessor) appeared courtesy of impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner, who added an irreverent, but ultimately serious, tone to the meeting. Bremner, who stars in a popular political satire show on British television, called on the audience of MPs, parliamentary staffers and road safety campaigners to do all they could to support the campaign.
Lewis Hamilton, Lord Adonis and Rory Bremner then joined children from a local school to sign up to the ‘Call for a Decade of Action for Road Safety.
The campaign launch was organised by the FIA Foundation, the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety (PACTS) and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). The FIA Foundations Director General David Ward opened the meeting by remembering two young friends in their early twenties, Amelia Zollner, an employee of the IPPR and Rosie Wright, the daughter of an FIA Foundation staff member, who were killed within days of each other while cycling in London and provided the motivation for IPPR and the FIA Foundation to work together on road safety. Summarising the findings of the new WHO Global Status Report on road traffic injuries, published the day before, David Ward commented: “We welcome the UK Governments proposals to make Britains roads the ‘safest in the world. This vision must also include a commitment to do much more to share the UKs knowledge and expertise with the developing countries where road deaths are increasing rapidly.”
Carey Oppenheim, IPPR Co-Director said: “We have a good record on road safety in the UK, but we know we must not be complacent. Other leading governments are taking the agenda forward globally and we must also make a strong commitment to the ‘Decade of Action.”
The Make Roads Safe launch also heard from Peter Bottomley MP, co-chair of PACTS and a former road safety minister credited with introducing casualty targets in the UK in the 1980s, and Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee in the House of Commons. PACTS Director Rob Gifford closed the meeting by urging greater support for the Make Roads Safe campaign. Campaign supporters in the UK include the Automobile Association, road safety charity Brake, British Red Cross, Living Streets, Oxfam, Roadsafe, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and UK Youth.