April 2011 PACTS Newsletter
Last week’s PACTS conference ‘Driving for Better Business: Managing Risk, Improving Performance’
Event Date: March 23, 2011
Attendance at our conference on driving while at work reflected the continuing interest in this issue. It was especially encouraging to have presentations from a number of the Driving for Better Business champions, showing that it is possible to tackle work-related road risk whether you are a large multi-national, a small company, a charity or a local authority. Two key conclusions emerged: first, that you need leadership from the top to make this a priority and secondly, that good employers also look at commuting to and from work as well as driving during work itself. Thanks go to all the presenters and to BT for offering us accommodation for the event.
PACTS Publishes New Report with the RAC Foundation – Tackling the Deficit; where next for road safety?
This month PACTS published its second report with the RAC Foundation on Tackling the Deficit. The report presents a snapshot view of road safety’s current situation, following recent government moves on localism and the comprehensive spending review.
Research found that budget cuts could threaten to reverse road casualty reduction. Nine out of ten road safety professionals think reduced spending will have a negative impact on road safety.
The report concludes it is vital that government sets out a firm strategy for road safety over the next decade in its forthcoming Strategic Road Safety Framework. The previous ten-year plan came to an end in March 2010. A strong commitment from central government to preventing death and injury on the roads will encourage councils to spend a fair share of their reduced budgets on cutting casualties rather than diverting it to other services which they believe better reflects the view in Whitehall.
As the clocks went forward for summer this weekend, the Lighter Later campaign celebrates its first birthday. See www.lighterlater.org for more details.
Read the PACTS policy briefing here: http://bit.ly/hgxlSD
Read PACTS and Road Safety Analysis findings on increased risk on the roads: http://bit.ly/hHTlnG
Northern Ireland’s Road Safety Strategy to 2020
Northern Ireland has published its Road Safety Strategy to 2020, based on its vision ‘To make a journey on Northern Ireland’s roads as safe for all road users as anywhere in the world’.
The road safety targets for 2020 (measured against a baseline of the 2004-2008 average figures) are:
• To reduce the number of people killed in road collisions by at least 60% by 2020.
• To reduce the number of people seriously injured in road collisions by at least 45% by 2020.
• To reduce the number of children (aged 0 to 15) killed or seriously injured in road collisions by at least 55% by 2020.
• To reduce the number of young people (aged 16 to 24) killed or seriously injured in road collisions by at least 55% by 2020.
ORR publishes Business Plan 2011-2012
The Office of Rail Regulation outlined its priorities for ensuring Britain’s railways deliver improved performance, safety and efficiency over the coming year.
The regulator’s business plan for 2011-12 sets out clear priorities aimed at ensuring:
-Safer and more reliable train services, with better stations and improved information for passengers.
-Further improvements in health and safety for those who work on the railways.
-Fair access to the rail network for train operators, with planned maintenance and enhancement projects completed on time.
-Greater collaborative working across the rail industry to drive out increased efficiency.
Living Streets’ Walkable Neighbourhoods Campaign Launches
Many of us take being able to walk to our local shops and services for granted. But for far too many people on foot, local shops, post offices, pubs, doctors’ surgeries, schools and libraries are becoming out of reach.
The government is undertaking the biggest shake-up of the UK planning system for a generation. Living Streets is the national charity that stands up for pedestrians. They are campaigning to make sure neighbourhood shops and services are kept within walking distance and are at the heart of any changes to planning regulations.
Adoption of the Cross-Border Enforcement Directive should move ahead despite news of UK decision to delay opt-in
ETSC (the European Transport Safety Council) urged EU Transport ministers and MEPs to continue with the adoption of the Cross-Border Enforcement Directive, despite the decision that the UK will delay their opt-in procedure.
According to ETSC, the UK decision is regrettable, but the government is within its legal rights to delay their opt-in. ETSC strongly believes the time to act is now: across the EU foreign drivers make up only 5% of traffic but 15% of speeding offences, thus renewing the urge that EU decision-makers remedy this situation by adopting the Directive without delay. The Directive will bring significant improvements for road safety in the EU and will enhance the likelihood that EU citizens travel safely across the Union and respect traffic rules.
High Speed Rail Consultation Launched
Learn about the High Speed Rail proposals developed by the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd, and have your say online about:
The Government’s strategy for High Speed Rail
The proposed initial high speed line from London to the West Midlands
2010 British Social Attitudes Survey: attitudes to transport (DfT)
The British Social Attitudes survey is a representative household survey of adults aged 18 and over, which collects data on public attitudes towards a range of topics through a combination of face-to-face interviews and self-completion questionnaires.
-Seventy-one per cent of respondents favoured speed limits of twenty miles per hour in residential streets
-Eighty-five per cent of respondents agreed that those who have drunk any alcohol should not drive
-Forty-nine per cent of respondents agreed that speed cameras save lives and 90 per cent agreed that people should drive within the speed limit.
Taking on the Rural Road Safety Challenge
The rural road safety demonstration project showcases work done by four county councils in response to an invitation to apply for specific funding support from the Department for Transport and to show the impacts of measures to improve rural road safety. The four county councils – Devon, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Northamptonshire – were identified as beacon councils for road safety in 2006 and these projects were implemented between 2008 and early 2010.
Fatal Train Accidents on Europe’s Railways: 1980-2009
Paper by Andrew Evans of Imperial College and University College London
This paper presents an analysis of fatal train accident rates and trends on Europe’s main line railways from 1980 to 2009. The paper uses a new set of data for the European Union together with Norway and Switzerland, assembled partly under the auspices of the European Railway Agency and partly on the author’s own account. The distribution of broad causes of accidents appears to have remained unchanged over the long term, so that safety improvements appear to have been across the board, and not focused on any specific cause. The most frequent cause of fatal train collisions and derailments is signals passed at danger. In contrast to fatal train collisions and derailments, the rate per train-kilometre of serious accidents at level crossings remained unchanged in 1990-2009.The immediate causes of most of the serious level crossing accidents are errors or violations by road users.
Government Response to Sir Peter North Report
Statement by the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP delivered on the 21 March 2011: www.pacts.org.uk/2011/03/government-response-to-sir-peter-north-report/
The Government’s Response to the Reports by Sir Peter North CBE QC and the Transport Select Committee on Drink and Drug Driving: http://bit.ly/gAwtUU
PACTS comments: It is deeply disappointing that the government has failed to take up this opportunity to save lives on our roads. According to the Department’s own figures published last week, 85% agree that if someone has drunk any alcohol they should not drive. A new lower limit would have helped to support that view, making clear that drinking and driving do not mix.
Evidence from Professor Richard Allsop and from NICE submitted to the North Review also showed reductions in deaths and injuries from a lower limit. The government has chosen to ignore this and the clear link between alcohol consumption above 50mg and the increased likelihood of crash involvement.
While we welcome the operational improvements contained in this report, the failure to lower the limit continues to put our citizens at risk. How many more have to die before the government really makes road safety a priority?
Regional Cycling Projects
Statement by Norman Baker MP delivered on the 21 March 2011: www.pacts.org.uk/2011/03/regional-cycling-projects/
School Crossing Patrols
Date: March 17, 2011
Annette Brooke (Mid Dorset and North Poole) (LD)
EDM 1607 REPORT BY THE PARLIAMENTARY ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR TRANSPORT SAFETY ON WHERE NEXT FOR ROAD SAFETY?
Date: March 17, 2011
That this House acknowledges the conclusions drawn in the report Tackling the Deficit: where next for road safety? by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety and the RAC Foundation on the importance of having a national strategy; notes the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s finding that countries with casualty reduction targets had 17 per cent lower fatalities than countries without targets; and calls on the Government to recognise this evidence by maintaining the UK’s commitment to this approach.
Transport Committee Inquiry – The Cost of Motor Insurance report launched
Date: March 11, 2011
“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 at http://bit.ly/fa9ZQL
This question was asked on week beginning 14th March:
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many individuals took the practical driving test in the last 10 years for which figures are available; and how many in each such year failed the number plate test and were required to be examined by the competent medical authority. 
Mike Penning: The number of individuals who have taken the practical driving test since April 2004 (the earliest date for which data available), and the number of those who failed to read the number plate and failed the eyesight test, are shown in the table.
|Total individuals||Individuals that failed the eyesight test|
If an eye sight test is failed, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) notifies the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency by faxing a D255 form on the day.
DSA does not know the number of candidates who were then required to be examined by a competent medical authority after the number plate test failure.
PACTS comments: The DVLA is currently holding a consultation on proposals to amend driving licence standards for vision, diabetes and epilepsy. It is proposed that the ‘number plate test’ which tests eyesight as part of the practical driving test should be amended, with the distance at which the number plate has to be read reduced. Opticians do not believe this test is sufficient and would like to see a formal eye examination with an authorised medical examiner imposed. This PQ illustrates that a small percentage of people regularly fail the test, though this does nothing to prove or disprove the effectiveness of the number plate test.
This question was asked on week beginning 7th March:
Railway Stations: Heating
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2011, Official Report, column 349W, on Network Rail: passengers, if he will assess the merits of introducing a duty to provide a warm waiting area at train stations as part of any future rail franchise agreements.
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has no plans to introduce such a duty. Reforms to the franchise process, such as longer franchises, will give franchisees better incentives for long-term investment in the stations.
PACTS comments: Issues such this will be considered in PACTS’ next research project – ‘Safer Mobility for an Ageing Population’. We expect to find that older people are discouraged from using public transport by a lack of facilities, such as having nowhere to sit whilst waiting or no public conveniences.
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