PQs 17th – 21st Oct 2011

Roads: Safety
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contribution she expects the UK to make to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020; and if she will make a statement. [75231]
Mike Penning: The UK’s contribution to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-20 was set out in the Strategic Framework for Road Safety launched on 11 May 2011 as part of our launch of the Decade of Action. The UK is a world leader in road safety and the framework and associated actions demonstrate our commitment to contribute to the further reduction in road deaths envisaged globally by the UN.
Roads: Accidents
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many repatriations following injury of British citizens took place as a result of road accidents in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010 and (e) 2011 to date, by country; and what the total cost to the public purse was of such repatriations in each such year by country. [75084]
Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has an electronic database used to record our individual consular case handling. However, the database does not capture the specific statistics requested.
Thailand: Roads
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials of his Department have had with the Government of Thailand on road safety; and what assessment his Department has made of road safety in that country. [75086]
Mr Bellingham: Our ambassador to Thailand raised road safety with the new Thai Transport Minister ACM Sukumpol on 28 September. Consular officials in Thailand regularly raise this issue in meetings with the relevant Thai authorities. Our travel advice
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/thailand
highlights the risks of road travel in Thailand.
PACTS comments:  The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety reminds us of the UK’s responsibility as a world leader in road safety to encourage and enable road safety improvements in other countries. These improvements will not only benefit local populations, but also UK citizens when they are abroad. 
Blue Badge Scheme
Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will introduce fixed-term blue badges for people who have a temporary disability following an accident. [74636]
Norman Baker: I recognise the case made for assisting those with severe short-term mobility problems, but have to weigh this against the consequences of an extension to the Blue Badge scheme on existing disabled badge holders and on the local authorities who administer and enforce the scheme. I am currently considering the costs and benefits of a number of possible approaches to this issue and I will make a decision on it later this year.
Large Goods Vehicles: Accidents
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorcyclists have (a) incurred injuries and (b) been killed in a road traffic accident involving a heavy goods vehicle in each of the last five years. [73089]
Mike Penning: The number of motorcyclists injured in reported personal injury road accidents involving heavy goods vehicles in Great Britain, in each of the last five years is given in the following table:

Reported motorcyclist casualties in personal injury road accidents invol ving heavy goods vehicles in GB, 2006- 1 0
Injured (1) Killed

2006

470

55

2007

478

49

2008

422

51

2009

355

31

2010

325

32

(1) Includes serious and slight injuries.
Roads: Motor Vehicles
 
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment has been made through roadside checks of levels of compliance with legal requirements relating to weights, condition of vehicles and driver’s hours; and how often roadside checks are carried out. [73959]
 
Mike Penning: In addition to its routine targeted checks of heavy vehicles that the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) conducts, it conducts specific roadside checks to determine compliance levels. These are conducted every second year for each type of vehicle.
The latest results (2010) are summarised as follows—showing the percentage of vehicles that were found compliant—ie offences were not found.

Percentage
Vehicle condition
Vehicle Trailer Traffic—including drivers’ hours and weight

GB HGV

75.7

79.3

85.3

Non-GB HGV

70.3

65.9

83.6

VOSA conducted the following number of targeted roadside checks in the last three years;

Number

2010-11(1)

276,124

2009-10

313,625

2008-09

225,410

(1) Figures are taken from VOSA’s draft 2010-11 Effectiveness report which will be published shortly. Older versions are available from http://www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/publications/corporatereports/corporatereports.htm
Please note VOSA holds data on the number of tests rather than the number of vehicles, vehicles can be tested for more than one item at the roadside.
Large Goods Vehicles
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations she has received from (a) cycling organisations, (b) road safety organisations and (c) individuals on potential changes to legislation governing the length of heavy goods vehicles. [73263]
 
Mike Penning: Details of the categories of respondents to the consultation on increasing the length of semi-trailers are in Section 1.3 of the Government’s response, available on the Department for Transport website at:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2011-06
Since the consultation closed the Department has received further representations relating to cycling and road safety.
These representations were taken into account in my decision to launch a 10-year trial of 1800 longer semi-trailers, and to appoint an independent consultant to monitor that trial.
Crossrail
Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the cost of ensuring that Crossrail is compliant with the Railway (Interoperability) Regulations 2006. [75916]
Mrs Villiers: The Crossrail project is being delivered by Crossrail Ltd on behalf of the Department and its co-sponsor, Transport for London. Crossrail Ltd’s cost and risk assessments take account of all of its legal obligations, including compliance with the Railway (Interoperability) Regulations 2006.
Cycling: Accidents
Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate her Department has made of the number of traffic accidents involving cyclists (a) wearing and (b) not wearing high-visibility clothing in the latest period for which figures are available. [75866]
 
Mike Penning: In 2010, there were 17,604 reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one pedal cyclists in Great Britain. The number of these accidents involving cyclists wearing or not wearing high-visibility clothing is not collected.
However, under the STATS19 system, the Department collects information on reported injury road accidents where ‘cyclist wearing dark clothing at night’ was reported as a contributory factor to the accident by the attending police officer. The number of personal injury road accidents with this contributory factor for 2010 in Great Britain can be found in Table RAS50001 (Contributory factor article) of Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2010. A copy of this table can be found using the following link:
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/ras50001.xls
Please note that contributory factors are reported only for injury road accidents where a police officer attended the scene and reported at least one contributory factor. These factors are largely subjective, reflecting the attending officer’s opinion at the time of reporting. It is recognised that subsequent inquires could lead to the reporting officer changing his/her opinion.
It is important to note that it may be difficult for a police officer, attending the scene after an accident has occurred, to identify certain contributory factors.
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations she has received on the future of local DVLA offices; and if she will make a statement. [73874]
Mike Penning [holding answer 12 October 2011]:Since 1 June, the Department has received 11 letters concerning the future of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s local offices.
No decisions on the way forward have yet been taken. Any proposals involving changes to the way face to face services are operated would be the subject of discussion with stakeholders.
Driving under Influence: Drugs
Joseph Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps she is taking to raise awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs. [75542]
Mike Penning: The Department has run a number of campaigns on the dangers of drug driving in the past and is currently developing its future marketing plans. As part of the THINK! road safety campaign, there is a website at:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/think/drugdrive/
which raises awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs including legal and personal consequences, as well as how drugs impair driving. Communication materials can be downloaded from the website or ordered separately for use by road safety professionals and teachers.
Joseph Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations she has received on proposals to (a) introduce roadside drug testing devices and (b) increase sentences on people found guilty of driving whilst under the influence of drugs; [75543]
(2) if she will meet the family of Lillian Groves to discuss their campaign to introduce roadside drug testing devices and increase sentences on people found guilty of driving whilst under the influence of drugs. [75544]
 
Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), has not received any representations related to drug driving. I have received a number of representations on proposals to introducing drink and drug testing devices. The Government in their response to the North review committed to introduce a range of measures to combat drug driving including approving preliminary drug testing equipment initially in the police station and at the roadside as soon as possible.
I will be happy to meet the family of Lillian Groves, to discuss their proposals.
Driving: Licensing
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many reviews of a driver’s licence were initiated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency due to receiving information from a third party concerning a present licence holder’s competence. [75694]
Mike Penning: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency acts on third party notifications when a person’s ability to drive safely has been called into question due to a medical condition. The latest figures available show that, in 2010, the DVLA carried out investigations into 10,740 drivers’ records as a result of receiving such notifications.
Motorways: Speed Limits
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the potential effects of the proposed increase in the motorway speed limit on the level of (a) slight injuries, (b) serious injuries and (c) fatalities occurring as a result of accidents on motorways. [75876]
Mike Penning: The potential effects on casualties will be included in the assessment of all the principal effects of raising the national speed limit on motorways and we will include the figures as part of the documentation for the consultation planned for later this year.
Roads: Accidents
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will visit an accident and emergency department to discuss with medical staff the extent of injuries caused in crashes involving vehicles driven at speed. [75874]
Mike Penning: I am well aware of the extent of injuries that can occur. The Department for Transport is committed to a raft of measures to improve road safety, which are set out in the framework published in May 2011: our vision is to ensure that Britain remains a world leader on road safety.
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on the (a) cost and (b) effect on privacy and liberty of the European Commission’s recent recommendation on eCall. [75909]
 
Mike Penning: There have been no recent discussions between the Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening) and her EU counterparts on the European Commission’s recent Recommendation on eCall.
An Explanatory Memorandum on the Commission’s Recommendation on eCall was laid before Parliament on 28 September.
Bus Services: Disability
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the proportion of buses which have flat level access for disabled passengers. [75643]
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport continues to work to improve physical accessibility to public transport. The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) require all new buses and coaches used to provide local or scheduled services and designed to carry more than 22 passengers to be accessible to disabled passengers.
All existing buses and coaches used to provide local or scheduled services will then have to comply with PSVAR by end dates between 2015 and 2020, depending on vehicle type. At March 2011, 60% of all buses in Great Britain had been issued with a PSVAR accessibility certificate and a further 25% had low floor access but did not hold a PSVAR certificate.
Public Transport: Concessions
Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many concessionary travel pass holders are registered disabled; and how many such persons used their passes in the latest period for which figures are available. [75864]
 
Norman Baker: The Department is not responsible for issuing concessionary bus passes and so does not maintain records of how many passes are held by concessionaires who are registered disabled.
The Department has no information about how many eligible disabled people used their concessionary bus pass in the latest period for which data are available.
Transport: Coaches
Question
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the coach concessionary travel scheme costs; and what analysis they have made of the impact of removing this scheme on (a) the ability of disabled people and people over 60 to travel by coach, and (b) the frequency and ticket price of existing coach services.[HL12267]
Earl Attlee: In 2009, Government paid £16.9 million to coach operators who offered half price travel to eligible disabled and people over 60.
A regulatory impact assessment relating to the ending of the BSOG coach concession in England will be published on the Department for Transport website and a copy placed in the Library of the House when the regulations which end the scheme come into effect.
Following the 2010 spending review announcement, National Express said it was already planning for the removal of the coach concessionary fares scheme in October 2011 and would announce new products aimed at the over-60s and disabled travellers in due course. National Express said that it believed the financial impact of the scheme’s removal was manageable and would be mitigated by its own plans.
Cyclists: Accidents
Question
Asked by Lord Bradshaw
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Atlee on 4 October (WA 206), and in the light of the 7 per cent rise in cyclist deaths in 2010, what change to the number of cyclist deaths they estimate will occur due to the introduction of longer heavy goods vehicles; and what is the estimated annual cost of (a) the change in the number of fatalities, and (b) the change in the number of accidents.[HL12268]
Earl Attlee: The Government have just published their response to the consultation on the use of longer semi-trailers, including a revised impact assessment which takes account of additional information provided in the course of the consultation. The impact assessment does not disaggregate the fatality risk between different categories of road user.
The revised impact assessment indicates that the trial of these vehicles should result in a marginal reduction in accidents and fatalities, and the associated costs.
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