August 2011 PACTS Newsletter

EVENTS
“Older, Wiser and Safer: ensuring safe mobility for an ageing population”
October 13th 2011
Venue: the Royal Society of Medicine, One Wimpole Street, London WC1.
‘More Haste, Less Speed: changing behaviour for safety and sustainability’
22nd Westminster Lecture to be given by Dr Jillian Anable, University of Aberdeen
November 30th 2011
Venue: Church House Conference Centre, London SW1
Invitations will be sent out shortly.
NON-PACTS EVENTS
Fifth International Conference in Driver Behaviour and Training (ICDBT5) 
29th to 30th November 2011
Venue: Tapis Rouge, Paris
NEWS
RAIB report released – Falls of Cruachan
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released its report into the accident at Falls of Cruachan, Argyll, 6 June 2010. The RAIB has made six recommendations. These include:
– improving the clearance of vegetation growing on earthworks so that hazards to the safety of railway operation can be identified;
– improvements to the collection of slope data so that a full appreciation of the condition of slopes is obtained; and
– improvements to the process for the implementation of remediation works to prevent future earthworks failures.
A further recommendation has been made relating to the prevention of lighting diffusers and other saloon panels on rolling stock becoming displaced during accidents.
ORR publishes annual health and safety report
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has called on the rail industry to maintain its focus on safety, as it published its annual health and safety report showing both improvements and areas for attention.
This year’s report highlights that Great Britain’s railway remains one of the safest in Europe, with key findings including:
– Potential high risk train accidents on the mainline railway showed a very significant reduction, from 42 in 2009/10 to 18 in 2010/11 – a record low.
– The lowest number of collisions (five) between trains and vehicles at level crossings in recent years.
– Workforce safety continues to improve on both the mainline and London Underground (LUL) despite increased reporting rates of minor injuries by Network Rail following the regulator’s intervention last year.
– London Underground (LUL) achieved ORR’s vision of zero workforce and industry caused passenger fatalities as it has done on past occasions.
STATISTICS
National Travel Survey 2010
The National Travel Survey is a continuous survey designed to monitor long-term trends in personal travel in Great Britain. The survey collects information on where, how, why and when people travel as well as factors which affect personal travel such as car availability, driving licence holding and access to key services.
National Rail Trends Yearbook
The yearbook published by the Office of Rail Regulation provides a comprehensive picture of the rail industry in Great Britain, highlighting a wide range of statistics on areas including rail usage, safety and performance.
EU Road Fatalities
The European Commission has published new statistics showing that EU road fatalities decreased by 11% in 2010. However, country by country statistics show that the number of deaths still varies greatly across the EU. Most countries achieved double-digit reductions in the number of road deaths over the past year, the best ones being Luxembourg (33%), Malta (29%) Sweden (26%) and Slovakia (26%). However there is still a lot of work to be done.
Rail Safety Performance 
The Rail Safety and Standards Board’s Annual Safety Performance Report 2010/11 is now available.
The following publications are also available:
INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH – UN Decade of Action for Road Safety
As well as encouraging and supporting the sharing of Britain’s expertise and knowledge, PACTS is committed to using the Decade of Action as an opportunity to build on existing European and international contacts and learn from experience from outside the UK. Therefore each month a publication from a different country will be featured on the Decade of Action page on the PACTS website.
During August a report by SWOV, the Dutch road safety institution, will feature. It explores the concept of social forgiveness, where crashes can be avoided or made less severe by socially forgiving behaviour and reactions. The report, A Follow up Study into Social Forgiveness, is written in Dutch, with a summary in English.
PARLIAMENT
BILLS & ACTS
Post Legislative Assessment of the Road Safety Act 2006
Date: July 20, 2011
The Department for Transport has published a post legislative assessment of the Road Safety Act. PACTS particularly welcomes the statement made that there are no plans to introduce graduated fixed penalty points for speeding. The document states that this is because of the increased use being made of remedial training as an alternative to prosecution.
SELECT COMMITTEES
Transport Committee Report – ‘Taxis and private hire vehicles: the road to reform’
Date: July 19, 2011
The Transport Select Committee has published a report calling for a legislative reform order to address problems posed by taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) operating outside of the district in which they are licensed – the phenomenon called ‘cross-border hire’.
MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
Local Sustainable Transport Fund
Date: July 6, 2011
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Norman Baker) announced the decision to fund 39 proposals in this round.
DEBATES
Drivers and Diabetes
Date: July 12, 2011
John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) (LD)
Police Forces
Date: June 30, 2011
Teresa Pearce (Erith and Thamesmead) (Lab)
PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS
“Parliamentary questions are tools that can be used by Members of Parliament to seek information or to press for action. They oblige Ministers to explain and defend the work, policy decisions and actions of their Departments.”
All transport safety parliamentary questions and PACTS comments can be viewed on the website.
These questions were asked on week beginning 18th July:
Bus Services: Rural Areas
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent estimate is of the projected level of access to local bus services in rural communities in each of the next four financial years. [66364]
Norman Baker: We have estimated that the planned reduction in Bus Service Operators Grant from April 2012 will result in a 2% reduction in bus service mileage in rural areas. The level of tendered services provided is a matter for the relevant local authority.
Statistics on the availability of bus services in rural areas can be found on the Department website at the following address:
http://www2.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/nts/accessibility-service/nts0801.xls
Statistics on the accessibility of key services by public transport in rural areas can be found on the Department website at the following address:
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/worksheets/acs0102.xls
PACTS comments: This is a very significant question and answer as the UK’s ageing population will be concentrated in rural areas. If older people have stopped driving or do not have access to a car, they need safe and reliable methods of transport to be able to access services.
 
 
Motorways: Speed Limits
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for City of Chester of 23 June 2011, Official Report, column 455, on motorway speed limits, when he plans to publish his consultation on motorway speed limits; if, as part of the consultation, he will ask what the motorway speed limit should be as an open question; if he will consult on what the default speed limits should be on other types of road; and if he will make a statement. [66502]
 
Mike Penning: Preliminary work reviewing the motorway speed limit is in progress. The primary focus of the current work is reviewing the effects of increasing the 70 mph national speed limit on motorways to 80 mph. If the Government were to propose a change to the motorway speed limit there would be a consultation.
PACTS comments: PACTS believes that an increase of the motorway speed limit to 80 mph would be likely to increase road casualties.  Factors contributing to this include greater speed differentials, longer stopping distances, increased severity of impacts and difficulties regarding enforcement. There are also likely to be adverse effects in terms of vehicle emissions and noise, and overall journey times are unlikely to be reduced.
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