Limited devolution harming road safety progress, charity warns

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Media captionRoad deaths are falling less quickly in Wales than in other parts of the UK, suggests a report

Limited devolution may be harming road safety progress in Wales, a motoring charity has claimed.

Welsh roads have seen the smallest fall in deaths and serious injuries compared with other parts of the UK.

The RAC Foundation said the number fell by 15% in Wales in 2013, when compared with the average figure for 2005-09. The average fall across the UK was 23%.

The Welsh government said extra money had been invested to improve road safety.

Few road safety powers are devolved to Wales but funding comes from the Welsh government, the RAC pointed out.

In Northern Ireland, where road safety is fully devolved, the number of deaths and serious injuries fell by 35% in 2013.

In Scotland, where the Scottish Parliament has powers to set national speed limits and the drink drive limit, the number fell by 33%.

The UK government has set a target to bring the number of deaths and serious injuries down to 40% below the 2005-09 average - (its baseline for monitoring progress - by 2020.

'Zero fatality aspiration'

The figures were revealed in an interim report published by the RAC Foundation and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).

Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said road users "have a right to know" their safety is regarded equally across the UK.

"The UK risks breaking apart in terms of road safety policy with different administrations having varying levels of power, funding and political will to deal with death and injury on the highways," he said.

The Welsh government said it was "determined" to reduce the number of road casualties and had "an aspiration to reach zero fatalities on Welsh roads in the future".

A spokesman said: "Following a comprehensive review of safety on the trunk road network, in January we announced an extra £6.4m for a programme of works to improve safety at 280 locations.

"Last week we awarded another £6m to road safety capital, training and education projects across Wales, and next month we will be announcing a new fund to tackle motorcycle casualties."

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