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Hamilton backs 'Make Roads Safe' initiative 17 Jun 2009

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton at the UK launch of the 'Make Roads Safe' report in Parliament, Westminster, UK, 16 June 2009. © McLaren McLaren's Lewis Hamilton at the UK launch of the 'Make Roads Safe' report in Parliament, Westminster, UK, 16 June 2009. © McLaren

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton attended a meeting in London this week to promote the FIA’s road safety initiative. Ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, Hamilton spoke out in support of the governing body’s ‘Make Roads Safe’ report at its UK launch in Parliament’s Portcullis House in Westminster on Tuesday.

"When the FIA Foundation invited me to speak here today, and when they therefore briefed me by telling me exactly how many people die on the world's roads every year - a total of 1.3 million - I was shocked,” said the McLaren driver. “So the message I want to send out to drivers is: take a step back and think before you act. You could easily make a mistake and lose a friend’s life or your own life. It's about being sensible and making the right decisions on the road. If you want to have fun, go to a go-kart circuit.

"When you're on a circuit, the target is to be as fast as you can - but away from a circuit, on the roads, it's all about safety. On the roads it's not just you out there - you have oncoming traffic, you have people crossing the roads, and you may have passengers. Speed limits are there for a reason, and I think everyone should stick to them - I do.

“Okay, everyone has made mistakes - I admit I have in the past. But you learn lessons from your mistakes. And then, when you become more aware of the implications of your actions, you take more care. So I want to use my profile as Formula One world champion to do what I can to help raise awareness about global road deaths - and what can be done to prevent them.

"In the UK we've made great progress on road safety, but much more can be done. We need a global decade of action for road safety, to cut the number of deaths by half. It's an ambitious vision, but not an impossible one. And it could help to save millions of lives."

The McLaren driver was joined at the event by director general of the FIA Foundation Peter Ward, the Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety, Peter Bottomley MP, Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Andrew Adonis, Co-Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Carey Oppenheim, and chair of the Transport Select Committee Louise Ellman MP.

The ‘Make Roads Safe’ report, endorsed by the world’s leading road safety experts, recommends that UN governments, who will attend the first-ever global conference on road safety in Moscow in November, support a ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’ from 2010-2020. During the ‘Decade’ it’s hoped some five million lives could be saved and 50 million serious injuries prevented.