PQs June 18 – 25

 

Level Crossings
 
Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what powers he has to instruct Network Rail to reverse a decision to confirm the permanent closure of a level crossing; and if he will make a statement. [160312]
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State has no powers to instruct Network Rail to reverse decisions to permanently close level crossings.
Level Crossings: Enfield
 
Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding the decision of Network Rail to permanently close the Lincoln Road level crossing in Enfield; and if he will make a statement. [160310]
Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), has not received any representations regarding the closure of the Lincoln Road level crossing in Enfield.
The decision to close the level crossing permanently was taken by Network Rail, in its role as safety duty holder, following a risk assessment.
Electric Vehicles
 
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what his policy is on the introduction of mandatory approaching vehicle audible systems in electric vehicles; [160544]
(2) whether he has had recent discussions with electric vehicle manufacturers regarding approaching vehicle audible systems; and if he will make a statement. [160545]
Norman Baker: I am currently considering whether to revise our negotiating approach to the introduction of a mandatory requirement for audible systems in electric vehicles. I have discussed this issue with the Guide Dogs Association and the Royal National Institute of Blind People. However, I have not yet had any discussions on this topic with electric vehicle manufacturers.
Level Crossings
 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to increase awareness about the potential dangers of using level crossings. [160066]
Mr Simon Burns: The Department works closely with Network Rail, in its role as operator of the majority of level crossings in Great Britain, to ensure that members of the public are aware of the potential dangers.
We have supported Network Rail in developing its awareness programmes including its ongoing national
television and radio campaign ‘Don’t Run The Risk’, holding awareness days at level crossings and working directly with schools and user groups.
We welcome Network Rail’s continuous efforts to reduce risks and improve level crossing safety.
Roads: Repairs and Maintenance
 
Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings his Department has held to review the road maintenance block grant since 1 January 2010; with whom those meetings were held; and what the outcome was of those meetings. [160505]
Norman Baker: Information in respect of the Highways Maintenance Block Review Group, including representatives who sit on the group, as well as meetings that have taken place since January 2010, is available at the following web link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-transport-capital-block-funding
The Department for Transport is currently testing a number of options in respect of a revised funding formula to be in place for 2015-16 and is expecting to hold a consultation on a number of possible funding formula options in due course.
Traffic Lights
 
Seema Malhotra: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to promote the use of cycle-specific traffic lights. [160590]
Stephen Hammond: DFT officials are working closely with Transport for London on a project trialling a range of new measures, including low-level signals for cyclists. We are also working with Cambridgeshire county council, who are trialling the use of cycle filter signals.
Assuming a successful outcome, we would consider prescribing these signals in regulations or authorising on a wider basis. They would then become part of the range of cycling infrastructure measures available.
Driving Instruction
 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure young drivers are given adequate training for driving on rural roads. [160067]
Stephen Hammond: All learner drivers are encouraged to obtain a wide range of pre-test driving experience; the voluntary Pass Plus scheme includes a module about driving on rural roads and the theory test contains questions about rural driving. The Department is publishing a Green Paper later this year which will look at a range of options for ensuring young drivers have the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe on the roads. This could include a minimum learning period and a requirement for learner drivers to gain experience on rural roads before taking their practical driving test.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many new drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 years took the Pass Plus training course in each of the last five years; [160068]
(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Pass Plus in helping to prevent accidents among new drivers; [160069]
(3) what steps his Department is taking to encourage drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 to take Pass Plus after passing their driving tests. [160143]
Stephen Hammond: The following table shows the volume of Pass Plus certificates issued by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in the last five years.
Number of certificates issued
2008-09 89,668
2009-10 74,821
2010-11 68,571
2011-12 49,013
2012-13 39,386
2013-14 (1)6,364
(1) Year to date.
DSA does not collect data about the age of drivers who complete a Pass Plus course, though it is reasonable to assume the majority would be between 17 and 25 years old.
A report by the Association of British Insurers, published in 2006, showed that drivers who participated in the Pass Plus scheme had a marginally lower accident rate than drivers who did not. We continue to explore with the insurance industry options for improving market confidence so that we can maximise the incentives and take-up of post-test training initiatives. The Department will publish a Green Paper later this year looking at a range of options for ensuring young drivers have the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe on the roads. This could include a minimum learning period to encourage learner drivers to obtain a wider range of driving experience before the practical driving test.
Driving Under Influence
 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of television campaigns in preventing (a) drink driving and (b) drug driving. [160064]
Stephen Hammond: We evaluate all campaigns we run to ensure they are effective, that we continually improve performance; and that we ultimately deliver a return on investment and value for money for the taxpayer. We set key performance indicators prior to each campaign and measure these before and immediately after the campaign runs.
Not all of our campaigns involve TV, instead we focus spend on the channels that are most efficient in reaching our target audience and most likely to change behaviour.
The Department has run drink drive campaigns for over 30 years. During this time our campaigns have helped to change attitudes and make drink-driving socially unacceptable. For example, since our current personal consequences campaign launched in 2007, the percentage of young men agreeing that it is extremely unacceptable to drive after two pints has increased from 51% to 61%. We have also increased consideration of the personal consequences of a drink-driving conviction—agreement that being caught drink-driving would change my life dramatically has increased from 73% to 91%.
Over the last 30 years drink drive casualties have fallen significantly. It is difficult to separate out the impact of drink drive campaigns from other factors such as enforcement, but econometric modelling the Department commissioned estimates that 30 years of drink drive campaigns has saved 2,000 lives, prevented over 10,000 serious injuries and created a value to society of £3 billion.
Drug drive campaigns have run less frequently. The last campaign ran in 2009 and included TV advertising. Following the campaign, we saw positive shifts in some key performance indicators. For example, the percentage of the target audience who agreed the police could detect a drug driver if stopped increased from 78% to 83%.
Our THINK! communication campaigns are only one part of our road safety work. We’re introducing a new drug driving offence through the Crime and Courts Bill. It will be an offence to drive a motor vehicle if you have certain controlled drugs in your body in excess of the limits set for them.
The new drug-driving offence will improve the law available for tackling the problem of drug-driving and we plan to support this when it’s introduced with a further communications campaign.
Roads: Safety
 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has spent on campaigns promoting road safety in each of the last three years. [160065]
Stephen Hammond: The Department’s road safety publicity programme expenditure for the last three years was:
  £
2010-11  2,342,563
2011-12 3,995,586
2012-13 3,608,680
Motor Vehicles: Insurance
 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of telematics in helping to prevent accidents among new drivers. [160142]
Stephen Hammond: There are several studies that show that in-vehicle monitoring can help towards reducing risky behaviours, especially among the most risk-prone young drivers. However, published literature does not yet quantify the prevention of accidents among young drivers.
The Department is publishing a Green Paper later this year, which will look at a range of options for ensuring young drivers have the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe on the roads. Vehicle technology and how it can help improve young driver behaviour will be considered within the wider context of the Green Paper.
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