PQs 14th – 18th Jan

Roads: Accidents
 
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of children killed or seriously injured on roads were from ethnic minority backgrounds in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will estimate the number of such deaths or injuries that resulted from not wearing a seatbelt. [135909]
Stephen Hammond: The requested information is not held centrally.
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (1) professional recovery and emergency service staff have been injured as a result of incidents at the roadside in each parliamentary constituency in the last 12 months for which figures are available; [136742]
(2) professional recovery and emergency service staff have been injured as a result of incidents at the roadside during the last 12 months for which figures are available; [136743]
(3) motorists have been injured as a result of incidents at the roadside during the last 12 months for which figures are available. [136744]
Stephen Hammond: The Department does not collect any information on the profession of the casualty.
The Department only holds information on accidents involving personal injuries occurring on highways (including footways) that involve at least one road vehicle (including collisions with pedestrians) and that become known to the police within 30 days of its occurrence.
The Department collects information on the contributory factors associated with road accident casualties. Information for accidents in Great Britain in 2011 is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/10241/ras50007.xls
Some of these contributory factors include cases where an event at the roadside or outside of the vehicle may have contributed to the accident. However, these factors do not indicate whether the accident was as a result of roadside incident or whether the vehicle was in attendance of a roadside incident at the time of the accident.
Roads: Safety
Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the Slow Down Move Over campaign’s proposals to make hard shoulders safer for professionals and motorists alike; and if he will make a statement. [136828]
Stephen Hammond: No work has been undertaken to assess the Slow Down Move Over campaign. There is currently insufficient capacity on the strategic road network to introduce such a policy and there are no plans to introduce legislation.
Roads: Liverpool
 
Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorists have been (a) killed and (b) seriously injured in sleep-related road traffic accidents in Liverpool, Walton constituency since May 2010. [137857]
Stephen Hammond: The data on factors contributing to road accidents is not broken down below regional level since the number of casualties can often be small and therefore it may be possible to identify the individuals involved in an accident.
However, the numbers of motorists killed or seriously injured in reported personal injury road accidents where driver or rider “fatigue” was a contributory factor since May 2010 in the North West region are as follows:
May 2010 to December 2010: 0 killed and 20 seriously injured; and
January 2011 to December 2011: 8 killed and 41 seriously injured.
Data for 2012 will be available in June 2013.
Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic accidents there were in Liverpool, Walton constituency arising from (a) motorists and (b) cyclists ignoring red traffic lights in the last two years for which figures are available. [137859]
Stephen Hammond: The data on factors contributing to road accidents are not broken down below regional level since the number of accidents can often be small and therefore it may be possible to identify the individuals involved in an accident.
However, the number of personal injury road accidents in the North West region where “disobeyed automatic traffic signal” was a contributory factor for (a) motorists and (b) cyclists in the years 2010 and 2011 are as follows:
2010: 330 motor vehicles and 13 cyclists;
2011: 302 motor vehicles and 23 cyclists.
Cycling: Accidents
Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cyclists seriously injured on roads. [136631]
Stephen Hammond: The Government takes the safety of cyclists very seriously. In 2012 the Government announced a £15 million fund to improve safety for cyclists outside London, by tackling dangerous junctions. This was in addition to the £15 million fund awarded to Transport for London in March for the same purpose. Furthermore, part of the recently announced £20 million in cycle funding will go towards tackling dangerous junctions.
We have provided £600 million through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to support local authorities in their use of transport to lever growth and cut carbon at the local level. The majority of the 96 projects have a cycling element. This year, we have committed £11 million for Bikeability training to help a new generation of cyclists gain the skills and knowledge they need to cycle safely and competently on today’s roads. This funding will help more than 275,000 school children to access training.
We have also made it easier for councils to put in place 20 mph zones and limits, and to install Trixi mirrors to improve the visibility of cyclists at junctions. Last September I launched the ‘THINK CYCLIST!’ campaign, which offers advice to drivers and cyclists on how to stay safe on the road.
M1
 
Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total cost is of the new traffic calming measures incorporating a series of speed cameras on the southern end of the M1. [136135]
Stephen Hammond [holding answer 10 January 2013]: The range estimate for the entire M1 Junction 10 to 13 improvement scheme is £412 million (minimum) to £504 million (maximum).
The speed enforcement camera system is an integral part of the new technologies provided to manage traffic flow, reduce congestion and allow use of the hard shoulder at peak times, and its cost is not separately identified.
M6
 
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what enquiries he has made of the (a) Highways Agency and (b) Staffordshire police authority about the delays on the M6 on Christmas Day. [136658]
Stephen Hammond: The incident on the M6 between junction 14-15 on Christmas Day was a police led incident as it involved multiple fatalities. I have asked for a full debrief to take place into the incident; this will be completed within the next few weeks. It will include the Highways Agency, Staffordshire police and the other emergency services involved. The investigation will assess all the aspects of the incident including the time taken to re-open the carriageway.
Motorways: Repairs and Maintenance
 
Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the annual budget is for placing new chevrons on motorways for the purpose of encouraging safer spacing between moving cars; [136134]
(2) how many miles of chevrons designed to encourage safer spacing between moving cars there are on the (a) M1, (b) M3, (c) M4, (d) M5, (e) M6 and (f) M25. [136136]
Stephen Hammond [holding answer 10 January 2013]: There is not a specific budget allocated for the painting of white chevrons for vehicle spacing. Where considered appropriate, the cost of placing new chevrons on motorways would be included as part of a carriageway renewal scheme.
For the motorways listed there are approximately 45 miles of painted white chevrons to remind drivers to keep a safe distance apart:
M1: three miles
M3: none
M4: 14.8 miles
M5: 15.5 miles
M6: 11.7 miles
M25: none.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition: Garages and Petrol Stations
 
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made on plans to introduce automatic number plate recognition cameras to petrol stations in order to stop uninsured drivers from filling their cars with petrol. [137037]
Stephen Hammond: The idea to introduce automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras at petrol filling stations is innovative and has merit. However, further work is needed to establish how it could work in practice and work alongside existing enforcement measures.
Under the Continuous Insurance Enforcement scheme, we are able to identify uninsured vehicles from database comparison without relying on having to catch sight of vehicles in use.
Driving: Licensing
 
Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the insurance industry’s Access to Driver Data project to be completed and fully operational; and if he will make a statement. [137588]
Stephen Hammond: Subject to agreement of the detailed design and costs, it is anticipated that motor insurers will have access to the driver data from April 2014.
Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to the public purse has been of the insurance industry’s Access to Driver Data project; and if he will make a statement. [137589]
Stephen Hammond: At the end of December 2012, the cost to the public purse of developing the project to provide driver data to the insurance industry was £2.16 million. This project will allow insurance companies to calculate motor insurance premiums using accurate driver information.
Road Bottlenecks
 
6. Nicola Blackwood (Oxford West and Abingdon) (Con): What progress he has made on reducing bottlenecks in the road network. [137497]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): In the 2010 spending review, the Government committed £168 million for small schemes on the strategic road network. In the 2011 autumn statement, we introduced a new pinch point fund of £217 million to address the hot spots on the network. We have committed £188 million of that to deliver 65 schemes so far. In the 2012 autumn statement, that was increased to £317 million for the strategic road network, and a new £170 million pinch point fund was established for local authorities.
Nicola Blackwood: I thank the Minister for his answer, but the A34 in my constituency is still plagued by congestion and accidents. That causes daily misery for commuters on a personal level, and it also has a debilitating effect on the local economy. If the work force are stuck in gridlocked traffic, they are simply not being productive. Will the Minister come to Oxford West and Abingdon to meet local community and business leaders to hear their concerns at first hand?
Stephen Hammond: Like my hon. Friend, I recognise that the A34 is an important, busy and strategic route. We are developing route-based strategies as a key mechanism to inform what is needed on such routes. As she says, the ability to work with the local economic partnership and to look at the benefits to the local economy are key assessment criteria. I look forward to visiting her constituency.
Ian Austin (Dudley North) (Lab): The House, and the whole country, will agree that one of the ways of reducing bottlenecks on the roads is to get more people on to bikes. When Ministers in the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government consider new road schemes and other major urban developments, why cannot they agree to British Cycling’s request that the impact on cyclists should be considered at the outset of all such schemes, rather than being treated as an add-on later? If that were to happen, we could avoid problems such as those at Bow roundabout and Vauxhall Cross, which have had to be put right later at enormous cost.
Stephen Hammond: I am aware that the hon. Gentleman is a keen cyclist and vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on cycling—
Ian Austin: Co-chair.
Stephen Hammond: I am sorry—co-chairman of the group. I look forward to seeing its report, which I am sure will cover a number of those issues. He will be aware that we have committed a local sustainable transport fund of £650 million, and a number of the schemes being developed under that have exactly the cycling element that he is asking for.
Topical Questions
 
T1. [137512] Mr Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) (Lab/Co-op): If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick McLoughlin): May I take this opportunity to thank the emergency services who responded so professionally to yesterday’s helicopter crash in London, in which, sadly, two people lost their lives? The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is continuing its investigation, and I will keep the House updated on its findings.
Since I last addressed the House at Transport questions, I have published the Richard Brown independent review into franchising, which concluded that it remains a fundamentally sound model. I will make further statements on rail franchising in due course. Over the Christmas period I also announced details of a new £170 million local authority pinch point fund, targeting the most congested points on local roads, as well as the allocation of an extra £215 million to councils to maintain roads.
T3. [137515] Mrs Anne McGuire (Stirling) (Lab): A couple of days ago, Carlos Tevez, the Manchester City striker, admitted to not having a valid UK driving licence. It was said that the theory test would be difficult for him as it is conducted in English. Given that many people who are legitimately and legally in the UK need to drive after the 12-month grace period, does the Department offer the theory test in other languages? If not, why not, given that in the interests of road safety it is more important that people are encouraged to take the test, rather than have them worry about whether their written English skills are up to scratch?
Stephen Hammond: I can confirm that the test is offered in more languages in this country than it is in any other in Europe. I am, however, consulting on whether to reduce the number, because it is clear that a key aspect of road safety is involved: if people cannot understand the test in English, they might not be able to understand the road signs.
Graham Jones (Hyndburn) (Lab): My constituent, Mrs Hinet, suffered the tragedy of losing her daughter and grandchild. They were pedestrians who died when a car driven by an 89-year-old who had had a heart attack at the wheel mounted the pavement. There seems to be a lack of assessment of drivers such as that 89-year-old, compared with that of those who are 70. I know that regulations are in place for drivers who are over 70, but there seems to be a problem in that the deciles of the 70s and 80s are aggregated in the data. Will the Minister look at the data and how they are collected for those in their 70s and 80s and accidents on the roads?
Stephen Hammond: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that question. We have looked at that data and at some of the evidence from some incidents, particularly a number of tragic incidents such as the one he describes. The most important thing is that the current plans and regime are backed by the evidence, and I will review that. More importantly, it is a question of experience and not necessarily of the driver’s age.
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