October 2012 PACTS Newsletter
Welcome to the October 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.
Please note there is a change of speaker for this event, Andrew Clayton will be replaced by Bo Lönegren. Mr Lönegren has worked for the Swedish Road Administration as a traffic engineer, both on a regional and a national level. In 2000 he became project coordinater and responsible for the introduction of Alcohol Ignition Interlock progams in Sweden.
23rd Westminster Lecture: Managing for Ambitious Road Safety Results
Event Date: 6pm November 28, 2012
Location: Church House, London
Jeanne Breen will give an international perspective on what works in road safety. It is well known that without effective action, road traffic injury will be a cause of serious health loss for men by 2030 and the leading cause of child death and injury by 2015. Jeanne, with her extensive knowledge of international best practice, will look at how to manage road safety outcomes and at how to improve road safety outcomes in Great Britain using international best practice.
PACTS appoints new Executive Director
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety has announced the appointment of David Davies to replace Robert Gifford as Executive Director when he leaves at the end of the year.
David is currently Committee Specialist to the Transport Committee of the House of Commons where he has helped with the inquiries into road safety, aviation strategy, High Speed Rail and bus competition. Prior to the House of Commons, he worked at the Audit Commission as an environmental services specialist. He has also been a policy officer at Birmingham City Council, worked for the consultants Allott & Lomax and Arup, and been an independent consultant including five years at TRL.
Speaking of his appointment, David said “I am very much looking forward to moving to PACTS, an organisation that has contributed so much to transport safety over its 30 year life. Although transport-related deaths have been reduced substantially over this period, there is still a great deal to do to make transport safe and to feel safe. As road users, airline and rail passengers, parents, residents and others, the public care very much about safety issues. There are some excellent people in the transport safety world and I am sure I will enjoy working with them. I will do my best to ensure that PACTS continues to bring experts, MPs, Peers and campaigners together to keep transport safety at the forefront of government policy.”
Welcoming his successor’s appointment, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS, said “I have worked with David in the House of Commons and know his commitment to improving transport in general and safety in particular. I am delighted that he has been willing to accept the post and know that he will bring energy and passion to the job.”
David will start at PACTS on the 26th November.
EC launches initiative to focus European research and innovation in transport
The European Commission has launched an initiative to coordinate and focus European research and innovation in transport. The aim is to speed up the deployment of new transport means and solutions to achieve a competitive and affordable European transport system. The definition of a set of roadmaps focusing on the deployment of technologies and innovation in 10 critical areas of transport will start in September 2012.
Welsh Draft Road Safety Delivery Plan
The Welsh Government has published for consultation a Draft Road Safety Delivery Plan with the closing date for comment of 13th December. At the heart of the document is the vision of “A continued reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured on Welsh roads with the ultimate goal of no fatalities in the future”. The document highlights the government aspiration to tackle avoidable deaths in a systematic way – a laudable aim.
The publication of this document also demonstrates the changing pattern and approach to road safety in the post-devolution context. Perhaps it is now time to review all the strategy documents to see which is the most effective.
Reducing the Drink Driving Limit in Scotland
The Scottish Government has published a consultation on reducing the drink driving limit in Scotland.
Transport Scotland’s Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2010 estimate that just over one in nine deaths each year on Scotland’s roads is the result of drink driving.
The Scottish Government is proposing:
A reduction in the blood limit from 80 milligrammes of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood to 50 milligrammes of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood
An (equivalent) reduction in the breath limit from 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath to 22 mcg of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of breath, and
An (equivalent) reduction in the urine limit from 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine to 67 mg of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of urine.
New Ministerial Team
The Government reshuffle has led to three new Ministers at the Department for Transport. Patrick McLoughlin is the new Secretary of State, Simon Burns Minister of State and Stephen Hammond Parliamentary Under Secretary. Stephen Hammond is responsible for road safety. A link to the Ministerial biographies can be found here.
New Results from Euro NCAP
The European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) has published the results of a new set of tests giving vehicles star ratings for safety. Particularly impressive is the five stars awarded to the new Volvo V40 with the highest rating yet for pedestrian protection. For a number of years, PACTS has been calling on car manufacturers to put as much attention into protecting those outside the vehicle as those within it. This high rating shows that, with commitment, car companies can achieve real results.
Pedalling towards Safety
The European Transport Safety Council has published a new report looking at cycling safety across Europe as part of the PIN project. The report draws attention to comparative performance in improving cycling safety and to the fact that cycling deaths have not fallen as fast as road deaths overall. The report also shows that, per billion vehicle kilometres cycled, Great Britain has the worst record among those countries collecting the data used to measure progress.
Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2011
Figures published by the Department for Transport show that there is no room for complacency as far as road safety is concerned. While Great Britain may be top of the international comparison chart in terms of deaths per million population, that is because others have done badly, not because Great Britain has done better.
Commenting on the figures published in Reported Road Casualties Great Britain, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, said “Of particular concern are the rise of 6% in car occupants and 10% in deaths on built-up roads. It is on these roads where vulnerable road users are most at risk. After years of progress in improving pedestrian safety on our towns and cities, we do not want to see this group suffer through cuts in road engineering or enforcement.
“It is also concerning to note the increase of 10% in casualties among cyclists going to and from work. Table 30021 gives a breakdown of casualties by hour and by day. Cycling casualties between 7am and 10am and 4pm and 7pm on Monday to Thursday have risen from 6,249 to 6,932. We must continue to make the commute to work a safer journey for cyclists, especially since this form of road use is rising.
“The new Secretary of State has identified that road safety remains a key priority for his department and for the government. These figures show him clearly why this should be so. For deaths to rise in the time of a recession and when traffic levels have remained broadly static suggests that our roads are becoming more dangerous for citizens rather than safer.”
Rail Safety Performance – July and August 2012
The Rail Safety and Standards Board has published the following:
Monthly SPAD Cat A and TPWS Report for July 2012
Reported Road Casualties Q1 2012
The Department for Transport has published Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: Provisional estimates Q1 2012.
Speed and Safety Evidence from published data
The number of drivers breaking the 30 mph speed limit has dropped by a third in twelve years. In 1998, 69% of cars on 30 mph roads were above the limit. By 2010 the figure had fallen to 46%. The reduction in the proportion of cars exceeding 35 mph has fallen even more sharply, by a half in nine years. In 2001, 32% of cars on 30 mph roads were travelling at more than 35 mph. By 2010 the figure was 16%.
The numbers are revealed in an analysis of speeds in free-flow traffic and accident rates by Dr Kit Mitchell. Speed and Safety: Evidence from published data is co-published by the RAC Foundation and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).
The report also shows that speeds on motorways have reduced too. The percentage of cars exceeding 70 mph fell from 57% in 2003 to 49% in 2010. Dr Mitchell notes that speed limit offences (fixed penalty notices, convictions in court and written warnings) in England and Wales have declined rapidly in the past few years after a large rise in the 1990s.
The State of our Streets
Living Streets, the national pedestrians’ charity, has published a report examining:
– what we mean by better streets
– who should be taking responsibility
– how to improve the state of our streets
Analysis of police collision files for pedestrian fatalities in London, 2006-10
This study analysed approximately 200 police fatal files where a pedestrian was killed in London in the period 2006-2010, with the overall aim of providing a better understanding of how fatal pedestrian collisions in London could be prevented.
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.
October 2012: The Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide has released a report that investigates the causes and contributing factors leading to young driver crashes. Based on the findings from this research, which used comprehensive information collected from in-depth crash investigations, a number of system-wide solutions were suggested to reduce both the incidence and severity of young driver crashes. They include in-vehicle technology such as intelligent speed adaptation, electronic stability control and collision avoidance systems, and improvements to the graduated licensing scheme such as passenger restrictions.
Bills and Acts
Consultation on Active Travel (Wales) Bill
PACTS responded to the consultation on the proposed bill to encourage more walking and cycling in Wales, by giving Welsh local authorities a duty to:
• identify and map the network of routes within their areas that are safe and appropriate for walking and cycling;
• identify and map the enhancements that would be required to create a fully integrated network for walking and cycling and develop a prioritised list of schemes to deliver the network;
• deliver an enhanced network subject to budget availability and following due process;
• consider the potential for enhancing walking and cycling provision in the development of new road schemes.
Click here to read PACTS’ response.
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 10th September:
Traffic Lights: Bicycles
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to make it easier for local authorities to introduce bike traffic lights at junctions. 
Norman Baker: We are currently taking forward plans to revise the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. New measures such as cycle traffic lights will be considered as part of the revision.
There are already ways of giving cyclists priority over other traffic and improving their safety at junctions, for example by introducing Advanced Stop Lines, cycle bypasses and providing segregated traffic signals for cyclists if required.
PACTS comments: PACTS welcomes measures to improve the road environment for cyclists. Each measure should be carefully thought out and planned, especially where unintended consequences could be risky. For example, it is possible to envisage a situation where bike traffic lights in the line of drivers’ sight cause a driver glancing up to mistakenly move off early. Therefore bike traffic lights should be carefully positioned.
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