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MoJ accused of using RTA data ‘selectively’

MASS criticises ministry for ignoring evidence to suit its policy agenda

16 January 2017

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Road traffic lawyers have accused the Ministry of Justice of cherry-picking data to justify its  pursuit of a policy agenda that undermines the rights of motor accident casualties.

Simon Stanfield, chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) said it was ‘hugely disappointing that the MoJ has adopted the tactic of selectively using DfT data to try and justify its attack upon the rights of motor accident victims’.

The MoJ’s recent consultation paper on the whiplash claims process revealed that the number of reported accidents between 2006 and 2015 had fallen from 190,000 to 142,000.

However, figures published in parliament last week revealed that the Department for Transport’s best yearly estimates of unreported road traffic accidents between 2011 and 2015 were around 460,000 ‘slight’ injuries and around 60,000 serious injuries.

‘What we need is evidence-based policy to tackle the issues in the claims sector, not continued attempts to ignore the evidence of the number of road casualties to suit its policy agenda,’ Stanfield commented. ‘With the evidence now before parliament in black and white, the MoJ must now acknowledge that its evidence base for these proposals is seriously and perhaps fatally flawed.’

MASS added that the MoJ had ‘systematically chosen to ignore’ the DfT’s best estimate that there are around 710,000 people injured in road traffic accidents (reported and unreported) each year.

The society claimed that MoJ ministers and supporters of the proposals have chosen to focus on reported accidents only and have regularly used the false argument that while accidents have declined by 26 per cent since 2006, claims have gone up by 50 per cent.

Donna Scully, a partner at Carpenters, also commented on the findings: ‘This is important. The MoJ cannot bury its head in the sand and ignore half a million RTA casualties that go unreported each year.’

‘Using the DfT figures, there will still be 700,000 or so road accident casualties even after the governments’ reforms. These are real people that will still need insurers and lawyers to look after them.’

Matthew Rogers is a reporter at Solicitors Journal

matthew.rogers@solicitorsjournal.co.uk | @lex_progress

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