SAFETY NEWS - WEEK COMMENCING 19 JANUARY 2004
limits legality challenged
The majority of 30mph speed limits on rural roads could be illegal
after what is being described as a landmark ruling in Worcestershire
(Surveyor, 8 January).
The CPS is planning to appeal to the High Court after Redditch
Magistrates found a driver not guilty of exceeding a 30mph speed
limit because the road did not legally exist.
The ABD brought the case claiming that several councils creating
30mph zones had used a section of the Road Traffic Regulation
Act 1984 only intended for roads with streetlighting.
Suffolk County Council, however, was told by the DfT last year
that its use of section 82, supported by repeater signs, was legally
sound but not good practice.
dodgers risk lives
Some drivers believe they have found a new way to avoid speed traps
- by driving on the wrong side of the road (Huddersfield Daily Examiner).
Motorists have been filmed by speed cameras playing a deadly new
game of veering over on the opposite side of the road - sometimes
into the path of oncoming cars - in a desperate bid to avoid speed
cameras. Officers at the West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership,
which monitors speed cameras, said they had seen a dramatic rise
in dodging drivers.
Partnership spokesman Philip Gwynne said concern was
rising as the cameras had already filmed a number of heart-stopping
near misses. "Cars are being driven down the wrong side of
the road in the face of oncoming traffic," he said. "Motorists
pulling out of side roads will not be looking out for vehicles coming
towards them from the wrong direction, neither will pedestrians
crossing the road."
He said the potentially deadly tactic did nothing to help get drivers
off the hook. Speeding motorists would be caught no matter which
side of the road they were on. "It doesn't matter if a car
is on the white lines or is on the other side of the road at the
side of them. Their position and speed can still be calculated."
More @ http://ichuddersfield.icnetwork.co.uk
defence of speed cameras
The following piece appeared in New Statesman last week and
can be viewed at http://www.newstatesman.co.uk/nsleader.htm.
"What a strange attitude we have to lawbreakers in cars. Attempts
to enforce speed limits are denounced as interference with ancient
"Motorists who drive too fast are excused on the grounds that
they are otherwise law-abiding, a description that may
as easily be applied to wife-beaters or child molesters. Upright
citizens boast of victories over breathalysers, speed cameras and
parking tickets. The Sun launches a stop the highway robbery
campaign against the cameras while a lunatic fringe attacks them
with hammers and airguns, and threatens explosives. Traffic wardens
who it is proposed should have powers to book drivers for
disobeying no right turn signs or loitering in yellow
box junctions - are derided even by that paragon of metropolitan
chatterers, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Ministers tremble at the tabloids'
wrath and agree to consider proposals to remove cameras where they
do not protect the public. This is an incoherent thought
even by today's standards. If a legal limit on speed exists, it
is worth enforcing.
"Our love affair with the motor car blinds us to logic and
common sense. We strain every sinew to protect children from paedophile
murderers. Yet, the number of child pedestrians killed on the roads
annually is ten times greater than the number killed by perverted
strangers. It is also higher than in France or Germany. The yearly
toll of death on the roads exceeds that exacted by Osama Bin Laden's
madmen in New York in 2001, and is vastly higher than the number
of Britons killed in all recent terrorist attacks. On any sane risk
assessment, speed cameras on roads - which have been shown to cut
deaths and serious injuries by 35 per cent - are more necessary
than armed marshals on aeroplanes.
"There is no argument whatever for treating errant motorists
more leniently than any other class of offender, or for making less
determined efforts to catch them. Even an ignored no right
turn sign can cause death or injury to innocent people. An
illegally parked car - which may itself lead to an accident - is
simply theft of road space, an expensive and scarce commodity. Retailers
stuff their stores with cameras to deter shoplifters who cause no
physical harm to anybody. It is hardly possible to walk a hundred
yards along a high street or a few feet across an airport lounge
without surveillance. Why should it be different when we get into
a motor vehicle? The police are said to hound lawbreaking motorists
in preference to pursuing burglars. Why is this such a reprehensible
order of priorities? Burglars cause loss and distress, but rarely
kill or maim.
"The argument that exceeding the speed limit is acceptable
when the road is deserted or the schools are on holiday is preposterous.
Children are more, not less, likely to be wandering around in the
holidays, and pedestrians may unwittingly put themselves at risk
in the belief that the limit is being observed. In any case, a pedestrian
hit by a vehicle travelling at 40mph will almost certainly be killed,
while one hit at 20mph will almost certainly survive.
"Nor is it so scandalous that revenue from motoring fines swells
police and Treasury coffers. Raising money from the taxation of
socially undesirable behaviour - whether it be smoking, emitting
greenhouse gases or parking at road junctions - is a perfectly sound
principle. Indeed, the Tory proposal that motorists who exceed the
limit by small margins should pay higher fines rather than suffer
licence endorsements has - unusually - some merit.
"Cars seem to create a state of arrested adolescence in many
users. Behind the wheel, middle-class, middle-aged men (and the
worst drivers are nearly always men) become as reckless and heedless
as teenagers. They resemble naughty schoolboys not only in their
determination to flout authority, but also in their resentment when
they are picked on.
"Yet a car is potentially a lethal weapon. The use of it is
a privilege, not a right; the minority who forget that deserve to
be hounded as mercilessly as any housebreaker or teenage vandal."
letters sent to speeding drivers
North Wales Police has sent around 800 letters to motorists
caught driving at one mile per hour under the 38mph prosecution
threshold. A spokeswoman for the initiative, part of the Arrive
Alive campaign, said the scheme had been so successful that it may
be extended to people caught driving at 35 and 36mph.
The Arrive Alive spokeswoman said: "Our main aim is to educate
people about the dangers of speeding and get them to reduce their
speed. We want people to realise that they are breaking the speed
limit even though they might not have been booked."
"We've been targeting people driving at 37mph, but in the future
we may extend this to anyone driving over 35mph. So far we've had
very positive feedback."
More @ http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk
Advice on addressing the road engineering needs
of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds has been promised by the Institute
of Highway Incorporated Engineers (IHIE).
The DfT has awarded a contract to the IHIE for a scoping study prior
to preparing design guidelines for motorcycling. Welcoming the contract,
Tony Sharp, IHIE council member and chair of the
drafting group said: "There are more motorcycles and scooters
on the road than ever before. If the Governments target of
reducing rider casualties is to be achieved we have to design the
road environment to make motorcycling safer."
announces Safety Challenges workshop
Road Operators' Safety Council ((ROSCO) is presenting a workshop
- Safety Challenges - for people with responsibility for road safety.
The workshop will take place on Wednesday 10 March at Volvo Truck
& Bus Ltd, Warwick. Guest speakers will include Chris
Moyes, Go-Ahead, Professor Peter Russell,
Driver Education Research Foundation and Jan Kaye,
Head of Training, Thomas International.
The workshop fee is £64 plus VAT for ROSCO company members
and £96 plus VAT for others. For further information or to
book contact Yvonne Brittan, ROSCO 395 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 2DJ.
Tel 01865 775552. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
announces extra £20m for urban buses
A total of £19.6m is to be awarded
to 40 urban bus schemes, transport minister Tony McNulty
announced last week. The money, from the Urban Bus Challenge Competition,
will go to a wide range of bus schemes to help tackle urban deprivation
and social exclusion across England.
The awards follow last months Local Transport Plan settlement,
in which major bus schemes in Northampton, West Yorkshire, Manchester,
Coventry, Milton Keynes, Cambridgeshire and Luton were approved.
"This year's award-winning schemes range from new or improved
bus services to dial-a-ride initiatives," Tony McNulty said.
The inclusion of pilot 'Kickstart' schemes this year is a new
addition to the competition. These are schemes that, with a certain
amount of initial funding, have the potential to attract sufficient
patronage to have a sustainable future - in many cases as commercial
services. The bids are put forward in collaboration with local
announces details of MORR seminar
Compared to other work environments, almost
three times as many employees die or are seriously injured while
driving on company business.
RoSPA's MORR - Focusing on Performance seminar will update
those involved in fleet management or safety on the latest developments
in this area. It will also offer advice on good practice and guidance
on how to develop and implement effective road risk management systems.
The seminar will take place at Holiday Inn, A55 Chester West on
Wednesday 18 February. The price per delegate is £149 plus
VAT. For full programme information visit www.rospa.com/morr
or call RoSPA event administration on 0121 248 2120.