Addressing the conference, John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says:
“The scourge of drink driving continues to blight too many lives, with 230 people killed in drink driving incidents in 2012, which has a profound impact on the families, friends and colleagues of those killed.
“Usdaw stands for tough drink-driving laws but, whilst this approach is correct, it depends on drivers complying with the law. So more education and training is needed to raise awareness of the dangers of drink-driving.
“We agree with the RoSPA who believe that drink awareness should be taught in schools and expanded into driver training. The alcohol and drug awareness charity Swanswell also believe that drink awareness should feature in driving theory tests.
“The use of mobile phones while driving reduces reaction times by between 37% and 46% and you’re four times more likely to crash. It is clear that using mobile phones while driving is dangerous, yet we all regularly see drivers flouting the law, despite a significant rise in the punishment for offenders. We need tougher legislation, better enforcement and more education for drivers on the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.
“Yet the Coalition Government has significantly cut central funding for the policing in the last few years, leading to a 23% fall in traffic police in England and Wales. In some counties the fall has been far higher, with Cornwall and Devon traffic police being cut by 76%.
“The RAC say that this fall makes a mockery of motoring law and those breaking the law will not get caught. At the same time, it has been reported that deaths on the road are on the rise. This cannot be a coincidence and there are concerns about policing numbers in relation to enforcement and accident prevention.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 433,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion