October 2011 PACTS Newsletter
Booking for each of the following events is open on the PACTS website.
‘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
Reported Road Casualties 2010
Commenting on Reported Casualties Great Britain 2010 published today by the Department for Transport, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said “Obviously the continuing reduction in road deaths and injuries is welcome. This reflects the focus in Great Britain dating back to 1987 on reducing preventable death and suffering. This is an area where targets for reduction have led to a positive focus on policies that work. Targets with professional support in road safety have not distorted policy but have brought clear improvements.
“That said, there continue to be three areas of concern.
“The first is the reliability of data. As the DfT acknowledges, casualties reported to the police are almost certainly an underestimate of the real number of people injured. The good news of today should not breed a culture of complacency.
“Secondly, we should note the rise in cyclist deaths from 104 to 111 and, in particular, the third year rise in serious injuries from 2428 in 2007 to 2660 in 2010. We want to see more people cycling more safely. That is not the case at present.
“Thirdly, in the context of an ageing population, we need to make more progress in reducing risk to older road users. In 2010, one in four road deaths involved someone over 60. Our rate of progress for this age group is lower than for children or adult road users. We need to develop a strategy for older road user safety.
“Most notably in this age range, motorcyclist deaths have risen by 67%, KSI by 49% and all severities by 39% over the last decade. The older motorcyclist clearly deserves specific attention.”
RAIB report released – Summit Tunnel
The RAIB Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has released its report into a derailment in Summit Tunnel, near Todmorden, West Yorkshire. The RAIB has made five recommendations.
ORR seeks views on the Initial Industry Plan
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is seeking views on proposals made today by the rail industry on the future of Great Britain’s railways.
European Road Safety
ETSC press release: http://bit.ly/odxJEp
The European Parliament has published a report asking the Commission to do more for road safety. The report calls for action on:
– Improving road users’ training and behaviour
– Harmonising and enforcing road traffic rules
– Making road transport infrastructure safer
– Putting safer vehicles on the road
– Using modern technologies for vehicles, infrastructure and the emergency services
– Protecting vulnerable road users
The Cost of Motor Insurance
The government has responded to the Transport Committee’s report on the Cost of Motor Insurance. Though many issues are outside the remit of transport safety, such as the recommendations concerning referral fees, the response recognises that the most effective way of reducing costs of insurance is to reduce the number of road crashes. In this regard it refers to the government’s strategic framework for road safety, the PACTS response to which can be read here.
Behavioural Insights Team Annual Update
The Cabinet Office has published the first Annual Update report from the Behavioural Insights Team. The team’s objective is to support the government in finding ‘intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves’, and has worked with a number of departments on different policy areas over the last year. The document shows how the government’s use of nudge theory has been shaping policy.
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.
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.
The Uganda Road Sector Support Initiative website has published a report on the recently opened Northern Bypass (‘Northern Bypass turns into passage of death’). The article emphasises the difficulties for pedestrians caused by a lack of speed control measures and pedestrian crossings. It is stated that the road was part-funded by the EU.
“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.
This question was asked on week beginning 5th September:
Electric Vehicles: Visual Impairment
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) meetings and (b) representations (i) he and (ii) Ministers in his Department have had with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association on the audibility of (A) electric and (B) hybrid vehicles. 
Norman Baker: Departmental officials have had some correspondence with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to inform them of the start and publication of research the Department had commissioned on audibility and accident risk of hybrid and electric vehicles. Guide Dogs for the Blind also provided the Department with guidelines they had developed for artificial sound for hybrid and electric vehicles.
I have recently received a request from Richard Leaman, chief executive of Guide Dogs for the Blind for a meeting to discuss the results of research conducted by TRL on this issue and will be responding shortly.
PACTS comments: The commissioned research Mr Baker refers to is available online here. It found that electric vehicles pose a potential risk to visually impaired pedestrians, particularly in urban areas where background noise may make it difficult to hear the vehicles. Additionally, vehicles travelling at a slower speed are harder to hear, as tyre/road noise is not the dominant noise source. Therefore when developing artificial sound for the vehicles, it will be important to consider the road environment.
Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors
Workplace Ergonomics and Productivity
26th – 27th October 2011
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