Written Answers: December 2014

Written Answers: December 2014

1st December

Driving: Diabetes

Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many drivers have lost their licence due to hypoglycaemic incidents in each of the last five years.

Claire Perry: The number of drivers who have had their driving licence revoked or their application for a driving licence refused due to a hypoglycaemic incident in each of the last five years is set out below:

Year Number of licences refused/ revoked due to hypoglycaemic incident
2009 210
2010 298
2011 703
2012 1,426
2013 1,066

The increase in the number of driving licences revoked or refused from 2011 results from the introduction of the changes to the minimum health standards for drivers with diabetes.

 


 

2nd December

Driving: Diabetes

Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions his Department has had with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency on the medical rules on driving with diabetes treated with sulphonylureas and glinides.

Claire Perry: The Secretary of State appointed the Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Diabetes Mellitus to provide expert advice on the medical standards required for safe driving. The Panel meets twice a year and provides advice to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Driving with diabetes treated with sulphonylureas and glinides was last discussed at the meeting held in October 2014. As a result the ‘At a Glance Guide to the Current Medical Standards of Fitness to Drive’ was updated to emphasise the need for appropriate glucose testing.


 

4th December

Cycling: Safety

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to encourage safer cycling.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Government takes all road safety – including cycle safety – very seriously. We have more than doubled funding for cycling and only last week announced a further £214 million.

This will allow us to continue cycle proofing our roads and supporting Bikeability cycle training for children.

Roads: Safety

Kate Green (Stretford and Urmston): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to improve road safety.

Mr Robert Goodwill: Britain is a world leader in road safety, but we are always striving to improve. For example, from March next year it will be an offence to drive with certain drugs in your body in excess of official limits.

And measures in the deregulation bill will remove the driver’s right to demand a blood or urine test if they fail a breathalyser test.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Richard Graham (Gloucester): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to build new, and upgrade existing, trunk roads.

Mr John Hayes: Government has published the first ever Road Investment Strategy, setting out how £15 billion will be invested in over 100 schemes on England’s motorway and trunk road network between 2015 and 2021. The south west of England will benefit from 7 new schemes worth around £2 billion, and in Gloucestershire we have committed to developing a proposal to improve the A417 ‘missing link’ to dual carriageway standard, taking account of both the environmental sensitivity of the site and the importance of the route to the local economy.

Driving: Diabetes

Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency on its medical standards for people with type-2 diabetes; and if he will make a statement.

Claire Perry: The Secretary of State appointed the Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Diabetes Mellitus to provide expert advice on the medical standards required for safe driving in relation to diabetes. The Panel meets twice a year and provides advice to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The Panel last met in October 2014.

Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that drivers with type-2 diabetes do not lose their licence as a result of hypoglycaemia.

Claire Perry: The Department for Transport is responsible for maintaining road safety for all road users. Those who are not medically fit to drive should not be issued with a driving licence.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) provides information to drivers with diabetes, including the symptoms of hypoglycaemia. The DVLA has also worked with organisations representing people with diabetes to provide clear information about the standards required for driving

 


 

5th December

Transport: Finance

Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of planned spending on (a) cycling, (b) walking, (c) public transport and (d) roads contained in local growth plans in each local enterprise partnership area in each of the next six years.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The estimated spending figures are as per the attached table. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have varying degrees of freedom to vary spend between projects and between years. The published Growth Deals did not allocate funding to specific years other than 2015/16. The figures provided are therefore for all years 2015/16 to 2020/21 inclusive.

Spend has been designated according to the primary mode of the schemes individually named in growth deals. Many of those designated as ‘road’ and ‘public transport’ also include some cycling and walking infrastructure. Spend designated as ‘mixed’ includes individual schemes and packages where there is no single dominant mode, but within which sustainable modes, including cycling and walking are significantly represented. This includes the West Yorkshire Transport Fund where the individual schemes were not announced in the Growth Deal. An estimated breakdown of modal spend within these schemes and packages could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The figures in this table relate to the new projects announced in growth deals in July 2014. The Local Growth Fund also includes £1.6bn of transport spending over the same six year period that had previously been allocated to individual major schemes and local transport bodies. The Department has also committed significant expenditure outside the Local Growth Fund, for example, an additional £114m to further the work of the Cycling Ambition programme.

Motor Vehicles Testing

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what checks are in place to ensure that MOTs are conducted properly; and what action is taken if they are not.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) conduct a number of different activities to monitor the quality of testing at MOT Garages. These range from re-inspecting vehicles that have just been tested through to conducting mystery shopper type activities.

DVSA use a mechanism to target its resource to those MOT Garages that present the greatest risk profile. The type of activity conducted is based on that which is best suited for the identified risk. These activities can range from an educative type support to a more stringent enforcement approach. Where poor quality testing has been identified an assessment is carried out and, again, the approach is designed to be proportionate to the need – focused on best ensuring test quality. This could include on-site support or redirected additional training. More serious cases can result in the authorisation of either the Tester or the Authorised Examiner being removed from the scheme.

 


 

9th December

Bus Services: Disability

Justin Tomlinson (North Swindon): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will bring forward proposals to ensure that all new buses across the UK are installed with audio-visual announcements; and what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the results of the All Aboard Competition run by his Department.

Mr John Hayes: The Department for Transport understands the social benefits of having audio and visual announcement systems on buses, and we are keen to encourage operators and local authorities to invest in this technology, where possible.

However, there is a need to be realistic about the cost of installing and maintaining this technology and the financial burden this could place on smaller, local bus operators. We therefore have no plans to make these systems mandatory on all new buses.

The ‘All Aboard’ technology competition was launched by my noble colleague, the Minister of State for Transport, Baroness Kramer, on 24th October 2014 and will challenge our talented students around the country to come up with cost-effective ideas about how to provide passengers with accessible on-board information. The competition will run until February 13th 2015 and its outcome will be considered after this date.

Large Goods Vehicles

Mr Andrew Smith (Oxford East): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent representations he made to his EU counterparts on delays in the introduction of the revised EU Directive 96/53 on vehicle cab design.

Claire Perry: Negotiations about changes to EU Directive 96/53/EC are continuing under the Italian Presidency.  We support proposed changes to the directive to allow extra length to enable new cab designs, with the timings to be determined in Type Approval legislation. We support the completion of the negotiations as soon as possible.

 

Mr Mike Weir (Angus): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the guidance in respect of (a) lane discipline and (b) related testing requirements for heavy goods vehicles was last revised.

Claire Perry: Guidance in the book The Official DVSA Guide to Driving Goods Vehicles is revised in response to feedback and research. The last time the advice on lane discipline was revised was in a reprint in June 2011 where two paragraphs were added. There have been no changes since.

 

Mr Mike Weir (Angus): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what interim assessment he has made of the incidence of collisions involving vehicles participating in the Longer HGV Semi-Trailer Trial.

Claire Perry: The annual report on the longer semi-trailer (LST) trial published in June 2014 included an interim assessment of collisions involving vehicles participating in the trial. This is published on the Government’s website and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evaluation-of-the-longer-semi-trailer-trial-annual-report-2013

This report includes analysis of reported road collisions involving LSTs resulting in injury, which shows that the incidence of such collisions is lower than that for the GB Articulated fleet in general. Longer semi-trailer trial vehicles operating between September 2012 and December 2013 were involved in five incidents in which someone was injured, 4 of them slight injuries and one serious injury (broken arm). Of these, one slight and one serious injury occurred on public roads, the remainder in depots or other private areas.

For the general population of heavy goods vehicles, casualty data are only available for incidents that occur on public roads. Comparing these data, longer semi-trailer trial vehicles were involved in injury incidents on public roads at a rate of 48.8 per billion vehicle kilometres. This compares with a rate of 187.4 injury incidents per billion vehicle kilometres for all articulated heavy goods vehicles in Great Britain over the period 2010-2012. The number of casualties in incidents involving all articulated HGVs was an average of over 3,400 per year over this period.

In addition, the report estimated that between 600 thousand and 900 thousand HGV vehicle kilometres have been removed from the road as a result of longer semi-trailer operations between September 2012 and December 2013. This will help to further reduce the risk of incidents occurring.

 

Mr Mike Weir (Angus): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of trends in the number of incidents in which heavy goods vehicles have sideswiped vehicles which are (a) stationary and (b) in transit at the time of collision over the last five years.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The number of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) involved in accidents that resulted in a personal injury and were reported to the police in the last five years with a) a stationary vehicle and (b) a non-stationary vehicle where the heavy goods vehicle was changing lane to the left or right can be found in the tables below:

  1. a) Number of HGVs involved in reported personal-injury accidents with a stationary vehicle where the HGV was changing lane to the left or right: GB, 2009-2013
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Changing lane to left 8 6 7 5 3
Changing lane to right 3 2 4 2 2
Total 11 8 11 7 5
  1. b) Number of HGVs involved in reported personal-injury accidents with a non-stationary vehicle where the HGV was changing lane to the left or right: GB, 2009-2013
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Changing lane to left 302 332 284 248 252
Changing lane to right 417 400 348 331 325
Total 719 732 632 579 577

The non-stationary vehicle may have been undertaking a number of different manoeuvres such as reversing, performing a U-turn, slowing/stopping or moving off. The HGV manoeuvre in all the above figures was changing lane to the left or right.

These figures come from police reported accident data. They only include accidents in which at least one person was injured and were reported to the police.

 

Mr Mike Weir (Angus): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the average cost incurred or earnings lost by road users whose vehicles are incapacitated following sideswipe collisions attributable to heavy goods vehicles.

Claire Perry: I have no specific estimate of the average cost incurred or earnings lost by road users whose vehicles are incapacitated following sideswipe collisions attributable to heavy goods vehicles.

The Department for Transport’s published accident values for use in project and policy appraisal comprise several costs elements, including the lost output (or earnings) of those injured in road accidents. The values are averages across all reported accidents and are provided by accident severity and road class.

 

Speed Limits

Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what mechanisms are in place to ensure that when variable speed limits on motorways are activated, the variable speed limit is not too low for the traffic conditions at the time; and if he will make a statement.

Mr John Hayes: The Traffic Officer Manual provides detailed guidance to control room operators on the correct procedures for setting variable speed limits. Supervisory staff in the Highways Agency regional control centres are responsible for ensuring that a constant overview is maintained of the network conditions – and appropriateness of variable speeds – relevant to safety and smooth traffic flow. Variable speed limits are set in response to conditions on the road and are only used when necessary.

Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, who at the Highways Agency, under whose authority, determines when to utilise variable speed limits; what mechanisms are in place to ensure that these speed limits are regularly reviewed so that they correspond to the needs of live traffic; and if he will make a statement.

Mr John Hayes: The Traffic Officer Manual provides detailed guidance to control room operators on the correct procedures for setting variable speed limits. Supervisory staff in the Highways Agency regional control centres are responsible for ensuring that a constant overview is maintained of the network conditions – and appropriateness of variable speeds – relevant to safety and smooth traffic flow. Variable speed limits are set in response to conditions on the road and are only used when necessary.

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what procedures are in force at the Highways Agency to ensure that no one person can impose a variable speed limit that is too low for the traffic conditions pertaining at the time; how and when such procedures are reviewed to ensure low speed limits do not remain in place longer than they need to; and if he will make a statement.

Mr John Hayes: The Traffic Officer Manual provides detailed guidance to control room operators on the correct procedures for setting variable speed limits. Supervisory staff in the Highways Agency regional control centres are responsible for ensuring that a constant overview is maintained of the network conditions – and appropriateness of variable speeds – relevant to safety and smooth traffic flow. Variable speed limits are set in response to conditions on the road and are only used when necessary

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason variable speed limits of 60 mph were in force on the M1 motorway at 3.30 pm on 27 November 2014 when traffic flows northbound were relatively light; what measures are in place to prevent those operating the variable speed limits anticipating heavier traffic when, in fact, it does not materialise; and if he will make a statement.

Mr John Hayes: The Highways Agency has systems installed across the motorway network which measure the speed and volume of traffic flows using inductive loops buried in the carriageway or roadside radar. When the number of vehicles rises above certain predefined thresholds and/or if the speed of traffic drops below a set level, progressively slower speeds are set on the motorway signs and signals. In some locations these are advisory speed limits and act as a safety measure to gradually reduce the speed of traffic to avoid sudden braking and bunching, which is a notable cause of accidents. It also helps to protect the back of any queue that may have formed. On ‘Smart Motorways’ the systems trigger mandatory speed limits that provide the safety benefits already mentioned but also maintain traffic flows and thus reduce overall journey times.

Even though the safety and congestion benefits of this system have been proven, there are circumstances where the systems can be triggered to show reduced speeds even when traffic flows appear light. For example, a slow moving abnormal load or heavy equipment on an inclined section of motorway. On occasions the systems are so effective in managing traffic flows that the expected congestion from traffic flows is prevented and thus road users see the warning signs and reduced speeds but do not see the queue/congestion. The systems continually monitor flows and will reset when conditions allow.

The Highways Agency’s Regional Control Centres maintain a 24/7 overview of the network and can see where the automated systems are generating queue messages and/or reduced speeds. Extensive CCTV coverage, particularly on sections of Smart motorways (such as the M1, M6, M25, M42 and M62), means that operators can review conditions and override settings according to the situation.

I have asked the Highways Agency for a report on the specific circumstances raised in the question.

 


 

11th December:

Transport: Accidents

Mr David Blunkett (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many children died or were injured travelling to or from school or college in the 11 months ending July 2014.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Department does not hold any information specifically on whether a child was travelling to or from school or college. Nor does the Department have full detailed records of casualties for accidents that have occurred in 2014 available. Data for 2014 will be available in June 2015.

The table below gives the number of children, split into pre-school children aged under 4, and school-aged children aged between 4 and 16 inclusive, who were killed or injured in reported road traffic accidents between 7.30 am and 8.59 am, or between 3.00 pm and 4.59 pm on a school day in 2013. The table does not include any accidents that occurred at the weekend or during school holidays. The school holidays used are those defined by the local education authority in which the accident occurred.

Reported child casualties in accidents occurring between 7.30 and 8.59 am, or between 3.00 and 4.59 pm on a school day, by age, severity and month, Great Britain: 2013

Aged between 4 and 16 inclusive Aged under 4
Killed Seriously injured Slightly injured Killed Seriously injured Slightly injured
January 0 56 386 0 0 30
February 1 56 293 0 1 22
March 1 77 406 1 4 28
April 0 48 294 0 3 29
May 1 48 359 0 3 23
June 1 67 484 1 3 34
July 0 52 344 0 4 18
August 0 5 17 0 0 3
September 3 86 498 0 5 40
October 1 71 524 0 7 26
November 1 69 501 0 4 26
December 2 45 335 0 2 27

 

Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if the Government will support the proposal being considered by the EU Council on the safer HGV cab design to improve safety for cyclists.

Claire Perry: The Government is fully committed to road safety for all road users. We therefore support the main aims of the proposed revision to directive 96/53/EC to enable extra length for improved aerodynamic and safer HGV cab design.


 

15th December

Cycling: Urban Areas

Mr Jim Cunningham (Coventry South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to make cities more accessible to cyclists.

Mr Robert Goodwill: In line with the Government’s localism agenda local authorities are responsible for their highways and for identifying and implementing sustainable transport options.

Through the Cycling Ambition grants eight cities across England have shared £77 million of funding, and in these cities spend on cycling is now over £10 per person. In addition, in November, a further £114 million for the Cycling Ambition cities was announced.

Furthermore, as proposed in the draft Cycling Delivery Plan, published on 16 October 2014, we are looking to forge partnerships with local authorities across England. In exchange for signing up to a series of actions to deliver ambitious changes in cycling and walking – they will receive access to supporting tools and incentives, including priority access to funding, knowledge sharing, and sector expertise.

 


17th December

Roads: Accidents

Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar and Limehouse): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish reported road casualty figures by severity for each (a) local authority area and (b) parliamentary constituency for each year from 2003 to 2013.

Mr Robert Goodwill: The attached tables (table 1 and table 2) contain reported road casualty figures by severity for each (a) local authority area and (b) parliamentary constituency for each year from 2003 to 2013.

Equivalent tables covering the years 2010 to 2013 are available for the public at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras30-reported-casualties-in-road-accidents. These tables are updated each year.

 

Pedestrian Crossings

Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his Answer of 10 September 2014 to Question 208314, by what date he intends to complete consideration of whether to update existing guidance on pedestrian crossings

Mr Robert Goodwill: The Department still expects to bring the revised Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions into force in 2015. Following this, it plans to update the guidance in the Traffic Signs Manual, including producing a new chapter on traffic signals and pedestrian crossings. A date for publication has not been set.

Traffic Lights

Mr John Spellar (Warley): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the feasibility of introducing a flashing amber sequence at certain traffic lights in off-peak hours.

Mt Robert Goodwill: The Department has no plans to introduce flashing amber at junctions.

The Department commissioned a research project looking into ways of making signals operate more efficiently at quiet times. The report is available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/operation-of-traffic-signals-during-low-demand-periods.

The research reviewed practice in other countries, including the use of flashing amber overnight. It found countries that use this system are moving away from it and that introducing it led to an increased risk of accidents.

There are numerous locations where traffic light signals are only in operation at peak times- for example on roundabouts.

Motorways

Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South): To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many vehicle breakdowns there have been on smart motorways when the hard shoulder was in use as a running lane.

Mr John Hayes: The Highways Agency does not hold this information. The Highways Agency records details of vehicle breakdowns in ‘live’ lanes. The number of vehicle breakdowns in live lanes within Smart Motorway sections in the last three years are as follows:-

2012 – 11,516

2013 – 11,154

2014 (up to and including November) – 9692

 


 

Information is available here on the parliamentary website.

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