Welcome to the April Newsletter.
Triple Whammy: Achieving safety, sustainability and health goals in transport
Event date: Wednesday 16th October 2013
Location: Royal College of Surgeons.
This conference will bring together experts from across sectors to place safety in a wider policy framework for transport by examining synergies with sustainable travel and public health, and exploring how these synergies can be exploited through joined-up working.
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics?
Event Date: March 21, 2013
The PACTS Spring conference, Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics? Understanding casualty trends and the causes, was attended by over 100 people. It brought together experts in statistics, safety, crime and health, who took on the ambitious task of trying to explain why the number of road deaths had fallen so dramatically since 2007 and the implications for safety policy in the future. The clear message was that influencing attitudes to risk was crucial – although how that can be achieved is a more complex question and still open to debate. As panellist Iain Reeve of Surrey County Council said, perhaps the real question is not why they fell so much since 2007 but why they fell so little in the five or so years prior to that.
We were pleased that road safety minister Stephen Hammond not only gave the opening address but also took the opportunity of the PACTS conference to launch two new road safety websites: the Local Authorities Comparison Website which gives data on casualties and road safety expenditure for each local authority; and the Road Safety Observatory website which provides a systematic summary of research on road safety topics.
Feedback from delegates has been very positive. The presentations and an audio recording of the day are (or will be) on the PACTS website. There will also be a report in Local Transport Today. PACTS is grateful to all our speakers and to Volvo Car for its sponsorship of the conference.
PACTS to set up Transport Safety Commission
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is to set up a Transport Safety Commission to inquire into road, rail and air safety. Initially the Commission will address road safety.
Announcing the decision, Barry Sheerman MP, Chairman and founding members of PACTS, said
“I am delighted to announce that PACTS will be launching a Transport Safety Commission. This will be a high level body with MPs, Peers and independent experts. The commission model has worked very successfully in other areas of public policy and I am confident that it will be equally successful for transport safety.
Establishing a Commission is a move that PACTS has been considering for some time and, under the new executive director, I believe that now is the time to take it forward.
“There are many aspects of transport safety that would benefit from public scrutiny, such as how to reduce crashes involving young drivers, what to do about level crossing safety and the safety procedures for the new aircraft which carry the equivalent of a school.”
Commenting on the decision, David Davies, Executive Director of PACTS, said
“The Commission will be independent and cross-party, representing a broad spectrum of interests and expertise. The Commission will decide what to investigate and how best to go about it. We will be holding a navigational meeting to determine the membership of the Commission and its terms of reference. PACTS will provide the support and secretariat.
“In October 2008, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee called for the establishment of ‘an authoritative and independent road safety commission’ [Report HC 460, para 132]. The Government did not take up the recommendation. I am pleased that PACTS is now able to do so.”
UN Global Road Safety Week
The Second UN Global Road Safety Week (6 – 11th May) will draw attention to the need for pedestrian safety, generate action on measures which work to protect pedestrians, and contribute to achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to save 5 million lives.
Pedestrians comprise around one quarter of the annual global road deaths, with a similar picture in GB. Much can be done to make our world more walkable, by providing safe, reliable and accessible facilities for all pedestrians.Guaranteeing the safety of pedestrians will encourage walking which improves health.
PACTS will be organising a breakfast briefing for MPs and key stakeholders during this week as well as publishing research by Road Safety Analysis into pedestrian casualties and how local authorities might respond, using the latest STATS19 data.
PACTS welcomes Government announcement of Green Paper on young drivers
Young drivers could benefit from improved training and lower insurance premiums as the Government confirmed its intention to launch a Green Paper on improving the safety and reducing risks to young drivers.
The proposals were unveiled at a summit for the motor insurance industry, hosted by the Department for Transport. Representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Health and consumer organisation uSwitch were also present. The Government is expecting the changes to result in a reduction in the high cost of vehicle insurance currently facing motorists – especially young drivers.
A Green Paper looking at a range of options for improving the safety of newly-qualified drivers will be published later in the spring.
EU reports lowest ever number of road deaths and takes first step towards an injuries strategy
Road fatalities across the EU have decreased by 9% in 2012 according to provisional new figures published by the European Commission. 2012 saw the lowest number of people killed in road traffic in EU countries since the first data were collected. The report states that fatalities in the UK fell by 12% between 2011 and 2012. The DfT expects to release its confirmed figures for reported road casualties 2012 in late June.
The EU wants to set a target for reducing serious injuries resulting from road accidents – to accompany its goal of halving fatalities between 2011 and 2020. A progress report has been published.
Global status report on road safety 2013
The Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013 presents information on road safety from 182 countries, accounting for almost 99% of the world’s population. The report indicates that worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths remains unacceptably high at 1.24 million per year. Only 28 countries, covering 7% of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on five key risk factors: drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints.
European Citizens’ Initiative on 30km/h
A new European Citizens’ Initiative on 30km/h – making streets liveable! has been presented to the European Commission. The European Citizens’ Initiative is a new instrument enabling citizens to collect signatures to request the European Commission to then come forward with new legislative action.
The proposal is that 30km/h be set as an EU-wide default speed limit for urban/residential areas. It adds that Local authorities may set other speed limits if they can show how environmental and safety needs of the most vulnerable road users are met. The proposal states that a text would be based on Article 91.1 (road safety) and Article 191 (Environment) of the Treaty of the European Union.
The European Citizens’ Initiative has to collect 1 million signatures from across the EU within one year in order to commit the European Commission to considering the proposal.
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 website.
The integration of road safety into other policy areas can be understood as the systematic, mainstreaming of road safety into other related fields of policy. This paper, written by Ellen Townsend of ETSC, looks at what integration means in relation to several policy areas and examines three key policy areas in more detail: employment, environment and health.
The advantages and disadvantages of road safety policy integration are also discussed. On the positive side these include the added strength in achieving joint objectives, pooling of resources and greater efficiency. However, integration can highlight conflicts where reaching one objective such as road safety, may have disadvantages for another, for example driving children to school. On balance, looking at possible synergies and potential conflicts, the end result should emerge stronger for all involved.
Date: March 26, 2013
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): I am today launching two new websites: the road safety comparison site and the road safety observatory.
The road safety comparison site will help the public and road safety professionals compare the road safety performance of local authorities. We also committed to part-funding the road safety observatory, which provides access to academic road safety research. In launching these two new sites we are fulfilling our commitment made in the “Strategic Framework for Road Safety” published 11 May 2011.
Date: March 19, 2013
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): On 15 April 2011 a major fire below the M1 motorway caused significant disruption to the road network for several days. The safety of all who use our transport networks is paramount and the Department for Transport takes the potential risk of fire very seriously. Therefore, following the fire, the Department for Transport asked the Highways Agency and Network Rail to carry out a comprehensive audit of potential sources of fire risk from third party activities at locations beneath, or adjacent to their networks and report back.
Date: March 14, 2013
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Norman Baker): I am today publishing a door to door strategy that will help create growth and cut carbon by making it easier and more convenient for people to make their whole journey by sustainable transport—public transport supported by cycling and walking. By improving the whole journey, how each part connects and how to better integrate those parts, more people will be encouraged to use sustainable transport to get from their front door to the door at their destination.
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.
The following question was asked during the week beginning 4th March.
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department holds on (a) the number of pedal cyclist casualties attributable to the opening of a vehicle door in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010 and (iii) 2011 and (b) the severity of the injuries received in each case. 
Stephen Hammond: The numbers of pedal cyclists injured, by severity, in reported personal injury road accidents in Great Britain, as a result of hitting an open door of a vehicle, or as a result of a vehicle door being opened or closed negligently (e.g. injured due to evasive action), for the last three years are:
PACTS comments: These figures show a 67% increase in cycle serious injuries due to ‘dooring’ in just 3 years. While it is possible that increased reporting may contribute to this rise, it is vital that drivers are aware of cyclists when opening car doors.
Commenting on these figures road safety Minister Stephen Hammond said: ‘Cycling is good for your health and helps to reduce congestion so it’s great that more people are travelling on two wheels. It is vital that drivers take care to look out for cyclists, whether they are in a parking space or on the move, as well as leaving them plenty of room on the road.’
‘The Government is investing an extra £107 million in cycling infrastructure, including £35 million to tackle dangerous junctions. We also launched our THINK! Let’s Look Out For Each Other campaign and are making it easier for councils to install trixi mirrors so drivers are better able to see cyclists.’
25 & 26th April 2013
This event is a unique opportunity for practical workshops on the key topics for cycle planning; expert seminars; inspiring talks and networking opportunities; study tours and an exhibition of the tools and services available to deliver better cycling cities.
Members of PACTS can get a 20% discount when booking by clicking on the link above. PACTS Executive Director David Davies will be chairing a session on cycle safety and HGVs at 9.30 on the Friday.
TISPOL Conference 2013
1 & 2 October 2013
Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Manchester Airport
Keep up to date on transport safety news on Twitter: http://twitter.com/pacts