PQs 12th – 20th Dec 2011

Driving Under Influence: Costs
 
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate her Department has made of the average cost to the public purse of a single drink-drive (a) offence and conviction, (b) offence and conviction involving a serious injury and (c) offence and conviction involving a death. [87325]
Mike Penning: My Department is currently finalising with the Ministry of Justice and Home Office the costs to the judicial system and the police used in its assessments of legal changes related to drink-drive offences and convictions.
The average values of preventing road casualties in 2009 were £1,585,510 for a fatality, £178,160 for a serious injury and £13,740 for a slight (ie lesser) injury. These values include costs related to the emergency services and the health service, as well as wider economic and social costs.
PACTS comments: The total value of prevention of reported road accidents in 2009 was estimated to be £15.8 billion. Allowing for accidents not reported to the police gives an estimate of £30 billion. ETSC (European Transport Safety Council – http://bit.ly/vaOaIk) estimate that the total value to society of the reduction in road deaths in EU27 over the years 2002 – 2010 compared with 2001 is 176 billion euro. Unfortunately, Penning is unable to give the legal costs – this question should be asked of the Secretary of State for Justice. 
Roads: Accidents
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries have occurred on roads in Pendle constituency in the last 12 months. [85753]
Mike Penning: In the 2010 calendar year (the latest period for which information is available), one person was killed and 34 were seriously injured in reported road accidents in the Pendle parliamentary constituency.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of staged car accidents in the latest period for which figures are available; and what estimate has been made of the effects of such accidents on (a) car insurance premiums and (b) other costs to motorists. [85754]
Mike Penning: The Department has made no estimate of the number of staged car accidents, or the effect of such accidents on motor insurance premiums and other costs to motorists.
Detecting such incidents is largely for the insurance industry who set up the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) to detect and prevent organised fraud. The industry has also agreed to fund a specialist insurance fraud police unit due to go live by January 2012.
Buses: Licensing
 
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) on how many occasions the traffic commissioners have granted or renewed PCV licences to people who have subsequently been found not to have fully declared their criminal records in the most recent period for which figures are available; [85751]
(2) on how many occasions the traffic commissioners revoked people’s passenger carrying vehicle licences on the grounds that at the time of original application or application for renewal they had not fully declared their criminal records in the most recent period for which figures are available. [85871]
Mike Penning: The traffic commissioners decisions are not held centrally or by reason and currently could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. I have, however, asked my officials to look into the feasibility of holding these decisions centrally in the future.
 
Driving Under Influence: Rehabilitation
 
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average cost to the public purse was of participation by an individual on a drink-drive rehabilitation course in the latest period for which figures are available; and what estimate she has made of the likely savings to the public purse which could be made if proposals that there will be more than one provider of drink-drive rehabilitation courses in each region were implemented. [86734]
Mike Penning: The cost to the Driving Standards Agency of administering and quality assuring the Drink Driver Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS) in 2009-10 was £140,000. 29,400 offenders completed a DDRS course resulting in an average cost per offender of £4.76.
The current Driving Standards Agency consultation on revised arrangements for DDRS includes the adoption of the ‘user pays’ principle. This will transfer the cost of accrediting and quality assuring DDRS from the public purse to the offender. Whether there are multiple or single course providers in any area will have no effect on the sum transferred.
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the reoffending rates were for offenders who undertook a drink-drive rehabilitation course in a region with (a) a single provider and (b) multiple providers of such courses in the latest period for which figures are available. [86735]
Mike Penning: No data have been gathered that would allow us to identify whether there is a difference in the reoffending rates between those areas with a single rehabilitation course provider and those with multiple course providers.
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the number of deaths that have been prevented by the introduction of the drink-drive rehabilitation scheme. [86779]
Mike Penning: It is not possible to specifically attribute any part of the reduction in death rates on the road to the introduction of the drink-drive rehabilitation scheme.
We are satisfied that drink-drive rehabilitation schemes are effective. Transport Research Laboratory research in 2004 reported that offenders who had not attended a course were 2.6 times more likely to have been convicted of a subsequent drink-drive offence when compared with those who had attended a course.
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely effects on reoffending rates of her proposed changes to the drink-drive rehabilitation scheme. [87323]
Mike Penning: The Driving Standards Agency consultation “New approval arrangements for Drink Drive Rehabilitation courses” was issued on 9 November 2011. One of the aims of the proposals it contains is that they will create better quality courses that will encourage more offenders to take advantage of the training in order to reduce the likelihood of them reoffending.
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely factors an offender would take into account in choosing between providers in an area with more than one provider of drink-drive rehabilitation courses. [87324]
Mike Penning: Where an offender has a choice between the offerings of two or more drink-drive rehabilitation course providers, it is assumed that the key factors that will determine which course is chosen will be convenience (in terms of the location of the course and its timing) and the overall cost of attending the course (the course fee, travel costs and any loss of income or leisure time incurred by the offender).
All approved courses are required to offer provision to a specified standard and will be monitored against that standard.
 
Drug Screening Technology: Police Stations
 
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to her Department’s Structural Reform Monthly Implementation Plan, what progress has been made on work with the Home Office to authorise the use of drug screening technology in police stations. [86584]
Mike Penning [holding answer 13 December 2011]:As indicated in the November monthly implementation report about the DFT Structural Reform Plan, authorisation of drug screening technology depends on the type approval of individual devices by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. This is given only following operational and laboratory tests of the devices against the type approval specification. Operational tests have been completed.
In the light of the closure next year of the Forensic Science Service (FSS), new arrangements are required for the laboratory tests and the Home Office is putting these into place as quickly as technically possible.
Driving Under Influence
 
Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the relative standards of professional conduct of providers of drink-drive rehabilitation courses in (a) single provider and (b) multi-provider areas. [87769]
Mike Penning: The Driving Standards Agency’s audits have shown that the current quality of drink-driver rehabilitation courses is variable with some providers failing to follow the guidance on running courses. The audits did not highlight any difference between the professional conduct of course providers when comparing single with multiple provider areas.
Driving Under Influence: Convictions
 
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking with the Ministry of Justice in respect of the sharing of data on drink-driving convictions between the police, courts and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. [87494]
Mike Penning: My review of court notifications to the DVLA identified inconsistent and missing alcohol levels for some drink driving convictions. Immediate changes to IT systems and working practices have been put in place to address the problem. The DVLA, the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office continue to work together to obtain missing alcohol level data to ensure that anyone regarded as a high risk offender undergoes the necessary medical assessment.
Level Crossings
John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many user worked railway crossings are in use; and how many have (a) closed and (b) been converted to automatic barriers in the last 20 years. [87662]
Mrs Villiers: This information is not held by the Department for Transport. Management of level crossings is an operational matter for the relevant railway infrastructure manager, which for the majority of Britain’s railway system is Network Rail. As part of their safety management system, Network Rail assess risks at level crossings and consider whether closure or upgrading of protection is appropriate.
Level Crossings: Accidents
 
John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) road traffic accidents and (b) fatalities have been reported at user worked railway crossings in the last 10 years. [87661]
Mrs Villiers: This information is not held by the Department for Transport. Safety Statistics for Railways are available on the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) website at:
www.rssb.co.uk
In addition, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), as the independent health and safety regulator of Britain’s railways, reports annually on safety performance, including at level crossings. The hon. Member may wish to contact the ORR for further information at the following address:
Office of Rail Regulation
One Kemble Street
London
WC2B 4AN
Roads: Safety
 
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to section 30 of the Coalition Agreement, what progress she has made in bringing forward proposals to promote road safety. [87498]
Mike Penning: By transferring the road safety grant to the revenue support grant, we have given local authorities greater flexibility to implement the local transport and road safety measures they and their local communities consider are needed. Most local authorities have published information about speed cameras, to improve transparency, following a Government announcement in June 2011.
We are switching to more effective ways of making our roads safer, having published a strategic framework for road safety in May 2011. This includes action to enable better enforcement against careless and drunk drivers, improvements to education and more training.
The authorisation of drug screening technology depends on the type approval of individual devices by the Secretary of State for the Home Department. This is given only following operational and laboratory tests of the devices against the type approval specification. Operational tests have been completed. New arrangements are required for the laboratory tests and the Home Office is putting these into place as quickly as technically possible.
Motor Vehicles: Lighting
 
Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in how many accidents have poorly adjusted headlamps of oncoming vehicles been a contributory factor in each of the last five years. [85675]
Mike Penning: The requested information is not collected by the Department. However, Table 1 shows the number of reported personal injury road accidents in Great Britain which had (i) “defective lights or indicators” or (ii) “dazzling headlights” recorded as a contributory factor, over the period 2006 to 2010. It is not possible to identify whether poorly adjusted headlamps of oncoming vehicles contributed to these accidents.
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.
Table 1: Reported personal injury road accidents (1) by selected contributory factors, Great Britain 2006 to 2010
Number of accidents (1) with the following contributory factors attributed to the accident
(i) Defective lights or indicators (ii) Dazzling headlights

2006

256

483

2007

226

417

2008

208

415

2009

182

365

2010

174

300

(1 )Includes only accidents where a police officer attended the scene and in which a contributory factor was reported

 

Roads: Fatal Accidents

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish details of the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by drivers aged between 17 and 24 and by those aged over 70; and what was the accident rate in both cases.[HL14142]

Earl Attlee: Information that explicitly identifies the cause of accidents is not held by the Department for Transport. However information on factors which, in the opinion of the reporting police officer at the time of attendance, may have contributed to the accident is held by the department and is available from the following address: http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/road-accidents-and-safety-annual-report-2010.

The table below shows the number of reported killed or seriously injured casualties in road accidents involving a motor vehicle driver, and the estimated rate of involvement, for drivers aged 17 to 24 or 70 and above in Great Britain for 2010.

Driver age (years)
17-24 70+

Reported killed or seriously injured casualties in road accidents involving a motor vehicle driver, in 2010

6,758

2,065

Estimated number of motor vehicle drivers involved in fatal or serious accidents per 100,000 driving licence holders, in 2010

129

44

 

 

Cyclists
 
Question
Asked by Lord Laird
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the current road traffic rules governing cyclists are adequate and are being applied in full; and, if not, what proposals they have to change them.[HL14042]
Earl Attlee: We currently have no plans to amend the rules pertaining to cyclists in the Highway Code. With regards to cycling offences, the enforcement is an operational matter for the police, and we support any action taken by the police to deter and reduce the number of cycling offences.
Cycling
 
Question
Asked by Lord Laird
 
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the regulations governing the use of bicycles on public roads requires updating; whether they propose to make such changes; and, if so, when.[HL14195]
Earl Attlee: The Government will be announcing the outcomes from the Red Tape Challenge with regards to cycling regulations shortly.
Cyclists: Helmets
 
Question
Asked by Lord Laird
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 1 December (WA 90) concerning the wearing of helmets by cyclists, why, given that helmets can reduce the chances of death and serious injury, they will not make the wearing of helmets mandatory.[HL14040]
Earl Attlee: We have no plans to mandate the use of cycle helmets. Helmets offer cyclists protection in a limited number of circumstances and, as such, whilst we encourage their use through the Highway Code we believe the decision on whether to wear a helmet should remain a matter of individual choice. In addition, mandating the use of helmets could lead to a reduction in overall cycling levels, resulting in the loss of the significant health benefits derived from cycling.
Transport: Certificates of Professional Competence
 
Question
Asked by Lord Willoughby de Broke
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the cost of acquiring the Certificate of Professional Competence required of all drivers of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes under European Union regulation 1071/2009.[HL14273]
Earl Attlee: The current one-off cost of taking the International Certificate of Professional Competence examination for road haulage and road passenger transport operations is £125.80.
Historically, the examinations were run by only one examining body. However, the department has changed its policy, to allow other properly qualified bodies to also hold their own examination. Hopefully, increasing competition in this way will put further downward pressure on costs.
Transport: Vehicles over 3.5 Tonnes
 
Question
Asked by Lord Willoughby de Broke
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they are applying European Union regulation 1071/2009 to all drivers of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, when it is stated in clause 6 of that regulation that “it is unnecessary to include within the scope of this Regulation undertakings which only perform transport operations with a very small impact on the transport market”.[HL14272]
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport does not apply operator licensing to all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
The Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995 lists 29 types of goods vehicle or operation (both hire and reward and own account) that are exempt from the requirements of operator licensing.
However, the law allowing an exemption to a class of goods hire or reward operation is at Article 1(5) of the regulation. This requires the exemption to be for national operations only and have only a minor impact on the transport market because of:
The nature of the goods carried; or The short distances involved.
Blanket exemptions to particular classes of vehicle are not permitted unless there is sufficient evidence that it fully satisfies all these requirements.
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