August 2012 PACTS Newsletter

Welcome to the August newsletter.
Driving While Impaired
Event Date: 10:00 am October 16, 2012
Location: One Wimpole Street London W1G 0AE
Despite the progress in reducing drink-driving, around 14% of road deaths involve a driver over the legal limit. The scale of driving while under the influence of illegal drugs is also likely to be greater than currently known. This conference will bring together a range of speakers to identify the ways forward to reduce these deaths further. Join us for a lively debate on these perenially important issues.
Tispol Conference 2012
Event date: October 2 and 3, 2012
Location: Edinburgh
At the TISPOL Conference, you will hear the current thinking and developments in road safety and enforcement from across Europe and beyond. There will also be a selection of road safety and enforcement exhibitors displaying their products and willing to offer advice and assistance in relation to their potential solutions.
UCL Politics and transport seminar series
Event date: Monday, September 10, 2012 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Location: UCL, London
Forthcoming statistics
Please note that the following statistics will be published by the Department for Transport on the 16th August:
Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Provisional estimates Q1 2012
Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2011 provisional estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels
Refer to the PACTS website on the day for analysis and comment.
Annual Report on Rail Safety
The Office of Rail Regulation has published its annual report on Health and Safety on British Railways. This shows that the overall level of safety has continued to improve with the risk of passenger harm at its lowest level ever.
Commenting on the report, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS, said “This shows the continuing commitment of the rail sector to improving safety while passenger numbers rise. We now need to adopt a similar approach to reducing risk on the roads”.
Consultation on Road Safety Action Plan for London: 2020
Transport for London has launched a consultation on its Road Safety Action Plan for London. The Action Plan proposes to establish a new target to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in London by 40 per cent by 2020. The consultation document proposes 70 actions designed to reduce road casualties and to improve perceptions of road safety in London.
Consultation on Future of Rail Delivery Group
The Office of Rail Regulation has announced a consultation on the future structure of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG). The RDG was set up as a result of the McNulty Review of the railways and has been running on an informal basis since November 2011.
Lower Drink Drive Limit in Northern Ireland
The Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland is currently consulting over a lower limit for drink driving in Northern Ireland. The new limit would be set at 50mg for drivers and at 20mg for novice, learner and professional drivers. There would also be new powers for the police to establish roadside testing of drivers without the need for suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Investment in Rail Network
The government has announced a major investment in the rail network during the next High Level Output Specification (HLOS) period commencing in 2014. Details of the proposals can be found via the link to the DfT website. PACTS welcomes this expansion of the network as a way of encouraging further travel by what is already a very safe mode of transport.
Speed Limits
The Department for Transport has published a consultation document on setting local speed limits. The aim of the guidance is to provide information to local authorities on setting speed limits and making the use of 20mph more widespread.
A330 Crash June 2009
The French Bureau of Investigations and Analysis has published its report into the crash of the Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on 1 June 2009. The report identifies that the crash was caused by a combination of faulty sensors and mistakes by inadequately trained pilots. It also raises wider concerns about the level of training provided for pilots flying hi-tech planes faced with a high altitude crisis.
Rail Safety Performance 
The Rail Safety and Standards Board has published the following:
Healthy transport = healthy lives
Date: July 13, 2012
The British Medical Association published a second report on health and transport, Healthy Lives = Healthy People. The report urges the government to further integrate health into transport policy in an attempt to reduce the harmful effects of transport on health.
Physical activity
Date: July 16, 2012
The Lancet published a series on physical activity, showing that two thirds of adults in the UK fail to do the recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week. The aim of the series is to encourage everyone to build physical activity into their daily lives, for example by walking and cycling to get from A to B.
As well as encouraging and supporting the sharing of Britain’s expertise and knowledge, PACTS is committed to using the Decade of Action for Road Safety 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.
August 2012: On 12 July 2012, it was exactly 50 years from the date on which SWOV (Institute for Road Safety Research, the Netherlands) was founded. To celebrate the event, all SWOV-publications from 1962 until the present day have been made available online. These are not only the SWOV reports, which usually have an English summary, but also all issues of Research Activities that appeared from March 1994 until December 2011.
“We are not the kind of organization that chooses to have a spectacular celebration, but we do indeed consider it a memorable occasion”, says SWOV’s managing director Fred Wegman. “Over the years, we have gathered an incredible amount of road safety knowledge on the basis of scientific research. SWOV will continue its efforts to ensure that this knowledge is put to good use with fewer road casualties as a result.”
Select Committees
Road Safety Inquiry – Report
Date: July 18, 2012
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety welcomed the publication of the report from the Transport Select Committee of the House of Commons into road safety. Commenting on the report, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS, said “Just over a year after the publication of the government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety and following the first rise in road deaths since 2003 and in serious injuries since 1994, it is time to take stock of how we are doing in road safety.
“Rightly, the government has set itself the challenge to be a world leader in road safety. The question is whether the policies being followed help to achieve that aspiration.
“In its report, the Committee has highlighted the lack of leadership being given to the road safety profession by the current government. The current government seems more committed to reducing the deficit than it does to cutting deaths and injuries. Yet, as Mr Penning has said, the success of his time as road safety Minister will be demonstrated in further reductions in deaths and injuries.
“The figures for 2011 show that there is no room for complacency with regard to road safety policy and activity. As we review the framework, we also need to develop a British version of Vision Zero, developing both an appropriate philosophy for improving safety and the means to achieve it.”
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 9th July:
Roads: Accidents
Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the reasons for the increase in the number of people killed (a) by cars and (b) in road accidents between 2010 and 2011. [115950]
Mike Penning: The number of people killed as a result of a collision involving a car rose by 7% in Great Britain, from 1,117 in 2010 to 1,196 in 2011. Numbers of people killed in a road accident rose by 3% in Great Britain, from 1,850 in 2010 to 1,901 in 2011.
Since 2003, deaths in road accidents have fallen steadily, and 2010 saw the highest ever fall (17%) in a single year. Despite the increase in fatalities in 2011 the annual total is below that of 2009, and is indeed the second lowest figure since the end of the First World War.
There are a number of factors that may have contributed to the year-on-year increase in road fatalities from 2010 to 2011. However, there is evidence that extreme winter weather conditions tend to reduce the number of road fatalities, as there is much less traffic than usual and those motorists who do venture out tend to drive more slowly and cautiously.
In this context it is particularly notable that there were two separate periods of sustained snow and ice across many areas of Great Britain during 2010 (one at the beginning of the year, one at the end), but no such periods on a comparable scale during 2011. This year-on-year difference would be expected to lead to a higher number of fatalities in the winter months of 2011 than in the winter months of 2010, holding all other factors equal.
The statistics bear this out: during the four winter months of 2011 (January, February, November and December) there were 81 more road fatalities than in the same months of 2010. During the remaining eight months of the year (March to October inclusive), which were not affected by extreme winter weather, there were 30 fewer fatalities in 2011 than in 2010.
PACTS comments: As Mr Penning was unable to be present for Transport Questions on the day the headline figures for Reported Road Casualties 2011 were published, this is the first opportunity for MPs to question the Road Safety Minister about the rise in the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads in 2011. Here Penning offers an explanation for the increase. 
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