Vision Zero London is a road safety organisation. We investigate how authorities manage the aftermath of serious collisions involving vulnerable road users. We often attend hearings at Coroners Courts.
The present system is dysfunctional in a number of key areas:
A. At times, Coroners issue Prevention of Future Deaths reports. These include a deadline by when the relevant Authority has to respond. However the system is faulty because:
1. The website run by the Chief Coroner is not professionally updated in a timely fashion with PFD requests and responses
2. There is no follow through on whether the authorities actually carry out the work they promise to do. We have witnessed several instances where the relevant Authority promised to carry out work by a certain date, but in fact no work is subsequently done. At present there is no mechanism for checking whether the work has been carried out and for taking the recalcitrant Authority to task.
B. Many Coroner Courts do not adhere to the guidelines regarding the lists of future hearings. This has been reported several times to the Chief Coroner, but they have taken no action. Some Courts make it very awkward to organisations like ourselves to follow cases that are relevant to our activities.
Point A2 is the most crucial one. It is a classic case of system failure – the system is badly designed; as a consequence, the objective, reducing avoidable deaths, cannot be achieved.
2 September 2020