First quarter casualties down
National statistics on road casualties in Great Britain for the first quarter of 2006, published recently by the DfT, show a fall in casualties in accidents reported to the police.
The provisional figures indicate that the number of fatalities in road accidents fell by 2% in the 12 months ending March 2006, compared with the previous 12 months. Total casualties were down 3%, and killed and seriously injured casualties down 4%.
For the full statistics go to: http://www.dft.gov.uk
Wearing helmets 'more dangerous'
Cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing vehicles, new research from Bath University suggests.
The study found drivers tend to pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than those who are bare headed. But RoSPA said tests have shown helmets protect against injuries.
The experiment, which recorded 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Dr Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University's Department of Psychology, said: "This study shows that when drivers overtake a cyclist, the margin for error they leave is affected by the cyclist's appearance.
"By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements.
"We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial. Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place," he added.
For the full story go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk
BrightKidz launches autumn catalogue
Safe Kids Walking (also known as BrightKidz) has launched its new catalogue of fluorescent, reflective products and walk to school promotional items.
The catalogue features many new multi-colour BrightKidz and BrightSportz products and introduces Bright Basics, a budget range of traditional high vis products.
The social enterprise was started by parent and walking bus coordinator Alison Holland nearly three years ago, when she saw how effective fluorescent clothing was for her own children walking to school - but was unable to find any styles that appealed to children.
Since then the organisation has grown significantly and now sells nearly 300 different products to schools, local authorities and the public via its website, www.brightkidz.co.uk .
Alison Holland says: "Our new catalogue is not just about products - we include a lot of information on how to be seen. Many children, parents, teachers and others do not understand the 'fluorescent for day, reflective for night' message, so we use our catalogue and website to help get that across."
For free copies of the catalogue and local authority or school discount prices contact email@example.com.
NU conducts online safety survey
As a result of capturing data on driving behaviour, the insurer Norwich Union has created a substantial database of information that it thinks may be useful to road safety professionals.
In order to better understand the data requirements of RSOs, Norwich Union is conducting an online web survey. The survey poses a number of road safety related questions, and Norwich Union is keen for LARSOA members to participate in the study.
Click here to complete the survey.
Young urged to drink and drive
A Dutch scientist has been encouraging young people to drink and drive - on a racing track.
Karel Brookhuis, of the University of Groningen, says his special course dissuades them from drink-driving for real. Young people taking driving lessons in his home town of Emmen are offered the course.
They drink alcohol until they reach the drink-drive limit and then go onto the track to attempt a slalom course, parking and an emergency stop. According to Mr Brookhuis, every person to take the course in the 10 years they have been running has failed the test.
"But at the same time they realise it is impossible to drive properly once they had drunk alcohol," he said. "Youngsters who took the drink driving test were not likely to attempt to drink and drive in their later life."
Each year 160 young people in Emmen enlist for the test and Brookhuis said he would like to extend it nationwide.
For the full story go to: http://www.ananova.com
Teach learner drivers about drink and drug dangers, TTC says
The TTC Group is calling on driving schools to join a campaign to cut down on the number of young drink drive offenders, which would have an effect on reducing the UK's road casualty rate.
The TTC Group puts on more than 800 courses each year to re-educate around 10,000 motorists who fall foul of the drink drive laws.
"About 80% of offenders who come onto our course say they dearly wished they had the information on alcohol and drugs before they committed, what for many, was their first ever criminal offence," says TTC director, Graham Wynn.
He called on driving schools' to introduce a tailor made course as part of their driver training.
Prepare for corporate manslaughter, RoSPA warns fleets
RoSPA is to brief fleet bosses on the new corporate manslaughter law, which will cover road deaths caused by an organisation's lack of care as well as fatalities in the workplace.
RoSPA, in conjunction with TRL, will stage a seminar, Road Deaths and Corporate Manslaughter - Fleet Impact, at Loughborough University on 18 October.
Charles Davis, RoSPA head of driver and fleet solutions, said: "Companies that pay scant regard to managing health and safety are on notice. The corporate manslaughter law will mean that, where safety failure has been particularly bad, corporations can be successfully prosecuted following work-related deaths due to their recklessness. These cases will include death on the road.
"Our seminar will help organisations to check out their arrangements for health and safety risk management and to learn about new developments."
For more details ring 0870 777 2120 or , e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org , or go to: http://www.rospa.com/cmseminar
Darlington announces cycle training dates
Darlington Borough Council has announced the dates for its next two instructor training courses for national standards cyclist training.
Darlington is one of the eight accredited instructor training providers in England. The four-day courses, which cost £400, will take place 30 October - 2 November, and 27 - 30 November.
Following satisfactory completion of the course, students will be placed on the National Standard Cycling Register of Instructors after the required period of monitoring.
Further details can be obtained from Norma Sheppard, Norma.Sheppard@darlington.gov.uk or or 01325 388717. or Chris Kendrew, email@example.com or 01325 388710.
National Grid implements training programme
The international energy business, National Grid, is implementing a wide-ranging programme of assessment and training for anybody who drives on company business (RoadSafe news, August 2006).
The Drive & Survive programme requires all employees to complete an online driver risk assessment, which will analyse the driver's likely exposure to risk and allow the most vulnerable to be quickly identified.
Those thought to be at high risk will be invited to take part in on road practical coaching to raise awareness of the risks that routinely threaten drivers.
For more details about the programme go to: http://www.drivesurvive.co.uk.
Tests go ahead - despite strike
The Driving Standards Agency (DSA), which carries out Britain's driving tests, says that about 70% of practical tests booked last Monday went ahead despite a one day strike by examiners.
DSA chief executive Rosemary Thew said: "The dispute has arisen over plans to reorganise the Agency so that we can build up expertise in research and strategy, helping to reduce road deaths and injuries. Road safety is our primary aim and in order strengthen this part of our work we need to streamline others."
For further information contact the DSA on 0115 901 2851/2.
Study uncovers 'chimp cross code'
Experts studying chimpanzees while investigating the evolution of human social behaviour have uncovered their ability to safely cross roads.
The University of Stirling research was carried out with a small chimp community in West Africa. It found the dominant adult males took up protective positions in the group when it was tasked with crossing roads.
The study observed the chimpanzees crossing two roads - one large and busy with traffic and the other smaller and used mostly by pedestrians.
The less fearful and physically larger adult males took up forward and rear positions, with the adult females and young occupying the protected middle space.
Kimberley Hockings, who worked on the study, said: "Road-crossing, a human-created challenge, presents a new situation that calls for flexibility of responses by chimpanzees to variations in perceived risk, helping to improve our understanding about the evolution of human social organisation.
"Dominant individuals act cooperatively with a high level of flexibility to maximise group protection."
The findings have been published in the scientific journal Current Biology.
For the full story go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk