Firstly, a belated thank you to everyone who responded to our Road Collision Reporting Guidelines consultation. We were overwhelmed with the level of response and the great feedback from individuals and organisations with expertise, experience or simply an interest in the topic.
In total we received 164 responses to our consultation via email, our web form and in one-to-one interviews.
The response to the draft guidelines was overwhelmingly positive, with 95% of people saying they supported the principles of what we are trying to achieve.
As well as insight from organisations on how the language around road collisions affects their work we were struck by the number of responses from individuals simply concerned other road users’ attitudes result in them feeling unsafe on the roads, particularly while cycling – attitudes they feel could be improved with more mature, nuanced public discourse on road safety.
We know language matters, and that the way we talk about road collisions affects how we perceive levels of risk, where it comes from and what we can do about it as a society.
We also know that, more than ever, journalists’ jobs are challenging, working with restricted budgets, and that journalists are increasingly on the receiving end of abuse, both online and offline. Our aim is to make their jobs easier by helping provide guidance for reporting on road collisions that allows for accurate and fair reporting – without hindering their vital work.
Based on constructive feedback, and on reflection, we feel the guidelines, if they are to meet these aims, need some finessing. They need to be more concise and easier to follow, with clearly defined rationale behind them.
The draft guidelines were produced in collaboration with those in roads policing, academia, law, road safety, media and journalism.
We originally set ourselves the challenge of launching the guidelines at this year's virtual Active Travel Media Awards, on 26 November, but we have decided to delay launching them until Spring 2021. We are a small team and we want to get this important work right.
In the meantime, we plan to have further conversations across journalism and road safety and keep working to produce something we can be proud of, that has real value.
We still very much believe in the need for these guidelines and we look forward to publishing something that ultimately helps us shape safer roads for all road users, and contributes positively to media discourse in this field.
We will keep you updated over the coming months.
All the best
The RC-RG team