A wide and somewhat forthright range of responses to my comments last month about the huge disparity between road and rail safety standards. One of the most heartfelt came from Ann Mahood, who has an interest in social history and worked in the road collision department of Essex Police for 12 years, dealing mainly with the paperwork relating to fatal accidents. She writes ‘I was constantly shocked at the fragility of life on the road and the total “head in the sand” response to road deaths by those in alleged control of our country’. Ann reminds us that for every road death the number of people directly affected, both emotionally and in many cases financially, is huge – family members, others involved in the accident, and the emergency service workers who attend. So the total cost to the country, both economically and socially, is many times greater than the raw accident figures, bad enough although they are, might suggest. Yet because of cuts to policing budgets and the ever-increasing focus on other social problems, ‘traffic cops are an endangered species’.