December 2012 PACTS Newsletter
Welcome to the December newsletter.
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics?
Event Date: March 21, 2013
This conference will explore the casualty trends and trajectories for different road user groups over recent years. It will examine the impacts of safety measures and attempt to assess the wider societal factors affecting road safety. It will also examine how confident we can be about the reliability of crash and injury data and how knowledge about crime data may affect our understanding of the impact of interventions. Join us for a challenging day looking at the real numbers and what they tell us.
DfT Consults on drink-drive changes
The Department for Transport has announced a consultation on changes to procedures for drink and drug driving. This includes the abolition of the statutory option, changes to preliminary breathtests and a proposal to allow qualified health professionals to undertake blood tests in addition to doctors. These were originally proposed in the North Review published in June 2010.
The consultation document also includes a proposal to review the workings of the New Drivers Act, recognising that this may not be operating in the way originally anticipated given the number of young and novice drivers who do not regain a licence having lost it under the provisions of the Act. PACTS welcomes this review as it covers an issue that road safety professionals have highlighted as a concern for a number of years.
Commenting on the changes, Robert Gifford, Executive Director, said “These were originally proposed by Sir Peter North in his review of drink and drug driving. It is good to see the Department taking his suggestions forward. These are primarily procedural changes which will help the police to deal more quickly and more effectively with offenders.
“It is also good to see in paragraph 7.20 that the Department has at long last initiated a review of the New Drivers Act put on the statute book in 1996. For a long time, we have known about the discrepancy between the number of novice drivers losing their licences under this Act and the number regaining them. We need to know more about this cohort of young people and the extent to which they are choosing not to drive or to drive unlawfully. I hope this review will answer this key question.”
Road Safety Management Standard
ISO, the international standards organisation, has announced the publication of a new standard for road safety management. PACTS welcomes this development as it will allow governments, companies and organisations to measure themselves against international practice and to identify areas for improvement.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling has today launched an inquiry into how to get more people cycling. Based on the Select Committee model, the group is calling for written evidence which will be followed by oral sessions in the New Year. The terms of reference can be found here.
Rail Safety Performance – October 2012
The Rail Safety and Standards Board has published the following:
Update – Safer Mobility for an Ageing Population
Date: November 30, 2012
PACTS has published an update to the PACTS report ‘It’s My Choice: Safer Mobility for an Ageing Population’ which was published in March this year.
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 page on the PACTS website.
December 2012: A study entitled “Pedestrian Safety, Urban Space and Health” was prepared by a Working Group of transport experts and urban planners from 19 countries and the World Health Organization under the leadership of the International Transport Forum.
Pedestrian Safety will be the focus of the United Nations Road Safety Week from 6-13 May 2013. This report, available for reading online, highlights the role of national governments in improving pedestrian mobility and proposes 12 sets of measures to create safer walking environments.
Date: November 28, 2012
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Norman Baker): The coalition Government has today made available an additional £20 million for our existing infrastructure projects to support cycling.
Date: November 27, 2012
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): The Department has today published a consultation paper on speed limit exemptions for vehicles used for emergency purposes.
Date: November 9, 2012
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): I am today announcing the publication of a consultation document which aims to examine whether the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes on single carriageways, is set at the right level.
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 19th November:
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many collisions involving cars and HGVs on roads with speed limits of 60mph involved a car overtaking a HGV and colliding with an oncoming vehicle in the last 12 months; and what assessment he has made of the severity of such crashes; 
(2) if he will estimate how many crashes there have been between cars and HGVs on roads with a speed limit of 60mph in the last five years. 
Stephen Hammond: Information is provided in the following table on the reported number of personal injury accidents on single carriageway roads with 60 mph speed limits which involved at least one car and one HGV across each of the last five years.
|Reported number of personal injury accidents on single carriageway roads with 60 mph speed limits involving cars/HGVs: 2007 – 11|
|Number of accidents|
|Number of collisions involving at least one car and one HGV||All collisions involving all vehicles|
|Source: STATS19 Police Data, Department for Transport|
Information on the reported number of personal injury accidents in 2011 on single carriageway roads with 60 mph speed limits which involved at least one car overtaking any moving vehicle is provided in the following table. The table also includes information on the number of people killed or seriously injured as a result of these collisions.
|Reported number of personal injury accidents and subsequent casualties on single carriageway roads with 60 mph limits involving at least one car overtaking a moving vehicle: Great Britain 2011|
|Number of accidents/casualties|
|Total number of collisions||Number of casualties killed||Number of casualties seriously injured|
|Source: STATS19 Police Data, Department for Transport|
Information about what type of vehicle was overtaken is not collected so it is impossible to state how many of these collisions involved a car overtaking an HGV. In addition, it is not possible to determine whether the resulting collision was with an oncoming vehicle.
PACTS comments: Given that one of the arguments for the proposed increasing of speed limits for HGVs on single carriageway roads is that slower lorries cause overtaking accidents, it is worrying that the Department for Transport does not have the required data available to prove this argument either way. PACTS welcomes any move by the government to attempt to tackle the high number of casualties as a result of collisions on single carriageway roads, however there are a range of measures they should be considering, one of which would be the lowering of the speed limit for cars.
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