Road Safety News
 

John Plowman to chair Older Drivers Task Force

Monday 22nd December 2014

John Plowman has been unveiled as chair of the new Older Drivers Task Force which is being set up by the Road Safety Foundation with support from the Government.

The task force was proposed by the Road Safety Foundation in November as a key recommendation in its Making Road Safety Pay report, and in response to the fast growing population of older drivers. 

The task force will set out to provide practical support for older drivers and their families in the form of a comprehensive national strategy.  Initiatives it will consider include a focus on self-help, driver assistance technologies, better in-vehicle protection and road design for older drivers. 

The task force will review national and international evidence and best practice and is expected to report its findings to Government in mid-2016.

John Plowman is a former senior civil servant with a career in a number of Whitehall departments including Cabinet Office, Ministry of Defence, environment and transport. He carried responsibilities for road and vehicle safety policy and was chair of the driver and vehicle operator group at the Department for Transport 2002-3.

Outside the Civil Service, John Plowman is an associate of Risk Solutions and WSP and has carried out assignments for the Highways Agency, DEFRA, the AA, the IAM and the National Audit Office. As well as being a trustee of the Road Safety Foundation, he is a director of PACTS and RoadSafe.

John Plowman said: “As we live and work longer and lead healthier lives, we need to reconsider driving in later years, which is increasingly becoming the norm. A safe, mobile older population is essential to our social fabric and the UK economy.

“The task force will be seeking evidence across a wide range of disciplines. I am very grateful to the many organisations and eminent people who are offering to contribute. We will be calling formally for evidence early in the New Year.”

 

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A report has called for road junctions to be scrapped and replaced with roundabouts – supposedly because people aged over 70 want them. What evidence is there for this?

My husband and I are aged 72 and 70. When we are out and about, we first have to plan a route that avoids roundabouts. This can add a great deal of time on to the journey. When we drive to hospital, there is no way of avoiding some horrendous roundabouts with multiple lanes and so first we drive to our daughter’s house. Then we take a taxi. Then the whole journey has to be done in reverse.

There are no roundabouts in America that I have seen and their traffic flows smoothly through junctions with traffic lights.

Another point I should like to make. If the transport department are eager to spend money, I suggest we spend it on slowing down traffic with the use of pinch points. Currently the trend is for installation of speed bumps which do nothing to slow the traffic.

Not only do speed bumps encourage the speeding up of traffic to get over the bumps, living beside them is hell as empty skips rise into the air at speed and crash very noisily down again.

A car or bus ride over these bumps is extremely uncomfortable for people suffering with hip or back problems, a serious point not considered by road designers who have no such ailments. I predict local authorities are soon to be sued over this.

Not only would pinch points be more efficient, they would be more cost effective, as only one or two are required on an average length of road, compared to five or six speed bumps on some average length roads.

It would be helpful if those making these decisions were to consult people who are aged over 70. I am available.
Lynne Haywood - Chesterfield Derbyshire

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A I have just begun with my senior years I can and am looking forward to what ODTF propose for me. Maybe they will have something specific for us motorcyclists. Some of my friends are in their eighties.
Bob Craven Space is Safe. Campaigner

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