Letter from the Department of Transport


I received a letter from Jim Fitzpatrick, from the Department of Transport (via my MP) about Registration Number Plates being put on the sides as well (so cyclists and pedestrians can read them easily in an accident):-

(Apparently the Labour Government says that putting them more plates on cars ‘places an additional burden’ on the poor motorist).

“The main purpose of the registration mark is to make a vehicle readily identifable to aid law enforcement, road safety and the enforcement of vehicle exise duty. With this in mind, the law currently specifies that registration marks should be displayed, in most cases, on the front and rear of the vehicle. The law also specifies the format and size of the mark. Prior to the introduction of the current registration mark format in 2001, full public consultation took place. This involved Dft working closely with the police and road safety experts to review the size and readability of number plates.

While I appreciate the reaction of MS ……., the display of registration marks on the side of vehicles would be disproportionate. It would impact on individuals and businesses by placing additional burden and costs on those supplying or purchasing vehicles, and on those who keep or use vehicles on the public road. There has also been investment in road-side cameras which capture images on the front or rear of a vehicle.

There are currently no plans to amend legislation to require the registration mark to be displayed in any position other than the front and rear of a vehicle’.

but he doesn’t say that hit & runs have doubled under the Labour Government. This report from the BBC (2006):-

“In London, there are 80 people injured per week in hit and runs

Hit and run collisions have doubled. Why are so many drivers not stopping after an accident?

It’s no longer an occasional act of selfishness or panic. Hit-and-runs are now an everyday occurrence – in London alone 80 people are left injured on the roads each week.

In parts of the capital, one in four pedestrian injuries are now caused by hit and run collisions, with drivers failing to stop to see the damage they’ve left behind them.

And a House of Commons Transport Select Committee report this week highlighted MPs’ growing concern about the problem.

While the overall number of road injuries is falling – the number of hit-and-runs is rising, particularly in London – causing serious grief to victims and their families.

Hit and run accidents can account for a quarter of casualties

“In a hit-and-run collision there is the added distress that someone has collided with the person and then left them… The image of how their loved one died is difficult enough, but to know that someone did not even stop to see if they could help them feels inhuman.”

So what’s causing such a change in behaviour – with hit and runs doubling in less than a decade? In London in the 1990s, hit-and-runs were 8% of accidents, now they’re 16% – with 25% in the borough of Hackney.

Giving evidence to the select committee, Chris Lines, head of the road safety unit for Transport for London, described the problem as an “epidemic”.

I am going to see if they have any paperwork from ‘consultations’ with cyclists organisations under the Freedom of Information Act and contact the Home Office on this issue about the problems facing cyclists etc on the epidemic of hit and runs.

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