|LARSOA - ROAD SAFETY NEWS - 11 APRIL 2005|
Please close this window to return to the LARSOA news pages
Brake responds to Zak concerns
The road safety charity Brake has responded to 'concerns' raised by former LARSOA chair Steve Whitehouse about its recently introduced Zak the Zebra telephone hotline.
The Zak hotline encourages members of the public to report dangerous roads in their community. Brake says this enables parents and residents who fear for their children's safety on roads to take action.
"We are pleased that LARSOA recognises the validity of the hotline but we do not accept that it undermines the strategic work of road safety units (as Steve Whitehouse suggested)," says Brake's Mary Williams.
"We are enabling communities to campaign for local drivers to change their behaviour, as many offenders will be local people. Callers are provided with a 'Zak Pack', which enables them to communicate with local authorities about engineering measures and empowers local people to educate their own drivers. This sort of grass roots initiative is at the heart of Brake's community education and campaigning work, and we don't accept that it in any way undermines the good work of LARSOA members.
"We will also use the calls we receive to campaign for more money from the Treasury for road safety engineering locally. Local authorities are often cash strapped and need more money for road initiatives that they would like to implement. The hotline will hopefully, in the long term, assist, rather than hinder, local officials on the ground. Good national campaign work, using local examples, has a history of helping governments to effect change and make bold decisions to invest more in essential areas," Mrs Williams concluded.
Steve Whitehouse, who is LARSOA's newly appointed Brake liaison, stressed that Brake and LARSOA will continue to work constructively wherever possible. "I am pleased that my comments have created this further debate," he added.
Local authorities can receive details of roads reported in their area by emailing their contact details and the postcode areas they cover to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, to receive the information sent out to callers to the Zak the Zebra hotline, click on www.brake.org.uk/index.php?p=137.