PACTS Comments on Parliamentary Questions: 6 – 9 December

 

Accident Investigation

 

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effects on the functions carried out by his Department’s (a) Air Accident Investigation Branch, (b) Rail Accident Investigation Branch and (c) Marine Accident Investigation Branch of reductions to his Department’s central administration budget; and if he will make a statement. [27043]
Mr Philip Hammond: The accident investigation branches (AIBs) do not form part of the Department’s central administration budget as they are categorised as Programme expenditure.

We have however, carried out an assessment of potential productivity improvements in the AIBs which could be made without impacting their statutory functions. Our assessment shows that cost reductions can be made by focusing their activities more closely on their core safety role and through rationalising support functions and other efficiency improvements. This will include sharing facilities and equipment across the three AIB’s wherever this is practical.

PACTS comments: Like every other public body, the Accident Investigation Branches (AIBs) are subject to budget cuts. While Mr Hammond does not lay any figures on the table, he does talk about cost reductions. It will not be surprising that PACTS, who endorse evidence based research and evidence led policy, fully support the AIBs. The UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch has operated since the First World War, and leads the UK AIBs in their internationally renowned reputation. Therefore any cost reductions should be taken with the greatest care possible, so that they are purely administrative and do not have any impact on the quality of accident investigations. It would be a huge loss if the UK were to compromise its international reputation for transport safety. 

 

 

Roads: Accidents

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress the Government are making on developing road safety measures to reduce the frequency of minor accidents. [26502]

Mike Penning: Existing policies and trends have already delivered the safest roads in the world, with significant falls in all casualties, as well as deaths and the most serious injuries. The Department for Transport is making progress on initiatives to continue to reduce the frequency of both major and minor accidents, including work on a new strategic framework for road safety and related measures.

Most recently we have produced the “Safe Place to Cross” toolkit aimed at six to eleven-year-olds and the innovative partnership between the THINK! team and four major football clubs.

We have also announced in September the Local Sustainable Transport Fund that will challenge local transport authorities outside London to develop packages of measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon in their communities as well as delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity.

PACTS comments: In this question the term ‘minor accidents’ is used. The two definitions for accidents defined by the Department for Transport (DfT) are ‘serious’ and ‘slight’. Serious injuries involve a person being detained in hospital as an ‘in patient’, or  injuries including fractures, concussion, internal injuries, crushings, burns, severe cuts and severe general shock. Slight injuries involve a sprain, bruise, cut or slight shock which is given roadside attention. The figures reported for serious and slight injuries are known to be unreliable, with police and hospital figures showing disparities, due to under reporting and under diagnosing. This could be improved by a number of methods, one of which is to provide police with better tools with which to record accident data. Pilots of a new electronic system run by DfT are to be run in early 2011, where police officers will be given mobile devices for data collection at accident scenes. 

 

Speed Limits: Rural Areas

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans to take steps to(a) amend the way in which speed limits for rural roads are set and (b) ensure that the mean speed for vehicles using rural roads is not taken into account in setting appropriate speed limits for those roads. [26658]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has no plans to change the way in which speed limits for rural roads are set. Nor are there plans to move away from using mean speeds as the method of indicating an appropriate speed limit.

Local authorities are responsible for setting local speed limits. The Department provides them with guidance, “DfT Circular 01/2006-Setting Local Speed Limits”, which ensures speed limits are appropriately and consistently set. The guidance recommends local authorities use mean speeds to determine the appropriate speed limit.

PACTS comments: Setting speed limits for rural roads is difficult. Due to the nature of rural roads, most accidents which occur on them involve vehicles who were driving within the speed limit. Therefore the important question is appropriate speed for the road conditions, rather than a speed limit. As Mr Penning states, the current guidelines advise local authorities to use mean speeds when setting speed limits, and this is an approach that PACTS supports. 

Other written answers:

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency: Local Government

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which local authorities have been (a) banned and (b)suspended from accessing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [23823]

Mike Penning [holding answer 12 November 2010]: No local authority has been banned from accessing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s vehicle database within the last 12 months. The following authorities have been temporarily suspended during the last 12 months from requesting information from the database until they could demonstrate full compliance with the strict terms and conditions for access to data.

Ashfield District Council

Aylesbury Vale District Council

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council

Bedford Borough Council

Birmingham City Council

Blackpool Borough Council

Blaenau Gwent Borough Council

Bournemouth Borough Council

Bracknell Forest Council

Breckland Council

Bristol City Council

Broadlands District Council

Bromley L B

Buckingham County Council

Burnley Borough Council

Cambridge City Council

Cannock Chase Council

Carlisle City Council

Carmarthen Council

Carmarthenshire County Council

Central Bedfordshire Council

Chiltern District Council

Chorley Borough Council

City of York

Cornwall Council

Croydon Council

Cumbria County Council

Dacorum Borough Council

Dudley Council

Durham County Council

Ealing Council

East Dorset District Council

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Erewash Borough Council

Fenland District Council

Forest Heath District Council

Gloucester City Council

Guildford Borough Council

Hampshire Council (East)

Hampshire County Council

Hartlepool

Hastings Council

Hereford Council

Ipswich Borough Council


6 Dec 2010 : Column 65W

Kent County Council

Kirklees District Council

Leicester City Council

Lewes Council

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Borough Epping Forrest

London Borough Newham

Manchester City Council

Mendip District Council

Middlesbrough

Milton Keynes Council

N E Lincolnshire

New Forest District Council

Newcastle upon Tyne

North Kesteven District Council

Northumberland

Oldham Council

Pendle Borough Council

Poole Council

Portsmouth City Council

Ribble Borough Council (South)

Ribble Valley Borough Council

Richmond on Thames

Salford County Council

Selby District Council

Shropshire Council

Somerset County Council

South Cambridgeshire Council

South Lakeland

Southampton Council

Southend on Sea Borough Council

St Albans City and District Council

St Helens Council

Stockton on Tees

Stroud District Council

Surrey Heath Borough Council

Three Rivers District Council

Warrington Borough Council

Warwick District Council

Watford Borough Council

Wigan MBC

Wiltshire Council

Worcester County Council

Wychavon District Council

Wycombe District Council

Driving Tests

Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the amount of time learner drivers have to wait to take a driving test. [26791]

Mike Penning: Waiting times across the country are currently higher than expected. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has a shortfall in the number of driving examiners required to deliver the demand for practical driving tests and this is being addressed through a programme of recruitment.


6 Dec 2010 : Column 66W

In addition, to help mitigate the impact of the current examiner shortfall, DSA has undertaken a number of actions to increase the number of tests it can deliver. These include:

(1) Offering out-of-hours tests (early mornings, evenings and weekends) at most locations;

(2) Having examiner managers do an increased amount of testing.

Driving: Eyesight

Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to raise awareness among drivers (a)of the risks inherent in driving with poor vision and (b) that driving with vision below the required standard is an offence; and if he will make a statement. [26773]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport takes appropriate opportunities to raise awareness of the risks inherent in driving with poor vision.

Driving licence application forms and associated leaflets remind drivers about the ongoing requirement to be able to meet the eyesight standard. Specific information is available on the DirectGov website. Advertisements also appear on the motoring pages reminding drivers that driving while unable to meet the appropriate eyesight standard is an offence. This advice is also included in the Highway Code that provides essential advice for all drivers. The driving test also requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to meet the required eyesight standard.

Local Transport Plans

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to estimate the effect on levels of walking and cycling in respect of his Department’s objectives of the implementation of the second round of local transport plans (LTPs); and what methodology he plans to use to evaluate the effectiveness of LTP3 delivery. [26176]

Norman Baker: The coalition Government have set out their commitment to localism and to ending the top-down performance management of local authorities
6 Dec 2010 : Column 68W
by Whitehall. In July I announced that central Government will no longer review local authorities’ progress against their Local Transport plans.

In the interests of transparency, and to enable local communities and other stakeholders to hold local transport authorities to account, the Department intends to continue publishing relevant statistics at local authority level as set out in the Transparency section of its Business Plan.

The Department of Health is also developing an outcomes framework for directors of public health to monitor the health and well-being of the local population, and a consultation document on appropriate indicators will be announced shortly.

Roads: Accidents

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress the Government are making on developing road safety measures to reduce the frequency of minor accidents. [26502]

Mike Penning: Existing policies and trends have already delivered the safest roads in the world, with significant falls in all casualties, as well as deaths and the most serious injuries. The Department for Transport is making progress on initiatives to continue to reduce the frequency
6 Dec 2010 : Column 70W
of both major and minor accidents, including work on a new strategic framework for road safety and related measures.

Most recently we have produced the “Safe Place to Cross” toolkit aimed at six to eleven-year-olds and the innovative partnership between the THINK! team and four major football clubs.

We have also announced in September the Local Sustainable Transport Fund that will challenge local transport authorities outside London to develop packages of measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon in their communities as well as delivering cleaner environments, improved safety and increased levels of physical activity.

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatalities, (b) serious injuries and (c)other outcomes from road traffic accidents in (i) Cumbria and (ii) England were reported to his Department in each month of the last five years. [27981]

Mike Penning: The following table shows the number of casualties who were (a) killed, (b) seriously injured or(c) slightly injured in reported personal injury road accidents in (i) Cumbria and (ii) England, in each month, between 2005 and 2009.

6 Dec 2010 : Column 71W

6 Dec 2010 : Column 72W

Casualties in reported personal injury road accidents, by injury severity and month: Cumbria and England, 2005 – 09
Casualties
England Cumbria
Year Month Killed Serious Slight Total Killed Serious Slight Total

2005

January

224

1,891

17,415

19,530

2

24

179

205

February

199

1,767

15,406

17,372

3

45

168

216

March

221

1,834

15,987

18,042

5

20

146

171

April

185

1,927

16,924

19,036

5

31

164

200

May

214

2,232

18,167

20,613

2

29

207

238

June

225

2,223

17,925

20,373

1

41

233

275

July

218

2,285

18,260

20,763

10

29

186

225

August

230

2,244

17,559

20,033

1

36

205

242

September

247

2,096

17,687

20,030

0

33

183

216

October

244

2,307

18,690

21,241

7

32

224

263

November

259

2,300

19,938

22,497

4

33

214

251

December

269

2,104

18,581

20,954

5

29

194

228

Total

2,735

25,210

212,539

240,484

45

382

2,303

2,730

2006

January

200

1,945

15,892

18,037

3

13

160

176

February

223

1,755

14,791

16,769

4

9

150

163

March

173

1,826

15,783

17,782

3

27

159

189

April

213

1,851

14,926

16,990

3

23

144

170

May

198

2,097

17,096

19,391

3

21

156

180

June

232

2,278

16,578

19,088

10

27

181

218

July

223

2,337

17,843

20,403

7

29

203

239

August

240

2,056

16,505

18,801

9

34

180

223

September

243

2,126

17,742

20,111

6

30

194

230

October

264

2,172

18,228

20,664

2

20

187

209

November

229

2,269

18,358

20,856

2

34

226

262

December

257

2,144

17,284

19,685

7

18

196

221

Total

2,695

24,856

201,026

228,577

59

285

2,136

2,480

2007

January

209

2,040

16,213

18,462

2

32

171

205

February

168

1,634

13,988

15,790

1

21

147

169

March

205

1,934

15,919

18,058

4

33

169

206

April

219

2,061

14,718

16,998

10

46

199

255

May

218

1,975

16,937

19,130

1

15

169

185

June

184

2,084

16,568

18,836

3

21

164

188

July

202

2,186

17,015

19,403

5

15

163

183

August

226

2,122

15,991

18,339

8

18

212

238

September

220

2,106

16,097

18,423

3

20

167

190

October

218

2,062

16,328

18,608

3

20

200

223

November

220

2,159

17,323

19,702

4

19

186

209

December

213

1,855

15,647

17,715

1

14

152

167

Total

2,502

24,218

192,744

219,464

45

274

2,099

2,418

2008

January

192

1,784

14,734

16,710

4

18

143

165

February

162

1,840

14,935

16,937

0

15

131

146

March

158

1,705

14,243

16,106

2

17

166

185

April

158

1,722

14,349

16,229

8

24

149

181

May

183

1,930

15,084

17,197

3

22

182

207

June

159

1,977

14,823

16,959

1

23

150

174

July

209

1,920

15,415

17,544

2

29

152

183

August

170

1,838

14,246

16,254

1

26

160

187

September

156

1,994

15,091

17,241

2

14

204

220

October

217

1,984

16,441

18,642

2

14

150

166

November

179

1,804

15,602

17,585

3

17

176

196

December

180

1,748

14,825

16,753

1

28

148

177

Total

2,123

22,246

179,788

204,157

29

247

1,911

2,187

2009

January

175

1,708

14,232

16,115

1

15

155

171

February

142

1,350

11,488

12,980

2

15

107

124

March

137

1,685

13,856

15,678

0

17

110

127

April

174

1,787

13,464

15,425

1

18

135

154

May

166

1,907

14,618

16,691

7

15

151

173

June

154

1,916

14,471

16,541

2

26

146

174

July

160

1,818

15,367

17,345

2

16

166

184

August

183

1,792

14,319

16,294

2

27

174

203

September

152

1,962

14,262

16,376

2

29

156

187

October

157

1,968

15,954

18,079

1

24

158

183

November

140

1,856

16,684

18,680

2

12

156

170

December

140

1,577

14,859

16,576

1

10

168

179

Total

1,880

21,326

173,574

196,780

23

224

1,782

2,029

Roads: Snow and Ice

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the Highways Agency’s Salt Stock Strategy document. [26396]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency’s policy and standards for its winter service, including salt stock management, is detailed in its largely technical Network Management Manual (NMM). The relevant winter section, along with the full document, is available at the following website:

http://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/nmm_rwsc/docs/nmm_part_5.pdf

The Highways Agency constantly reviews and revises the NMM to confirm changes in standards to its contractors and to reflect lessons learned and developing best practice on all aspects of its maintenance activities. I understand that the Highways Agency will be updating the document highlighted by the previous link very shortly.

6 Dec 2010 : Column 73W

Speed Limits: Rural Areas

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans to take steps to(a) amend the way in which speed limits for rural roads are set and (b) ensure that the mean speed for vehicles using rural roads is not taken into account in setting appropriate speed limits for those roads. [26658]

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has no plans to change the way in which speed limits for rural roads are set. Nor are there plans to move away from using mean speeds as the method of indicating an appropriate speed limit.

Local authorities are responsible for setting local speed limits. The Department provides them with guidance, “DfT Circular 01/2006-Setting Local Speed Limits”, which ensures speed limits are appropriately and consistently set. The guidance recommends local authorities use mean speeds to determine the appropriate speed limit.

Motorways: Accidents

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many collisions involving a motor vehicle there have been on the A1 at Elkesley in 2010 to date. [29475]

Mike Penning: There have been six reported collisions involving motor vehicles on the A1 near Elkesley (within 0.62 miles of the village centre in both directions) between the 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2010. This is the latest information available.

Roads: Accidents

Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average (a) death, (b) injury and (c)personal injury rate from road traffic accidents was per mile of (i) trunk A-roads, (ii) all A-roads and (iii) all roads in the latest period for which figures are available. [29540]

Mike Penning: The information requested is given in the following table.

Reported casualties in personal injury road accidents per mile of road, by type of road: England, 2009
Casualties
Type of road Killed Injured( 1)

Trunk A-roads

0.06

3.88

All A roads

0.07

6.10

All roads

0.01

1.04

(1) Seriously or slightly injured.
Note:
Figures for “injury” and “personal injury” are the same.

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