Page last updated at 05:53 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 06:53 UK

New curbs 'could cut road deaths'

20mph sign
More 20mph zones are suggested to help reduce the number of accidents

More 20mph zones and less roadside clutter are among a series of proposals to help prevent deaths on Welsh roads.

The report by the assembly's enterprise and learning committee also calls for more mobile cameras to reduce speeds.

Other ideas offered to the assembly government include targeting commercial operators with poor safety records and providing more rest facilities.

The proposals have been welcomed by road safety charity Brake which said it hoped they would be implemented.

Committee chairman Gareth Jones AM said: "While the UK may have, statistically, the safest roads in Europe we should not rest on our laurels.

Brake hopes that the Welsh Assembly Government will take the ideas forward
Cathy Keeler, Brake road safety charity

"We believe the Welsh government should grab the opportunity to affect real change on our road network and show we can lead the way in reducing road accidents and vehicle emissions at the same time."

The report calls for the assembly government to consider less roadside clutter, a Swedish idea based on fewer road signs to distract drivers.

And it recommends encouraging local authorities to enforce 20mph zones in busy town centres and residential areas.

A similar scheme in Hull is said to have led to a fall in overall injuries by 60%.

The committee also wants greater co-operation between the assembly government, local authorities and emergency services, and says Wales should set its own targets for road safety.

"We don't believe that throwing speeding tickets around like confetti would prevent deaths in road accidents from happening ever again, but we do believe enforcement along with education and closer co-operation is the route to safer roads in Wales," said Mr Jones.

'Blanket regulation'

Brake deputy chief executive Cathy Keeler said she welcomed any proposals that were proven to reduce the number of road casualties.

"Brake hopes that the Welsh Assembly Government will take the ideas forward and allocate funding to ensure that they are implemented," she said.

Philip Gomm, spokesperson for motoring charity the RAC Foundation, said "blanket regulation" was not necessarily the best approach and "local circumstances" had to be factored in.

"We know that fatigue and distraction are serious factors in many road accidents and any attempt to address these issues is to be welcomed," he said.

"But the bottom line is that any measure has to be evidence-based and not a knee-jerk reaction to headline figures."

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