Statutory responsibility

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The Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 39 imposes a statutory duty on every Highway Authority in England to promote and improve road safety by disseminating information or advice relating to the use of roads. Here is the text of the act.

The Act states that each local authority:

  • Must carry out studies into accidents arising out of the use of vehicles on roads, or parts
    of roads, within their area;
  • Must, in light of such studies, take measures as appear to be appropriate to prevent
    such accidents; and
  • In constructing new roads must take such measures as appear to be appropriate to
    reduce the possibilities of such accidents when the roads come into use.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have produced a guide for Elected Councillors in England that explains in more detail who has responsibility for road safety and how it may be addressed. A copy of the guide can be accessed here.

It is Section 170 of the same act that also imposes a requirement on a driver to stop in the event of an accident in which either;

  • personal injury is caused to a person other than the driver of that vehicle; or
  • damage is caused to another vehicle or trailer; an animal; any other property on or adjacent to the road.


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