SAFETY NEWS - WEEK COMMENCING 5 JANUARY 2004
contributing to safety camera misery, says IAM
New research shows that three-quarters of all of drivers in built-up
areas are breaking the speed limit by mistake - simply because
they're in the wrong gear - according to the Institute of Advanced
The IAM and BBC Radio 4s Today programme commissioned research
to establish the scale of the problem and at the same time analyse
contributory factors. The poll is thought to be the first to focus
on the causation of speeding offences by addressing aspects of
"Quite often, otherwise safe drivers are on the wrong end
of the camera because of a moment of inattention. A typical scenario
is a flash and a fine, with immediate points on the licence, because
a driver has let his or her speed drift up by perhaps
just a few miles an hour," said IAM chief examiner Bryan
Drawing on a survey base of 1000 participants, MORI took a typical
30mph urban driving situation and asked: Do you ever find the
car tends to creep above 30mph without you realising
it? 74 per cent said yes.
Then pollsters asked drivers of manual cars which gear they are
normally in if they are doing a steady 30mph. Nobody questioned
was allowed to just say top gear. The vast majority
of respondents (79 per cent) have modern, five speed gear boxes.
To do a steady thirty miles an hour, the majority (54 per cent)
of the drivers surveyed thought that they should be in fourth
"Driving habits mean people want to change up the gearbox
as quickly as possible without thinking too much about it,"
said Mr Lunn. "The IAM believes that drivers in manual cars
could prevent themselves going too fast inadvertently by using
the interim gears - especially third gear - more often and for
longer in urban driving."
For further information visit iam.org.uk
or ring 020 8996 9600.
transport towns short list unveiled
Seven English towns have made the shortlist to receive funding through
the DfTs Sustainable Transport Town initiative.
The DfT has set aside £7.5m to help develop plans for sustainable
transportation in two towns in England. These towns will incorporate
all aspects of best practice to encourage walking, cycling and other
public transport use and act as showcases for other towns wishing
to promote greater travel choice.
The short listed towns are Halifax, Darlington, Peterborough, Worcester,
Hereford, Wolverhampton and Weston-Super-Mare. Each will now submit
fully worked up plans to deliver a sustainable transport scheme
through reducing car dependency, tackling traffic congestion and
helping the provision of a wider diversity of modes of transport
for the public.
The towns on the shortlist were chosen from fifty outline schemes
submitted at the end of September. The two winning towns will be
announced next year.
More @ www.dft.gov.uk.
call for national data collection centre
Speed camera fines should be used to fund a national data collection
centre on road accidents thereby saving local authorities
a fortune in verifying information on crashes, senior
county officials urged recently (Surveyor 18 December).
Brian Goodwin, chair of the CSS traffic and safety
group told an AA seminar that better data is needed as part of mass
action to reduce road deaths and serious injury.
Given that councils are finding it increasingly difficult to locate
accident blackspots, more route action is needed, which is justified
in cost terms by whole life benefits typically
road improvements have a 300 per cent rate of return over their
life, Brian Goodwin added.
speed action dies a death
Welsh Assembly plans for a new rural road hierarchy and the introduction
of urban 20mph zones have had the brakes applied to the annoyance
of road safety campaigners and some ministers (Surveyor 18 December).
Former transport minister Sue Essex proposed a three-tier
speed hierarchy for rural roads, and new residential developments
to be subject to a 20mph limit - to help meet targets to reduce
road deaths and serious injuries.
After last Mays elections, however, Ms Essex moved to a more
senior post in the Welsh cabinet. Her successor, Brian Gibbons,
has said Wales cannot act independently to introduce wholesale changes
Although the Assembly set up a chapter five management
sub-group - named after a section of the road safety strategy for
Wales, which was published in January 2003 - the emphasis has now
shifted to more conventional methods of curbing speed.
minister announces speed scheme pilot
Scottish transport minister Nicol Stephen has invited
councils to come up with schemes to reduce traffic speeds on the
approaches to towns and villages. Mr Stephen backed a suggestion
that speeding vehicles might be forced to a halt using interactive
traffic signals (Surveyor 18 December).
The minister told MSPs that following the Scottish Executives
recent drive to introduce 20mph zones around every school, the new
priority is to reduce speeds on roads outside built up areas. He
wants to find out how best to achieve this by encouraging authorities
to trial different methods.
issues Parliamentary Briefing
PACTS has produced a Parliamentary Briefing calling attention to
the safety implications of the Traffic Management Bill. The Bills
second reading will take place on 5 January 2003.
Click here to read the briefing:
and cycling strategy disappoints campaigners
The final version of the Welsh Assemblys walking and cycling
strategy has been published - to sighs of disappointment from walking
groups who had hoped that it would adopt targets so far resisted
in Whitehall (Surveyor 18 December).
Wales has deferred to the UK Government by stalling on walking targets
until the DfT publishes its own walking strategy. The targets are
given a low priority in the strategy, pushed back until 2006 or
beyond, despite indications earlier in the year that the document
would include a target to increase the amount of walking.
Actions given a high priority include encouraging councils to adopt
cycle parking standards and policies to safeguard disused railway
lines for both walking and cycling, and a user code of conduct for