- Last chance to book for the PACTS conference Achieving safety, sustainability and health goals in transport, 16 October, London. Speakers from Parliament, DfT, Abellio, TfL, Birmingham City Council, NHS, Public Health England, TfL, ETSC and Serco.
- Staying Awake, Staying Alive: the problem of fatigue in the transport sector. Dr Robert Hunter, Head for Flight Safety at BALPA will deliver the 24th Westminster Lecture, 4 December, 6pm. Bookings now open. Includes dinner.
Government and parliamentary news
The Ministerial Reshuffles
In the recent Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet reshuffles, a number of changes affected transport safety and related areas. Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, and Under-Secretary Stephen Hammond remain at the Department for Transport. However, rail minister Simon Burns resigned to stand as deputy speaker and Under-Secretary Norman Baker, who led on buses, cycling and traffic management, was promoted to Minister of State at the Home Office. Lib Dem Baroness Kramer (Susan Kramer, former London Mayoral candidate and MP for Richmond Park) was appointed Minister of State at DfT and Robert Goodwill and appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State. Under the new division of ministerial responsibilities, Baroness Kramer has responsibility for aspects of rail including HS2 Phase 2 and ORR, as well as cities, localism and national environment. Robert Goodwill now has the brief for aviation, strategic roads, local roads, motoring agencies and road safety – previously under Stephen Hammond who now leads on rail “operational issues”. Robert Goodwill also leads on cycling – previously under Norman Baker.
Public health minister Anna Soubry, who had collaborated with the DfT of the promotion of walking and cycling, was replaced at the Department of Health by Jane Ellison, appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary.
Within the Shadow Cabinet Mary Creagh has switched briefs with Maria Eagle. Mary Creagh has become Shadow Secretary of State for Transport while Maria Eagle is now Shadow Secretary of State at DEFRA. Labour’s shadow transport team includes a number of changes and the road safety brief is yet to be allocated. Yvonne Fovargue, who took over road safety from Jim Fitzpatrick (PACTS September newsletter), has been moved to Defence. Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott has been replaced by Luciana Berger. Diane will speak at the PACTS conference on 16 October “unconstrained” by shadow ministerial responsibly.
Transport safety and the party conferences
Transport safety did not feature specifically in Patrick McLoughlin’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference (29th September-2nd October). However, he confirmed his intention to improve road infrastructure and increase availability of public transport with ‘wider roads; better buses’, improvements to existing rail services and HS2, all of which might provide opportunities to raise safety standards.
Previous Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Maria Eagle, made her speech to the Labour conference (22nd-25th September) declaring the importance of restoring road safety targets to ‘cut road deaths and serious injuries’. She also promised to make 20mph zones the default in residential areas. Eagle criticised the Conservative’s decision to abolish Cycling England and highlighted her aim of encouraging an increase in the population cycling by redesigning junctions, increasing the number of separated routes and encouraging phased traffic lights.
Government transport announcements
DfT released its second and final update to its Strategic Framework for Road Safety Action Plan on the 7th October. The document is entitled Final Progress Update 2013 as the DfT considers that all the actions are now substantially complete. A Green Paper on Young Driver Safety is in the DfT Business Plan for publication by the end of 2013.
TRL research, commissioned by the DfT, into the likely impacts of a graduated driver licensing (GDL) scheme for young drivers in GB has just been published. It is entirely positive about the safety benefits of GDL “Based on the evidence, it is recommended that licensing in GB be based on a full GDL system. Analysis of STATS19 data and evidence of effectiveness in other countries suggests that a GDL system in GB could save 4,471 casualties and £224 million annually based on 17-19 year old drivers only.”
DfT has published the details of the Reported Road Casualties GB 2012 revealing significant drops in the levels of reported casualties, particularly in the number of deaths which was lowest on record. Against this overall trend, cycling casualties and drink-drive deaths increased in 2012. This year’s report is accompanied by a short video (scroll down!) summarising the statistics. It comments that the exceptionally wet weather may have reduced the number of vulnerable road use casualties. The colder than average temperatures for Q1 2013 may account for some of the 18% reduction in deaths compared with Q1 2012.
Continued reductions in road casualties cannot be taken for granted. In the USA road deaths increased 5.3%, from 32,367 in 2011 to 34,080 in 2012, according to a report released by NHTSA.
Reported Road Casualty GB 2012 also includes (RAS41) the latest results for the outcome indicators in the Government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety. Although these do not include targets, the indicators are intended to show progress or otherwise on a broader set of criteria than casualty numbers alone, for example, the percentage of vehicles complying with speed limits and the number of motoring offences . No specific commentary is provided on the indicators or the latest results.
The Government has launched its response to the All-Parliamentary Cycling Group report, with Norman Baker declaring that the government was ‘determined to help more people take up cycling’. The Prime Minister announced an additional £94 million would be set aside for cycling following on from the single largest injection of cash for cycling announced, with £77 million to be divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich. Furthermore, roads will increasingly be ‘cycle proofed’, with £5 million of investment already spent on ensuring safer cycling on trunk roads with a further £15 million investment planned for 2015-2016.
The Law Commission has release a report on the reform of Level Crossings, currently safety is regulated by a regime specific for the crossings (The Level Crossings Act 1983) which provides inflexible orders with uncertain legal status. The proposed reforms are aimed at improving the safety regime by bringing it in line with that of the railway generally; providing a new procedure to allow for the compulsory closure of level crossings and clarifying the law relating to rights of way across railways. The proposed reforms would bring level crossings into the general Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 system, with special provision for level crossing plans to be made when required. This will no doubt feature in the forthcoming inquiry into safety at level crossings by the Transport Select Committee. PACTS anticipates that oral evidence sessions will be held in late October and early November.
Other national safety news
There have been a number of recent initiatives to provide advice and assistance to older drivers. GEM Motoring Assist funded the production of a DVD called Still Safe to Drive which focuses on providing essential information to aging drivers on how to stay as safe and mobile as possible. Meanwhile, RICA (Research Institute for Consumer Affairs) has released its new guide Driving safely for life, based on research carried out in May 2013, the document is designed to help older drivers to think about their driving and make the right choices whilst remaining safe and independent. The document is available for download here. PACTS contributed to this project.
RSSB has begun its T997 research project into Managing occupational road risk associated with road vehicle driver fatigue. The RSSB recognises that many railway workers use road vehicles to travel between home and work or from job to job during the course of their shift. This research aims to help reduce road vehicle accidents caused by driver fatigue. It shares information on the causes of fatigue, and how to identify the warning signs, and gives practical advice for drivers and managers on how to reduce the risk of a fatigue-related road traffic accident. The deliverables comprise: two good practice guides – one aimed at road vehicle drivers and the other aimed at their managers; a summary leaflet for drivers; and an awareness raising poster for the workplace.
European safety news
In aviation, the EC’s proposed Flight Time Limitation regulations (pilots flying hours) have today been backed by the European Parliament. The transport committee’s recommendation to dismiss the new rules was rejected by 387 MEPs, with 218 voting in favour and 66 abstaining. With EU officials insisting that the regulations will boost safety standards and ensure that European airlines will have the same maximum flight time limits. The Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has backed the EC stance on the proposals.
The proposed Flight Time Limitation regulations had been rejected by EU Transport Committee, seemingly vindicating the position taken by our sister organisation the ETSC (European Transport Safety Council) and by the UK Air Safety Group which advises PACTS. These bodies recognise that EC proposals are a comprehensive attempt at resolving the problem of fatigue from excessive pilot hours but argue that the proposals do not fully and properly reflect the scientific evidence that ‘should underpin fatigue management’. Whilst they may raise standards in some EU member states the UK Air Safety Group argues strongly that they would reduce them for the UK. The 24th Westminster Lecture, Staying Awake, Staying Alive: the problem of fatigue in the transport sector (see above) is highly relevant.
Also in Brussels progress continues with the cross-border enforcement of certain road safety offences. On the 31st August 2012, the Vice President of the European Commission Mr. Kallas, told Members of the European Parliament that “the Commission, as guardian of the Treaty, will take all necessary measures to ensure the transposition of the Directive on position of cross-border enforcement of legislation.” He added that if necessary they would be ready to launch infringement proceedings Article 258.
The annual European Transport Safety Lecture will be held at the Grand Hotel Esplande 15, 10785 Berlin, on the 21st of November 2013, from 16.30 to 19.30. The lecture will be given by Prof Dietmar Otte from the Medical University of Hannover and will address the topic of road safety data. Attendance is free but places limited and to register contact Ms. Luana Bidasca, ETSC Policy Officer by clicking here.
PACTS member news
The PACTS Members Meeting will be held at 3pm, 5 November, Thatcher Room Portcullis House, Westminster. It is open to all PACTS members who will be advised of further details. Please note that the HOC authorities may change the room booking at short notice.
PACTS is pleased to announce that Tullow Oil and the Motor Cycle Industry Association have recently joined PACTS.
Jobs at PACTS
PACTS wishes to recruit the following:
- Transport Safety Commission & Working Party Manager (4/5 days per week)
- Office & Events Manager (3 days per week)
- Road Environment Working Party Chair (unpaid post)
If you are interested in applying, please email the Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Further details will be placed on the PACTS website shortly.
PACTS, 10 October 2013