PQs 5th – 9th November

Driving: Eyesight
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the economic effects of accidents caused by poor driver eyesight. [127190]
Stephen Hammond: No assessment has been made of the economic effects of accidents caused by poor driver eyesight. However, uncorrected, defective eyesight was a contributory factor reported by the police in 250 personal injury road accidents in 2011, the latest year for which information is available.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers failed the number plate eyesight test at a driving test centre in the last year for which figures are available. [127191]
Stephen Hammond: Between 1 October 2011 and 30 September 2012, 636 drivers failed the number plate eyesight test at a driving test centre.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has considered introducing new measures to ensure a minimum requirement for regular eyesight tests at the point of licence renewal. [127192]
Stephen Hammond: The Department reviewed the arrangements for ensuring appropriate vision for drivers when considering the implementation of EC Directive 2009/113/EC. There are no plans to introduce formal eyesight testing linked to driving licence renewal. The existing law requires all drivers of motor vehicles to ensure that they are able to meet the appropriate vision standards while driving.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to ensure compliance with European Commission Directives 2009/113/EC and 2006/126/EC concerning driver eyesight. [127193]
Stephen Hammond: The driver eyesight standards contained in the European Commission Directive 2009/113/EC need to be in place by 19 January 2013. Administrative procedures are already in place to ensure that all driver licence applicants meet the minimum eyesight standards required by the Directive. The domestic legislative changes are expected to be introduced early in 2013.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has assessed the effect of compliance with European Commission Directives 2009/113/EC and 2006/126/EC on the number of road traffic accidents. [127194]
Stephen Hammond: No specific assessment has been completed on the effect of compliance on the number of road traffic accidents. An impact assessment has been completed on the medical aspects of the directive which will be published alongside the legislation changes.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy that an assessment is performed on a driver’s eyesight when their licence is due to be renewed. [127203]
Stephen Hammond: There are no plans to introduce formal eyesight testing linked to driving licence renewal. Drivers of all motor vehicles have a legal responsibility to ensure that they are able to meet the appropriate vision standards at all times while driving.
Drivers must be able to read a number plate from 20 metres with glasses or corrective lenses if necessary. They must also notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency if at any time they develop an eye condition that affects their visual acuity or field and provide assurance that they have never been advised that they cannot meet 6/12 measured on a Snellen eyesight chart. Drivers who fail to notify or who drive while unable to read a number plate from the appropriate distance are committing an offence and may invalidate their motor insurance.
PACTS comments: Mr Leech’s questions may be as a result of a report which was published last week on eyesight and driving. Fit to Drive was commissioned by RSA Insurance and found that road crashes caused by poor driver vision cost the UK an estimated £33 million a year and result in nearly 2,900 casualties. It calls for official and mandatory eyesight tests when drivers renew their licences. 
 
Electric Vehicles
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many registered (a) electric vehicles and (b) hybrid vehicles there were in the UK in the latest period for which figures are available. [126478]
Stephen Hammond: The numbers of licensed electric and hybrid electric vehicles in Great Britain as at 30 June 2012 are shown in the following table. Statistics for the UK are not compiled centrally by the Department for Transport as the registration of cars in Northern Ireland is administered separately by the Northern Ireland Driver and Vehicle Agency.
Vehicles licensed in Great Britain, as at 30 June 2012
(a) Electric vehicles(b) Hybrid vehicles (1)
        71,830114,904
(1) Hybrid vehicles consist of petrol electric hybrids and diesel electric hybrids. Source: “Vehicle Licensing Statistics, Great Britain: Quarter 2 2012” (DFT). These statistics are derived from the DVLA vehicle register, an operational database used to handle the licensing of vehicles registered in Great Britain.
Motorcycles: Training
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the locations were of motorcycle approved training bodies in each main postcode district in April (a) 2008 and (b) 2012. [126036]
Stephen Hammond: As on 30 October 2012, 633 approved training bodies deliver approved training courses from 1,646 approved sites. A list showing the location of each training site has been deposited in the Libraries of the House.
The Driving Standards Agency does not retain information on the training bodies that held such approval in April 2008 and 2012.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of motorcycle approved training bodies which were operating in April (a) 2008 and (b) 2012. [126108]
Stephen Hammond: The Driving Standards Agency’s (DSA’s) reporting systems do not allow for retrospective interrogation for certain data sets. Therefore, no data is available for the number of Approved Training Bodies (ATBs) in 2008. However, in October 2009, there were 696 ATBs registered with the DSA.
The number of ATBs that are currently registered is 633.
Driving: Eyesight
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the economic effects of crashes caused by poor driver eyesight. [127436]
Stephen Hammond: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 7 November 2012, Official Report, columns 613-14W.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department collects on the number of drivers who have failed the number plate eyesight test at a driving test centre. [127437]
Stephen Hammond: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 7 November 2012, Official Report, column 614W.
Driving Under Influence
 
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers involved in accidents in the UK were found to have a blood alcohol content of between 0 mg/100 ml and 80 mg/100 ml in each of the last 10 years. [126109]
Stephen Hammond: The estimated number and proportion of drivers and riders under the legal alcohol limit (0 to 80 mg/100 ml of blood) involved in a road traffic accident in Great Britain 2001-10 was:
Proportion of drivers/riders below the alcohol limit (0-80 mg/100 ml of blood) ( % ) Number of drivers/riders below the alcohol limit (0-80 mg/100 ml of blood) (1)

2001

82

135,700

2002

81

130,700

2003

81

127,500

2004

79

119,700

2005

79

118,200

2006

78

111,700

2007

82

111,200

2008

81

102,300

2009

80

96,100

2010

83

92,800

(1) Figures rounded to nearest 100, since these are estimates Note: We do not hold figures for Northern Ireland.
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on how many drivers involved in accidents registered a blood alcohol content of between 50 and 80 mg in the latest period for which figures are available. [126110]
Stephen Hammond: The number of drivers and riders involved in an accident in Great Britain for 2010 that were between 50-80 mg/100 ml of blood-alcohol level was approximately 1,100 (rounded to the nearest 100).
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the use of alcohol interlocks in public vehicles. [126112]
Stephen Hammond: An alcohol interlock prevents a person starting a vehicle if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath.
Operators of public vehicles may choose to use alcohol interlocks to improve safety. However, the Department has no plans to make their use mandatory in public vehicles.
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were killed in crashes involving drink drivers in (a) Humberside and (b) north Lincolnshire in the last 10 years. [126113]
Stephen Hammond: The numbers of fatalities in drink drive accidents are not published below regional level.
The estimated numbers of fatalities in drink drive accidents in the Yorkshire and the Humber region in the years 2001-10 were:
Number of fatalities

2001

40

2002

50

2003

60

2004

70

2005

60

2006

50

2007

50

2008

20

2009

30

2010

20

The estimates are derived from matching of police and coroners data on drink drive accidents. Various factors (e.g. hit and run accidents, non-matching records) mean that this dataset is generally incomplete. Estimates derived from it are rounded to the nearest 10 in view of this uncertainty. Region-level estimates for 2011 are not yet available.
Driving: Eyesight
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to introduce new measures to ensure a minimum requirement for regular eyesight tests at the point of driver licence renewal. [127434]
Stephen Hammond: There are no plans to introduce formal eyesight testing linked to driving licence renewal. The Department reviewed the vision arrangements for drivers as part of the implementation of EC Directive 2009/113/EC. The law requires all drivers of motor vehicles to ensure that they are able to meet the appropriate vision standards while driving.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has made an assessment of the effects of compliance with EC directives 2009/113/EC and 2006/126/EC, on the number of road traffic crashes. [127438]
Stephen Hammond: No specific assessment has been completed on the effect of compliance on the number of road traffic accidents. An impact assessment has been completed on the medical aspects of the directive which will be published alongside the legislation changes.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to ensure compliance with EC directives (i) 2009/113/EC and (ii) 2006/126/EC concerning driver eyesight. [127439]
Stephen Hammond: The driver eyesight standards contained in the European Commission directives need to be in place by 19 January 2013. The domestic legislative changes are expected to be introduced early in 2013. Administrative procedures are already in place to ensure that all driver licence applicants meet the minimum eyesight standards required by the directive.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps have been taken by his Department to raise public awareness of the dangers of driving with poor eyesight. [127440]
Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport’s THINK! road safety campaign has issued a public information film called “Transport Café” that raises awareness of the need for good eyesight and the necessity to read number plates from a distance. In the last financial year “Transport Café” achieved £203,651 worth of airtime value with a spread of coverage across BBC1, CH5 and other digital channels such as the British Forces Broadcasting Service. The film can be viewed at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ5Z9nCk40M&list =PL6B70BFE9089C1028&index=16&feature=plpp_video
In addition, DFT provide information for the public on Gov.uk about the standards of eyesight for driving and what to do if you have a problem:
https://www.gov.uk/driving-eyesight-rules
Driving: Licensing
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, published in May 2011, what progress has been made on the development of the new post-test qualification for newly qualified drivers. [127435]
Stephen Hammond: Improving the safety and ability of young drivers is a key priority for the Government. We are considering how to improve training for drivers after they pass their test and are currently working with young people, the insurance industry and other key partners to identify what more can be done to ensure that newly-qualified drivers are properly prepared and drive safely.
Driving: Older People
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which local authorities have developed educational interventions to help older drivers assess their appropriateness to continue driving and to help them consider alternatives to the use of the car; what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of such interventions; and if he will undertake a national audit to make such interventions available nationally. [127441]
Stephen Hammond: The Department does not hold this information.
However, the Strategic Framework for Road Safety, published on 11 May 2011, says that
“we would like to work with the voluntary sector representing the elderly and the training industry to develop further training schemes for older drivers.”
We do not have any plans to undertake a national audit to make educational interventions available nationally; it is for local authorities to decide whether or not they undertake such interventions with older drivers.
Helicopters: Safety
 
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what recent discussions he has had on safety standards in the helicopter fleet servicing the UK offshore oil and gas sector with the (a) Civil Aviation Authority and (b) European Aviation Safety Agency; and if he will make a statement; [127775]
(2) what assessment he has made of the Air Accident Investigation Branch’s initial findings from the investigation into the causes of the emergency ditching of a Super Puma EC225 in the North Sea on 22 October 2012; and if he will make a statement; [127776]
(3) what recent discussion on safety standards in the helicopter fleet servicing the UK offshore oil and gas sector he has had with representatives from (a) the Civil Aviation Authority, (b) the European Aviation Safety Agency, (c) trade unions and (d) offshore oil and gas companies; and if he will make a statement. [127834]
Mr Simon Burns: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has overall responsibility for assuring the continuing airworthiness of these helicopters. EASA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on 25 October following the ditching of a Super Puma EC225 in the North Sea on 22 October. As a precautionary measure, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued an operational directive on 25 October to prevent helicopters covered by the EASA directive from operating commercial flights over areas of open sea until further notice. The CAA is liaising closely with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) over its ongoing investigation and has had several recent meetings with the AAIB, EASA and other interested parties.
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