January 31 2012.

The government has cut spending on road safety campaigns from £19 million in 2008/09 to just £4 million in 2011/12 - a cut of nearly 80 per cent. The figure was revealed after a freedom of information enquiry by road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is planning on spending £3.7 million on road safety in the 2012/13 financial year which will see:

• £53,000 spent on cyclist safety
• £78,000 on child and teenager road safety
• £50,000 on research into young drivers
• £1.275 million on motorcycle campaigns
• £1.685 million on drink-drive campaigns

Every fatal road accident costs the UK £1.7 million. In 2011 the total cost of fatal road accidents was £3.2 billion, with immeasurable emotional and social costs.

Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) director of policy Neil Greig said: "Right across the public sector road safety is being cut too hard and too quickly, despite the huge returns on investment. One life saved, saves the economy £1.7 million. £53,000 is a derisory amount to spend on national cycle safety campaigns. Until we have the right roads infrastructure in place, publicity and education campaigns are one of the few tools we have to help us save cyclists lives. £78,000 for children's safety campaigns is virtually insignificant. If the government is serious about safety for these groups, these amounts must be increased.

"The successful drink driving and biker campaigns have raised awareness of these issues and they both appear to be working. The government needs to match that kind of expenditure and take the safety of children and cyclists seriously,"