Changes in the road accident statistics in the UK since 1951 are discussed. The themes of the current UK Government road safety strategy and the associated targets for 2010 are set out. These targets are placed in the context of the reductions in numbers killed or seriously injured that were achieved over the 1980s and 1990s and the continuing rise in the number of car users slightly injured over the same period. The likely need for a lower target after 2010 is discussed. It is considered that Government Ministers have been quite cautious in setting the target to reduce numbers killed or seriously injured by 40% by 2010, but rather bolder in aiming to reduce the slight casualty rate per unit vehicle-distance travelled by 10% by then. The potential vulnerability of the targets to any substantial and sustained increase in motorcycling is pointed out. The potential contribution of road safety engineering to achieving accident reduction targets is set out. The current high rate of return on investment in road safety engineering indicates that under-investment in this area has been severe. Under-investment and a shortage of skilled personnel are considered the main constraints on road safety engineering improvements. A doubling of the skilled workforce and the level of investment is considered necessary. A discussion of this lecture is presented

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