March 2012 PACTS Newsletter

EVENTS
Aiming for Zero
Event Date: 9:30 am March 23, 2012
Location: One Drummond Gate, Victoria, London SW1V 2QQ
Member Price: £150.00
Non-member Price: £200.00
This conference will look at the challenges for road safety over the coming years if we are to seek to achieve a British version of Vision Zero. Although the current environment for casualty reduction may seem daunting, we need to look beyond this to sketch out what more we can achieve and what research evidence we have to make progress. This conference will begin to map out the direction we need to take.
NEWS
Think Biker campaign launched
A £1.2 million THINK! campaign urging drivers to see the person behind the motorcycle helmet was launched today by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning.
Modest improvement for global aviation safety in 2011
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announce a modest improvement for global aviation safety in 2012.
 
National Travel Survey GPS Pilot and Consultation
The DfT has published three reports on the fieldwork, data processing and summary analysis of the 2011 NTS GPS pilot. These are available at the bottom of the webpage at the link above.
Also published was a summary of the responses to the public consultation on the Future Design of the National Travel Survey.
STATISTICS
Rail Safety Performance – January 2012
The Rail Safety and Standards Board has published the following:
Overview of Safety Performance for 2011 is an update of ten years worth of calendar year data. It provides high-level safety performance on Great Britain’s mainline railway.
All current safety performance reports can be found on the RSSB website.
 
INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
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 website.
March 2012:  The New Zealand Transport Agency has launched a campaign to keep highway workers safe. The NZTA says in three years to October 2011, there were 183 reported near misses involving people driving dangerously beside motorway work sites. Similarly in this country the Highways Agency has identified this risk and produced a strategy for road worker safety.
 
PARLIAMENT
BILLS AND ACTS
 
Scotland Bill
The clause of the Scotland Bill regarding the power to prescribe drink-driving limits was debated in the House of Lords on the 28th February.
Road Safety (No. 3)
Date: February 24, 2012
Mr John Leech (Manchester, Withington) (LD):
SELECT COMMITTEE
Road Safety Inquiry
Read all the latest information on the ongoing inquiry into road safety at the link above.
MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
Mobility Scooters / Powered Wheelchairs
Date: March 1, 2012
DEBATES
Cycling
Adjournment Debate – Unlicensed and Uninsured Drivers
PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS
“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 here.
This question was asked on week beginning 6th February:
Driving: Older People
 
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether her Department has assessed the efficacy of (a) self-assessment and (b) the use of a compulsory medical assessment to determine the fitness to drive of older people. [93829]
Mike Penning: No formal assessment has been undertaken by the Department, on the efficacy of self-assessment or the use of compulsory medical reviews to determine the fitness to drive of older people, independent research and recent publications on the elderly and driving, report that there is no evidence that greater intervention had a positive effect on older driver road safety.
Each year around 70,000 medical investigations result from self declaration at age 70 and over. For those who declare that they have a medical condition, medical reports and appropriate medical and driving assessments are used to determine fitness to drive.
The declaration of whether a medical condition affecting driving fitness is present including confirmation that a number plate can be read from the appropriate distance, has proven to be effective.
The current medical licensing regime supports Great Britain having some of the safest roads in the world.
PACTS comments: Mr Penning is right in saying that there is no evidence that stricter licensing requirements for older drivers have a positive effect on road safety. Across Europe there are varying degrees of regulation, from Sweden (a world leader in road safety) where there are no older age-related restrictions, to Finland where regular medical check ups and licence renewals are compulsory. 
However, there is more that could be done to support older drivers in the UK. PACTS recommends that the government develop a course accreditation system or standard course for older drivers, which could be available throughout the country. An in-depth study of older drivers’ safety should be a foundation on which to develop the course. As a first step, the Department for Transport should create an index of the range of education and retraining courses aimed at older drivers currently offered around the country. 
 
PACTS will be publishing a report on safer mobility for an ageing population in March, entitled ‘It’s my choice’. 
Keep up to date on transport safety news on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pacts
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