Wednesday 11th May 2011 marked the beginning of the Decade for Action for Road Safety. The work on the decade is being coordinated by the World Health Organisation on behalf of the United Nations.
90% of road traffic deaths occur in low and middle income countries. For people aged between 5 and 44 years, road traffic injuries are among the three leading causes of death. Unless we take action over the next decade, an estimated 2.4 million will die every year worldwide as a result of road traffic injuries.
The Global Plan for Road Safety identifies five pillars for action at a national level: road safety management; safer roads and mobility; safer vehicles; safer road users; and post-crash response. Even if we believe that we have taken action on these in Great Britain, there is still more for us to do to develop a systemic approach to managing risk on our roads.
The Decade also reminds us of our international responsibilities. Britain can help other countries by sharing expertise and knowledge. The Decade offers us an opportunity to help the world learn from our experience and not to repeat our mistakes.
PACTS will monitor and assess actions that are taken over the coming months.
For further details and how you can become involved please click on the following link www.decadeofaction.org
Welcome by Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS.
The UK launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety in London on Wednesday. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety, opened the event and Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport launched the government's Road Safety Strategic Framework.
The following presentations were given:
Driving for Business at a multi-national level. Cliff Cheeseman, Tesco.
The Five Pillars of the Global Plan:
- Safer Vehicles: Thomas Broberg, Volvo Cars
- Safer Roads (Part 1, Part 2): John Dawson, Chairman, International & European Road Assessment Programmes
- Safer Road Users: Darren Divall, Institute of Road Safety Officers
- Road Safety and Health: Julia Verne, South West Public Health Observatory
- Road Safety Management: Pete Thomas, Loughborough University
Click here to see photos from the day.
Over 40 UK organisations submitted commitments for the Decade of Action.
A couple of celebrities also showed their support for the Decade. Sir Bob Geldof made a video for the UK launch. Grover of Sesame Street became a road safety ambassador for the Decade, on a mission to make the world's roads safe for children and families. He appears in three videos wearing his seatbelt, his helmet, and crossing the road safely.
As well as encouraging and supporting the sharing of Britain's expertise and knowledge, PACTS is committed to using the Decade as an opportunity to build on existing European and international contacts and learn from experience from outside the UK.
Therefore each month PACTS will feature a publication from a different country on this page. This will also be included in the PACTS newsletter, which you can sign up for by clicking the link on the right hand side of this page.
April 2013: The integration of road safety into other policy areas can be understood as the systematic, mainstreaming of road safety into other related fields of policy. This paper, written by Ellen Townsend of ETSC, looks at what integration means in relation to several policy areas and examines three key policy areas in more detail: employment, environment and health.
The advantages and disadvantages of road safety policy integration are also discussed. On the positive side these include the added strength in achieving joint objectives, pooling of resources and greater efficiency. However, integration can highlight conflicts where reaching one objective such as road safety, may have disadvantages for another. On balance, looking at possible synergies and potential conflicts, the end result should emerge stronger for all involved.
March 2013: The Michigan Department of Transportation has released a report that evaluates the impact of new pedestrian countermeasure installations as a way to inform future pedestrian safety initiatives.
The results of statistical analysis of Pedestrian Countdown Timers (PCT) provided unequivocal evidence that the pedestrian countdown timers reduced pedestrian crashes. These data demonstrated that the PCT is a very cost effective method of reducing pedestrian crashes in urban areas and should be retrofitted throughout the state of Michigan.
January and February 2013: The latest study by the International Transport Forum, Sharing Road Safety, calls for a more standardised approach for estimating the benefits of road safety initiatives.
Governments can more effectively improve road safety by making better use of indicators that reliably quantify the reduction of crashes due to interventions in the road-traffic system. According to the study, lack of quantifiable evidence about the effects of countermeasures – such as roadway signage, pedestrian crossing treatments, roadway geometric features, etc. – on road crashes is a key obstacle to the advancement of many critical, life-saving road safety initiatives.
Through the use of indicators - so-called Crash Modification Functions (CMF) that provide measures of how interventions affect the number and gravity of road crashes - governments can reduce the risk of taking decisions that have little or no impact on improving road safety.
December 2012: A study entitled “Pedestrian Safety, Urban Space and Health” was prepared by a Working Group of transport experts and urban planners from 19 countries and the World Health Organization under the leadership of the International Transport Forum.
Pedestrian Safety will be the focus of the United Nations Road Safety Week from 6-13 May 2013. This report, available for reading online, highlights the role of national governments in improving pedestrian mobility and proposes 12 sets of measures to create safer walking environments.
November 2012: The Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide has published a report looking at fatal and non-fatal crashes in South Australia entitled "The Relative Contribution of System Failures and Extreme Behaviour in South Australian Crashes".
Taking a safe systems approach, the report looks at the breakdown between extreme behaviour (drivers deliberately breaking the law), illegal systems failure (road users not complying with the law fully but where better system design could have made a difference) and system failure (where better design would have led to prevention). In fatal crashes, 43.4% of drivers were involved in extreme behaviour whereas in non-fatal metropolitan injury crashes, 86.8% of drivers were involved in an incident attributed to system failure.
As we develop a more systematic approach to injury prevention, this taxonomy helps us to understand more about the behaviours on our roads and the most appropriate solutions for them. It would be interesting to see its theoretical framework applied in Great Britain.
October 2012: The Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide has released a report that investigates the causes and contributing factors leading to young driver crashes. Based on the findings from this research, which used comprehensive information collected from in-depth crash investigations, a number of system-wide solutions were suggested to reduce both the incidence and severity of young driver crashes. They include in-vehicle technology such as intelligent speed adaptation, electronic stability control and collision avoidance systems, and improvements to the graduated licensing scheme such as passenger restrictions.
August 2012: On 12 July 2012, it was exactly 50 years from the date on which SWOV (Institute for Road Safety Research, the Netherlands) was founded. To celebrate the event, all SWOV-publications from 1962 until the present day have been made available online. These are not only the SWOV reports, which usually have an English summary, but also all issues of Research Activities that appeared from March 1994 until December 2011.
"We are not the kind of organization that chooses to have a spectacular celebration, but we do indeed consider it a memorable occasion", says SWOV’s managing director Fred Wegman. "Over the years, we have gathered an incredible amount of road safety knowledge on the basis of scientific research. SWOV will continue its efforts to ensure that this knowledge is put to good use with fewer road casualties as a result."
July 2012: The Ibero-American Road Safety Observatory (OISEVI) has developed the first Ibero-American database on accidents, which is now available on the OISEVI website. 130,000 people are killed and six million injured every year in Latin America.
June 2012: The paper Reducing Drink Driving in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Challenges and Opportunities was written by Stewart, Silcock and Wegman and published in Traffic Injury Prevention. It assesses the problem of drink driving in low- and middle-income countries where 90 percent of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur and where the dangers inherent in drink driving are exacerbated by infrastructure that is less protective, vehicles that are less safe, and the presence of many vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motor scooter riders, and motorcyclists).
May 2012: April was National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in America. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has produced a website which contains facts and statistics, information on state laws and lists research on the topic.
April 2012: Ipsos, the research organisation, has published a report on behaviour change policy. 'Many of the biggest challenges we face as societies around the world could be largely solved if people changed their behaviours and habits. It’s no surprise then that behavioural economics or “nudge” approaches are of increasing interest to governments and policy-makers. In these austere times, relatively cheap ways to deal with major issues is hugely attractive.' This report, Acceptable Behaviour?, asks citizens across 24 countries how acceptable they find different levels of government intervention.
March 2012: The New Zealand Transport Agency has launched a campaign to keep highway workers safe. The NZTA says in three years to October 2011, there were 183 reported near misses involving people driving dangerously beside motorway work sites. Similarly in this country the Highways Agency has identified this risk and produced a strategy for road worker safety.
January and February 2012: To further improve road safety, it is necessary to have a better understanding of the real number of road traffic casualties, including serious injuries. This is made possible by linking different sources of accident data, including police and hospital data. The International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD) has reviewed how serious injuries are defined in IRTAD countries in this report Reporting on Serious Road Traffic Casualties, and identified and assessed methodologies for linking different sources of crash data.
December 2011: SWOV, the Institute for Road Safety Research in the Netherlands has published a report on 'Traffic offences and crashes: is there a relation?'. The report found that vehicles that commit more than one offence per year are involved in crashes more frequently than vehicles that commit one offence per year. The study also showed that this growth factor increases exponentially with the offence frequency (the number of offences per year).
November 2011: Ministers of health of the Americas have approved a new plan of action on road safety designed to prevent traffic injuries, the leading cause of death in children aged 5 to 14 in the hemisphere and the second-leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 44. The plan was approved during the 51st Directing Council meeting of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). It calls on countries to update legislation to address the principal risk factors of traffic injuries: excessive speed, alcohol consumption, and the use of seat belts, helmets, and child restraints. Other priority actions include promoting policies on public and nonmotorized transportation, improving pre-hospital care services for the injured and urban and road infrastructure, and encouraging industry to adopt technical inspection systems for all vehicles in circulation to ensure compliance with safety standards.
This article on naturalistic driving in Europe and USA features Rob Eenink, consortium leader of PROLOGUE - the EU FP7 feasibility study for a large scale naturalistic driving project, and Dr. Kenneth L. Campbell, Chief Programme Officer for the second Strategic Highway Research Programme.
October 2011: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the USA has sponsered research and supported demonstration programs that have provided much of the scientific background for the growth in traffic safety legislation and safety programs including alcohol-impaired driving. Between 1968 and 2005, the national highway fatality rate fell from 5.49 to 1.45 per hundred million vehicle miles of travel (VMT). An important element of NHTSA’s support for alcohol safety research has been a series of reports on alcohol and highway safety. This is the sixth report in a series that reviews the state of knowledge on alcohol and highway safety, dating back to 1968.
September 2011: The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention has published 'Status 2011', which lays out road safety statistics for Switzerland.
August 2011: This report by SWOV, the Dutch road safety institution, 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.
July 2011: In recognition of Sweden and Lithuania winning the ETSC (European Transport Safety Council) PIN awards this year, these two countries will feature throughout July. The following links illustrate activities in road safety in each country.
The Swedish Transport Administration, Trafikverket, has published a factsheet on ISA. Speed is one of the most important factors in deciding the seriousness of an accident. But there now are effective tools to help drivers keep to the speed limit. One of these is ISA, which stands for ”Intelligent Speed Adaptation”.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications in Lithuania has invited schools to sign up for the European Road Safety Charter. The Road Administration website has a mapping feature, where visitors to the site can get information on traffic volume and accident rates for 'black spots'.
June 2011: The first report Dangerous by Design by Transportation for America, presents arguments for making pedestrian safety a higher priority. In many locations, including 15 of the country’s largest metro areas, pedestrian fatalities have actually increased, even as overall traffic deaths fell. The report explains that wide roads designed for speed with insufficient pedestrian infrastructures are one of the main problems.
The second report, Benefits of New and Improved Pedestrian Facilities – Before and After Studies by the New Zealand Transport Agency, compliments the first in that it too recognises both the importance of a pedestrian-friendly road environment for encouraging walking, and the associated health and environmental benefits. In evaluating the improved pedestrian facilities over a number of years, the New Zealand Transport Agency is demonstrating best practice by evaluating their interventions and supporting an evidence led approach.