A BRADFORD road safety campaigner has voiced concerns about self-driving cars - after a Government minister said they could be used in the UK in just two years.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said before Christmas that he believes autonomous vehicles might be "rolled out" on the country's roads during 2026.

But Dr Ian Greenwood, who campaigns to make our roads safer following the death of his 12-year-old daughter Alice in a collision, questioned the announcement.

Dr Greenwood, of Queensbury, told the Telegraph & Argus: "When it comes to self-driving vehicles, I am concerned.

"My focus is on stopping road deaths in our communities - and we need more action to achieve this now.

"Of course we need to embrace technology and innovation, but we can't wait for some future and yet unproven solution.

"I can't see how automation will do much, if anything, to help save lives locally.

"From simply driving on the roads in West Yorkshire, they don't seem remotely ready for the technology required for autonomous vehicles - look at all the potholes, poor maintenance, fading white lines and so on."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Dr Greenwood and his late daughter AliceDr Greenwood and his late daughter Alice (Image: Mike Simmonds/Newsquest/Submitted)

Dr Greenwood said he believed the Government was talking about self-driving vehicles possibly being used in the future as a "deliberate distraction to avoid addressing road deaths which are happening now".

He urged the Government to urgently introduce more technology aimed at preventing drivers from exceeding speed limits. All new cars sold in the EU, for example, must now be fitted with systems designed to tackle speeding.

"This has proven life-saving capability and would help us all," said Dr Greenwood.

In response to Dr Greenwood's comments, a Department for Transport spokesperson told the Telegraph & Argus: "We have some of the safest roads in the world but continue to strive to prevent road deaths.

"Self-driving vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce deaths caused by road accidents and that's why we're legislating to bring forward the technology, to improve road safety, create high-value jobs and boost the country's economy."

'It's a big economic opportunity for Britain'

Vision Zero is an initiative aimed at eliminating all deaths and severe injuries on the region's roads by 2040.

The Vision Zero board for West Yorkshire is chaired by Alison Lowe, the county's Deputy Mayor for Police and Crime.

Asked whether self-driving cars may help achieve Vision Zero's aims, she told the Telegraph & Argus: "We need to work together and think very differently about how we can improve the safety of West Yorkshire's transport network.

"Vision Zero supports the use of safe vehicles as part of our ambition to reduce and hopefully eliminate deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 2040.

"While there is currently not enough data available to properly evaluate the safety of autonomous vehicles, we await further developments with interest as we continue to work on transport policy for the region."

Transport Secretary Mr Harper's comments came as a bill to regulate the use of automated vehicles moves through the House of Lords.

He said at the end of last year: "This technology exists, it works, and what we're doing is putting in place the proper legislation so that people can have full confidence in the safety of this technology."

Asked if people would be able to travel in self-driving vehicles "with your hands off the wheel, doing your emails" in 2026, Harper replied: "Yes, and I think that's when companies are expecting - in 2026, during that year - that we'll start seeing this technology rolled out."

He added: "I think it will actually improve road safety. We already have a very good road safety record in Britain but there are still several thousand people a year killed on our roads. That could be improved.

"It's a big economic opportunity for Britain to get what will be a big global share of market. The final thing is, there are a lot of people who currently don't have the opportunity to get the freedom that many of us drivers take for granted.

"For example, there are people who have disabilities, people with learning disabilities, who don't have the same freedom that driving brings the rest of us. This potentially opens up a whole new world for personal freedom, getting to work, having the ability to not have to rely on other people."