PQs 10th – 13th Sept

This week new ministers in the Department for Transport have been allocated their brief.
Stephen Hammond takes over from Mike Penning on road safety.
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. [120595]
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.  

 

Driving Offences: Insurance
Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps he has taken to tackle uninsured vehicles. [119284]
Stephen Hammond: The information requested is as follows:
(a) The number of uninsured vehicles in Great Britain has fallen to 1.2 million from 1.4 million in 2010 due to a combination of police enforcement activity (better detection through automatic number plate recognition equipment and seizure of uninsured vehicles) as well as the continuous insurance enforcement scheme.
(b) Since June 2011, action has been taken against those who keep a vehicle without insurance, known as the continuous insurance enforcement scheme. At 31 August 2012, 177,086 fixed penalty notices had been issued to registered keepers and 834 cases successfully prosecuted.
We are also working with the insurance industry to allow it access to DVLA driver details on penalty points and disqualifications to help tackle fraud. The Government is concerned that the rising cost of insurance may tempt motorists to drive without insurance and is working closely with the insurance industry on measures which will help reduce premiums. An industry summit was held on 2 May on the cost of insurance and follow-up work is in progress.
Roads: Barnsley
Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorists were (a) killed and (b) seriously injured in sleep-related road traffic accidents in Barnsley Central since May 2010. [120588]
 
Stephen Hammond: The number of persons killed or seriously injured in reported personal injury road accidents where “Fatigue” was a contributory factor since May 2010 in the Yorkshire and the Humber region are as follows:
May 2010 to December 2010: five killed and 13 seriously injured; and
January 2011 to December 2011: five killed and 25 seriously injured.
The figures include all road user casualties including pedestrians, pedal cyclists, motorcyclists and all other road users.
Data for 2012 will be available in June 2013. This data is not broken down below regional level since the number of accidents is small and therefore it may be possible to identify the individuals involved in an accident.
Motorways: Repairs and Maintenance
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people repairing motorways have been killed or injured by vehicles in each of the last five years. [120374]
 
Stephen Hammond: The following table sets out the fatal and serious injuries from vehicle related incidents which have been recorded on the motorway and trunk road network in England which is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Transport.
  
Fatality Serious injury

2007

0

0

2008

0

2

2009

0

0

2010

2

4

2011

0

1

For slight injuries, the data currently available include all contractor injuries (i.e. not just those involving vehicles):
Slight injury

2007

29

2008

54

2009

75

2010

47

2011

46

The data above are supplied by the contractors working for the Highways Agency.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has assessed the potential cost and safety benefits of the use of a traffic cone and laying system such as Conemaster on motorways in the UK. [120378]
Stephen Hammond: In response to a request from the previous Minister for Roads, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), a detailed independent review of the costs and benefits of using Conemaster was carried out by the Highways Agency during late 2011/early 2012. A report has been provided to all interested parties. A copy will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
The Conemaster system is a semi-automatic cone placement and retrieval system produced by Jordan Products Ltd. The purposes of Conemaster are to speed up the placement and removal of traffic cones and to reduce the risk of injury and death to roadworkers by reducing the need for them to set foot on live carriageways during temporary lane closures.
The independent report concluded that the estimated benefits of Conemaster vary from a benefits to costs ratio (BCR) of 0.29 (pessimistic) to 2.06 (central) and 2.69 (optimistic). This information has been provided to all contractors in the supply chain of the Highways Agency.
The success or otherwise of the Jordan Products Ltd machine depends on the business model applied and the safety benefits achievable from its use, as assessed by the competent people within the service providers who manage the HA network on behalf of the Secretary of State. It has always been made clear to Jordan Products Ltd that the Highways Agency cannot get directly involved in supporting the development of Conemaster or mandate the use of the Conemaster on the agency’s network.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance 
 
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with the Highways Agency ensuring that its contractors use a traffic cone and laying system such as Conemaster. [120379]
Stephen Hammond: The Highways Agency has carried out an independent review of the costs and benefits of using Conemaster, following discussions between the previous Minister for Roads, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), the inventor of the machine (Mr Alan Jordan) and his constituency MP, the hon. Member for South Antrim (Dr McCrea). The results show that the benefits-to-costs ratio at mid range is 2.06. This information has been provided to all parties and communicated to the agency’s contractors in its supply chain. It has been made clear to Mr Jordan in various meetings and in correspondence that it is for the companies in the agency’s supply chain to consider the benefits of using such a product and not something that the agency can mandate. This matter has been fully explored and I do not consider that there is a need for any further ministerial discussions. A copy of the report has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Bus Services: Visual Impairment
 
Paul Maynard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to encourage greater use of talking buses to assist blind passengers. [120613]
Norman Baker: The Government recognises that many people find audio and visual announcements useful. I have recently written to bus operators to encourage them to work in partnership with their local authorities, to see if the uptake of these systems can be increased.
In June, I chaired a Department for Transport summit on how best to improve door to door journeys for disabled people. As a result of this, and as part of the Government’s Olympic and Paralympic legacy, we are currently looking at a number of ways of improving the accessibility of public transport. The outcome of this work will be included in the Department’s Disability Action Plan, to be published by the end of September.
Large Goods Vehicles: Working Hours
 
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review his Department’s decision on the rights of large goods vehicle drivers to an employment tribunal claim if they are prevented from taking daily rest breaks and weekly rest periods by their employers. [120678]
Stephen Hammond: We have no plans to review the Department’s decision, as drivers’ working time rights are already protected by a criminal law regime which the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) enforces.
Motorcycles: Driving Tests
 
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects to conclude his trials of changes to module one of the motorcycle practical test; [120118]
(2) when he expects to begin consulting on changes to module one of the motorcycle practical test. [120119]
Stephen Hammond: The trials are expected to conclude in December 2012. There will be a full public consultation, on any proposals for changing the current motorcycle test, in spring 2013.
Motorcycles: Driving Tests
 
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many accidents took place during module one motorcycle tests between the introduction of the test and September 2012; and how many of these involved injuries which required medical attention; [120674]
(2) how many serious injury accidents there were during module one motorcycle tests between the introduction of the test and September 2012. [120675]
Stephen Hammond: Incidents on Module 1 practical motorcycling tests: 24 April 2009 to 10 September 2012.
Number/percentage

Number Module 1 practical tests conducted

(1)201,901

Total incidents

750

Percentage of total tests conducted

0.37

RIDDOR reportable incidents

134

Percentage of total tests conducted

0.06

Medical attention or first aid required

73

Percentage of total tests conducted

0.03

 

(1) Includes an estimate of the tests conducted between 1 and 10 September 2012, based on the number of tests booked. Actual numbers of tests conducted for that period cannot yet be verified.
The Driving Standards Agency does not record incidents using the definition ‘serious injury’, as used by the Department for Transport for the purposes of Road Safety Statistics. The Agency records incidents occurring during Module 1 tests under three categories: RIDDOR reportable incidents (those reportable to the Health and Safety Executive); incidents requiring either first aid or medical attention; and incidents requiring no or self treatment.
Mel Stride: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what progress the learning to ride groups have made as part of the motorcycle test review; and if he will make a statement; [120676]
(2) when he expects to introduce a fully on-road, single-part motorcycle test. [120715]
Stephen Hammond: The Motorcycle Test Review and Learning to Ride are two different projects. The Motorcycle Test Review focuses on proposed revisions to module 1 of the Motorcycle Test. Learning to Ride focuses on ensuring that motorcycling instructors have the appropriate skills and qualifications to deliver effective training.
As part of Learning to Ride, the Driving Standards Agency continues to discuss with motorcycling stakeholders how to ensure that motorcycling instructors have the appropriate skills and qualifications to deliver effective training. The latest industry proposals are due to be submitted for consideration by the end of October 2012.
Subject to the findings of the research being undertaken as part of the Motorcycle Test Review, the aim is to introduce a single event test that can be carried out on-road as far as possible, during spring 2014.
Motorcycles: Training
 
Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safety recommendations the motorcycle Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) group has made in relation to improving CBT. [121019]
Stephen Hammond: The Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) Group has made the following safety recommendations in relation to improving CBT:
align the existing CBT syllabus with the National Rider Training Standard ™;
restructure the sequence of elements of CBT that must be completed, to enable greater flexibility in the way training is delivered and move towards a more client centred approach;
consider removal of the entitlement to ride a geared motorcycle if CBT has been completed on an automatic motorcycle;
align the qualification arrangements for CBT and Direct Access Scheme instructors with those of approved driving instructors;
successful completion of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) assessment course to become the only route by which instructors can be certified to deliver CBT;
enhance the role of approved training bodies in assuring their instructors’ training standards.
DSA continues to work with industry stakeholders to review and develop proposals.
Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005
 
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the meetings his Department has had with the United Road Transport Union to discuss the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005; and when he next plans to meet that organisation. [120677]
Stephen Hammond: The Department’s records show that since May 2010, the Department has met once with the United Road Transport Union (URTU), on 13 October
13 Sep 2012 : Column 374W
2010, to discuss the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005. The Department does not have any plans to meet URTU to discuss these regulations and no request for a meeting has been received.
Unmanned Air Vehicles: EU Action
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the proposals in the European Commission working document SWD
(2012) 259 final of 4 September 2012 entitled Towards a European strategy for the development of civil applications of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems; and if he will make a statement. [120821]
Mr Simon Burns: The UK recognises the importance of the emerging Civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems sector and the many challenges to be overcome to ensure the safe integration with other aviation traffic. The UK supports this European Commission initiative to develop a clear understanding of the issues and take a harmonised approach to addressing them across Europe and with other global regions through ICAO. The UK is closely engaged, in the various work streams involved in harmonising these requirements.
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