SAFETY NEWS - WEEK COMMENCING 26 JANUARY 2004
cycle helmet Bill backed
A Private Members Bill that would make it illegal for children
to ride a bicycle without wearing protective headgear has been
adopted by Labour MP Eric Martlew (Local Transport
Today, 15 January).
The Bill, which will get its second reading on 23 April, prompted
the National Cycling Strategy Board to issue a statement. The
statement said it was up to the individual to decide whether or
not to wear a cycle helmet, and that a mandatory requirement to
wear a helmet would be prejudicial to the realisation of
the benefits that safe cycling can offer our society as a whole.
want tougher drink driving laws, according to survey
Public opinion is changing and more people believe Britains
drink driving laws should be toughened up, according to a Christmas
and New Year survey conducted on the Guild of Experienced Motorists'
The question posed by GEM was simple: "Should Britain introduce
a lower blood alcohol limit of 50mg instead of the current 80mg?"
Visitors to the poll voted 79 per cent in favour of the reduction
and just 21 per cent against. The lower level is becoming the norm
The opinion expressed agrees with a call from the Association of
Chief Police Officers (ACPO) for a lower blood alcohol limit, following
figures that show a worrying increase in festive drink-drivers.
ACPO has asked the Government to follow the lead set by the European
Commission urging that the lower level be applied.
A total of 1,035 motorists failed the breath test in the annual
police Christmas and New Year drink drive campaign and the hit
rate of over-the-limit drivers among those tested after accidents
was 8.9 per cent compared with 8.71 per cent last year. The rate
of positive tests has been climbing since 1998.
More @ www.motoringassist.com.
chief enters cameras debate
Robert Gifford, PACTS executive director, entered
the cameras debate with the following statement issued on 14 January:-
"The last month seems to have been dominated by a debate about
speed cameras. You're either for them or against them. If you're
in favour, you want them everywhere. If you're against, you believe
that they are a fundamental attack on your right to drive. After
all, we are all better drivers than the average and the latter is
the one who causes all the accidents.
"I caricature the positions, of course, but we do seem to have
spent far too much time taking up positions without much analysis
of why action is needed.
"PACTS' position has always been to emphasise the importance
of speed management. As a corollary, once you accept the premise
that you need to manage speeds in both urban and rural areas, then
you also need to decide how to do that. Cameras are one tool; others
include traffic calming, vehicle-activated signs, road markings
and even the occasional sign.
"The complex position of speed management is not easily accessible
for those who want a simple answer. It's important, however, that
we keep emphasising that speed management is the key to progress.
In some places, we will need to reduce speed limits; in others,
we'll need to put in engineering solutions to reduce speeds and
improve safety; in a third set, we will want to improve enforcement
through technology such as the camera and through the presence of
uniformed police officers.
"Managing speed to improve safety and the quality of life in
communities remains crucial. At the same time, there is no magic
bullet to solve this rather intractable problem. Rather, we
need to hold on to our knowledge that some interventions are successful
and should be used where they will bring identified benefits. After
all, what counts is what works."
More @ www.pacts.org.uk
most dangerous addiction of all: the car
In an interesting piece that appeared in The Independent
last week, writer Deborah Orr referred to what she
described as the most dangerous addiction of all: the car.
In the article the writer takes issue with many of her colleagues
in the media who are championing the cause of motorists, whom they
view as blameless upstanding citizens who are victimised wherever
Ms Orr has a different perspective:-
"The truth, though, is that the streets are dangerous in part
because everyone is tucked away in their cars, not giving a monkeys
about anyone else as long as theyre all right, and resentful
of every tiny reminder that this is not actually a brave or moral
"Drivers have got to understand that many of their journeys
are undertaken not because there is no alternative, but because
theyre in the grip of an insidious and nasty addiction. And
they must start to understand that if they cant do the fine,
they shouldnt do the crime."
Food for thought.
claims e-merge will save 6,000 lives
Car manufacturer Renault has conducted a study that suggests
6,000 of the 40,000 lives lost on European roads every year could
be saved if cars were fitted with 'e-merge' or 'e-call' systems
that automatically alert emergency services in the event of a crash.
According to ERTICO, a Brussels-based transport research organisation,
e-merge systems could be operational by 2008, if given enough investment.
More @ www.pacts.org.uk
addresses speed reduction challenge
By 2020, the World Health Organisation predicts that the second
biggest cause of death will be road casualties. With an alarming
rise in road casualties in many countries, the increasing popularity
of cars capable of higher speeds and sweeping anti-public sentiment
about speed control measures, the task of reducing speed is a huge
challenge facing road safety officers, transport strategists and
Transport IQ has established a three day forum to look at
what is working in speed reduction around the world. Speakers from
the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, KwaZulu-Natal Department
of Transport in South Africa, Cranfield University, Napier University,
Lancashire County Council, Swedish National Road Administration
and many more will relay how they are incorporating the latest findings
into their engineering, education and enforcement programmes.
The forum, Effective Solutions to Reduce Road Speeding, will
take place 2628 April at Jurys Inn Hotel, Birmingham.
For further information about the programme and fees visit www.iqpc.co.uk/GB-2211/LAR
, or contact the organisers at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or +44 (0) 207 368 9300 or 0800 6522363l.
nominations for key posts
LARSOAs Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday
23 March at the Royal National Hotel, Woburn Place, London, 10.30am.
In advance of the meeting LARSOA secretary Brian Hogarth will be
calling for nominations for the posts of honorary secretary, honorary
treasurer and press and public relations officer.
In addition to the normal business of the meeting there will be
a number of invited speakers, including Nick Rawlings
(editor of the LARSOA newsfeed) and Kevin Clinton
Anyone wanting to know more about these posts or the meeting itself
should contact Brian Hogarth at email@example.com.
hosts conference on road safety topic of the moment
Brake, the road safety charity, in partnership with the Institution
of Civil Engineers (ICE) is hosting a one-day conference in Central
London with a range of expert speakers talking on the road safety
topic of the moment - speed.
Speed has risen to the top of the medias agenda and many road
safety professionals are increasingly being asked to respond to
queries about speed from journalists, companies and the public.
This conference will equip road safety professionals with up-to-the-minute
information about the contribution of speed to collisions and the
various approaches to speed management and their proven success.
The conference will take place on Wednesday 24 March at the Institution
of Civil Engineers, Westminster, London. The standard delegate fee
is £95, reducing to £75 for two or more delegates from
the same organisation.
For further information or to register contact Brake on 01484 559909
chief executive for RoSPA
John Howard, director of safety
policy at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, has
been appointed RoSPAs new chief executive.
Mr Howard, of Handsworth Wood, Birmingham, joined the Society 19
years ago from industry as director of home and leisure safety.
He later became responsible for road safety as well, and then in
1992 for all areas of RoSPAs campaigning, including safety
More @ rospa.co.uk