Road Safety News
 

22 countries participate in speed 'marathon’

Tuesday 14th April 2015

22 countries took part in the first pan-European 24-hour ‘speed enforcement marathon’ which was organised by TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network.

The initiative will run from 0600 on Thursday 16 April until 0600 on Friday 17 April in the following EU member states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and the United Kingdom. In addition, Norway, although not an EU member state, is also taking part.

In the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the concept was conceived, members of the public have been invited to vote on the locations where they would like speed enforcement measures to take place.

Across Germany, 13,000 officers will be involved at 7,000 speed checkpoints, most of whch have been requested by members of the public. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland will conduct joint speed checks and border security controls along the ‘Via Baltica’. In Serbia, 1,000 officers will be involved in speed controls, and a total of 90 speed checkpoints in Cyprus have been chosen for the marathon.

Aidan Reid, TISPOL president, said: “The speed marathon is all about prevention.

“We want drivers to think about the speeds they choose; speeds which are both legal and appropriate for the conditions. By doing so, they will be reducing the risks they face and the risks they pose to other road users.

“That’s why we encourage participating countries and police forces to publish information about the precise locations of speed checkpoints in advance. We want to get into the heads of drivers, not their purses.

“We encourage members of the public to join our road safety conversation and show their support for this life-saving work on Twitter, using the #TISPOLOpSpeed hashtag.

“Illegal and/or inappropriate speed is the single biggest factor in fatal road collisions. That’s why police officers take action against drivers who fail to comply with speed limits.

“The 24-hour speed marathon is one component in our strategy for reducing casualties, and making Europe’s roads safer.”

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Idris says :-

"Incidentally, it is no coincidence that the most vociferous opponents of speed enforcement are engineers, because they understand that if they prefer opinions to facts their brides will collapse, their circuitry will blow fuses, their engines will blow up."

He is perhaps being rather selective with his "facts". With lower speed limits being chosen and implemented by Highway Engineers & Traffic Engineers around the country. With over half of the largest urban authorities rejecting the 30mph national limit in favour of authority-wide 20mph limits.

Indeed, Automotive Engineers around the world are developing technology to enable vehicles to avoid vulnerable road users at speeds of 20mph or less in the urban realm.

The "fact" is that whilst some "engineers", like Idris, may indeed "vociferously oppose" lower speeds many more are just getting on with accepting and designing for an urban realm that works for people as well as machines.

And finally may I express my condolences if Idris has had any unfortunate experiences with "collapsed brides".

Rod King - BSc Auto Eng, Loughborough
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)
+3

Thanks Nick, but no doubt like many on this forum I see Idris as nothing more than someone on a mission to prove the authorities wrong and himself right - unfortunately for us he's picked the field of road safety to try and do this which is tiresome, repetitive and ultimately fruitless.

"..uninformed opinion, guesswork and wishful thinking", if repeated over and over ultimately become 'facts' in the mind of the campaigner" Elementary my dear Idris.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)
+3

Idris
With regard to your post below to Hugh, I feel I must point out that you, and virtually every other regular contributor to discussion threads on this newsfeed, do quite regularly supplement 'facts' and evidence with personal opinion and anecdotes which are offered to support an opinion or belief.

If Hugh is suffering from 'cognitive dissonance' (and I'm not suggesting he is) then he is far from alone on this newsfeed!
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

Agree (7) | Disagree (2)
+5

Hugh has again confirmed that he suffers from cognitive dissonance, the preference for how own opinions and beliefs over evidence. My web site is "fight back with facts" because I do the opposite.

Incidentally, it is no coincidence that the most vociferous opponents of speed enforcement are engineers, because they understand that if they prefer opinions to facts their brides will collapse, their circuitry will blow fuses, their engines will blow up.

I repeat, Hugh, we need policies based on honest and competent analysis of the evidence, not uninformed opinion, guesswork and wishful thinking. Long befoe Sherlock Holmes appeared someone said "If wishes were horses then beggars would ride".
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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-4

I don't disagree with all that you say Duncan but, and I think that you would agree, that sometimes we can actually draw the right conclusions from what we see as output. Together with a trained, observant and objective mind we can sometimes realise correctly what inputs were wrong.

Surely this is the basis of knowledge and learning. Realise a wrongful output, a wrong doing, study it, understand it and then take action to correct it. Also making sure that the cause of the wrong output is corrected also at source.
Bob Craven Lancs..... Space is Safe Campaigner

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+5

I'm not sure how many more comments the editor will allow on this, but Duncan's point about only focussing on the outputs is the whole point of this news article anyway - i.e. the output is speeding and needs to be addressed.

Why the individuals speed in the first place (or do lots of other anti-social things for that matter) is for the sociologists ad psychiatrists to deal with, but I'm not sure we have the time to wait for their solutions so we have to deal directly with the outputs.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-2

A person can observe road user 'behaviour' as much as they like, but unless they have a grasp of the interactions within the system that generates that behaviour all they will see is outputs not inputs. Even then those outputs will be viewed through the biases held by the observer so they will often reflect more on the capabilities of the observer than the observed. The scientific method (much favoured by Sherlock Holmes) is designed to cut through the biases and the simple pat explanations to determine the underlying truth. As Holmes once said "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact" and the obvious facts in this case (the outputs) decieve us as to the actual facts (the inputs) and so we end up drawing the wrong conclusions.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+1

Possibly Duncan and Idris have misunderstood what I was getting at, but it's well summed up by Sherlock Holmes's famous quote: "You see but you do not observe Watson" and I suspect that Duncan and Idris are getting too bogged down in theories, analysis, graphs, numbers etc. and are overlooking the importance of actually observing road user behaviour to get a better understanding of the problems.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-2

The drivers that crashed into me on my motorbike also believed the irrefutable evidence of their eyes and ears that there was no bike there that they would crash into. As it turned out they were catastrophically wrong to rely on the evidence of their own senses which is why it's so dangerous to set policy on what people believe they see.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+6

Another way of phrasing Hugh's preference for his own beliefs is the the phrase I conjured up some years ago after receiving innumerable replies ignoring the evidence I had submitted "My mind is made up, please do not confuse me with the facts."
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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+3

Might have been my phrasing Duncan, but I mean to say that I have belief in the irrefutable evidence of my own eyes and ears. Hope that's clearer!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-3

Beliefs Hugh? I would rather work with hard facts determined through careful research and the compilation of irrefutable evidence than what somebody only believes to be true.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+3

Rod:
I have said in the past that I stand by what I believe and I don't believe that merely reducing speed limits is the be all and end all of road safety. I am fearful that it will for some drivers reduce further the space given between vehicles and that could become increasingly dangerous. However I am fully aware, as is everyone reading this forum, that this country or rather this government has, as a political expedience, adopted the scheme and I am sure that it will be further adopted but not unfortunately enjoyed by the majority of the driving public.

Similarly I accept that my campaign is not the be all of road safety. Merely one facet that has not been understood, forgotten and as such not examined properly. I believe just as you do with yours that it will go some way to reducing incidents and therefore deaths and injuries on the road.

We are both aiming towards the same end and therefore on the same side. I am trying to change perspectives and offer drivers an opportunity to change their behaviour themselves without depending on forced legislation.
Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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+3

Hugh.
I agree entirely. There is a link, the greater the speed the greater the space required. We all know about speed and its dangers but do we appreciate just how Space effects driving and subsequently the accident statistics? No we don't. If someone cannot stop in time due to speed then that indicates a lack of ability on the part of the driver/rider to determine the correct distance that their vehicle should have been at that speed and from whatever danger exists or has become apparent.

However, by giving proper stopping space or Distance as opposed to tailgating the driver/rider has a greater potential to view the road conditions ahead and how they are and/or anticipate just how they may change. To observe and recognise the potential of any possible danger at a distance before it materialises further and to take early preventative measures. This is of course the basis of all Advanced driving and Riding. Further the other party, if there is one, would have a better opportunity of seeing the vehicles approach due to the giving of space and thus there is a greater chance of an incident being nullified or to some degree mitigated. All due to the fact that road users can see more of each other and be seen more by others.
Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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+5

Bob:
You're obviously right about some drivers driving too close and causing rear-end shunts when they can't stop in time, but that is just one of many accident scenarios and there are lots more where lack of space was not the most determining factor, but the approach speed was and therefore 'too fast to stop/avoid/stay in control' was again the main determining factor. Speed and space are linked, but I don't think it's a case of one or the other.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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0

I think I'll be sticking stick with my own beliefs and understanding of how road accidents occur thanks Duncan.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-2

Bob
You say "If the answer was to slow all vehicles down then the 20 is plenty supporters would have a field day. If that was to be the case why have the speed limits not come down by now either by consent or legislation? Surely before now there would be sufficient evidence throughout Europe to justify a slower limit in all areas?"

To which surely the answers to the two questions are :-
Yes, they are, in over half of the largest urban authorities in the UK and in most urban streets in many countries in Europe.

Yes, there is sufficient evidence, but it takes time and money to make the changes, especially with the UK's archaic signage regulations.

There is a very good case for having more space between vehicles, but arguing against lower speeds (and therefore presumably for the maintenance or increase of speeds) would merely reduce the benefit of any space that does exist.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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-1

If the answer was to slow all vehicles down then the 20 is plenty supporters would have a field day. If that was to be the case why have the speed limits not come down by now either by consent or legislation? Surely before now there would be sufficient evidence throughout Europe to justify a slower limit in all areas?

Unfortunately even with all the technology that we have at our disposal so far there is no factual evidence that speed is the causation that everyone believes it to be. Maybe a contributory factor. Is there another element that seems to have eluded us over the years?

That to me is easy, it's space, the distances between vehicles. Yes and its relation to speed. In other words it's no use reducing speed if 3 or 4 out of ten drivers are still going to be so close so that they cannot brake with insufficient space between themselves and a leading vehicle and in an emergency situation. More and more vehicles on a road and those vehicles are driving by some far too close together. The following like sheep effect and the fixation effect.

I would ask every driving instructor to explain the Highway Code S. 126 to all learner drivers and make them aware that they need to keep the safe distance as shown, being the total stopping distances at various speeds.
bob craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner.

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+4

Firstly Hugh the reason variables are called variables is because they vary! Therefore the idea that there can be equality among variables is patently wrong.

Secondly it is a common, but easy mistake to assume that speed is a significant variable in determining the future state of the system because many people think that it's the only variable in the system.

It's best understood that the two primary variables of any driver/vehicle combination are the ability to vary the speed and vary the direction. If we consider any change in direction to be a response to the variation in the system (turn left in left-hander's and right in right-hander's) then why do people think that a variation in speed is not the result of variation in the system as well? Perhaps a good illustration of this is the speed of any individual vehicle in a queue of slow-moving traffic. The speed of travel of that vehicle is clearly and obviously dictated by the variation in the system that caused the queue in the first place!

Systems thinking and the understanding of variation is not all that easy in the beginning Hugh, but stick with it and pretty soon everything starts to make perfect sense.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (5) | Disagree (6)
-1

In the context of this particular item though Duncan i.e speed management, assuming all the other variables are equal, the individual's speed with respect to other road users and the environment would still be the most significant variable in determining 'what happens next' and the one which is most under the control of the driver and able to be influenced by the authorities to a certain degree.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+6

And that's the key thing Hugh, the amazing ability to manage huge amounts of internal and external variation to achieve a successful outcome. Sometimes, but only sometimes though the variation in all the system elements overwhelms the ability of a driver or rider to manage it and that is the cause of accidents. The biggest threat to safety on the road therefore is the normal everyday variation in the entire system and not just the variation in one or two selected elements of it.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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-3

Staggering - with all that going on, it's amazing any of us manage incident free journeys at all really -although 99.99% of us do.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+5

Certainly Hugh, as all a human beings do is manage the variables in their surroundings an appreciation of the huge number of things they have to juggle is always going to be beneficial.

Let’s start with the person themselves, but in no particular order: blood sugar, fatigue, skill, knowledge, visual acuity, comfort, goals and goal conflicts, aural inputs, experience, time and time pressures, passenger management, distraction, attraction, age, disease, disability and pain.

In the natural environment we have wind, weather including rain, fog and ice, temperature, light intensity and direction, depth and extent of shadow, time of day, time of year, glare and reflections, altitude and pressure.

In the vehicle we have the state of the tyres and brakes, fuel level and distance to next fuel stop, adjustment of the mirrors, clarity of the glazing, the load and its distribution, the output from in-car entertainment system, feedback from the controls, warnings, information and indications.

On the road we have surface condition and contamination, layout of curves, turns, junctions, entrances and exits, width, signs, camber, temporary works, speed, height and width restrictions, roadside furniture and establishments, presence of pavements and pedestrian accesses and if it’s an urban or rural setting.

Other road users with different vehicle types, traffic density, vehicle vectors, animals and people.

The invisible variables such as gaps and affordances and the onset of unforeseen events.

This list is but a tiny fraction of the total number of variables that exist and each one in the list has its own sub-systems all with their own range of variables. Add this to the fact that the amount of variation exhibited by each element is compounded by the variation in each and every one of the other variables and you begin to get an idea just how important the understanding of variation actually is.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (8) | Disagree (2)
+6

Derek.
If you add up 14% and 18% it totals 32% and so that's the figure when taking into account speed related deaths. That's a large % when you have to look at maybe 20 other causes. Presuming use of phone maybe only 3% of the total, 32% is a large chunk. Almost one third of all deaths if correct.

Let's not forget that a large % of deaths on the road are motorcycle related and therefore speed, whether it's just excessive or actually above the speed limit, is a relevant factor.
Bob Craven Lancs... Space is Safe campaigner

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+8

Anyone would think this one day was going to be the sum total of roads policing for the whole year.

This operation is for one day out of 365 when police forces across Europe will together focus on speed as an issue. I have no doubt that many other safety and enforcement matters will come to light within that operation and will also be dealt with by the officers who find them.

Other major regional, national and international operations are also undertaken that concentrate on other factors such as seatbelt wearing or drink-drug driving and vehicle safety and loading. This is just one of a series and, as such, should be welcomed and encouraged – enforcement is an essential part of all our work to prevent collisions and casualties.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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+3

Duncan: Could you enlighten us as to what some of the 'thousands of variables' might be?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+5

Rod,

Stats19 does not record the cause of a road accident, only the opinion of the reporting officer.

With regard to speed, any speed above 0mph may attract the involvement of speed as a contributory factor - how could it not? If there were no speed involved there would possibly be no collision - unless it involved the speed of a falling tree on a stationary vehicle.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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+6

In any pre-accident situation there will be many thousands of variables that all have to be at a particular level in order for the accident to occur. It seems strange then that just one of these thousands of variables is often picked out as being 'causal' while the rest of them are completely ignored.

Maybe this gives us a much better insight to the thought proceses and biases of the person picking the one variable out of the thousands than it does of the thought processes of the people actually managing those variables at the time of an accident.

Of course the reason why one variable out of the thousands is selected as being causal is because it's the only variable out of the lot of them that can be measured! Maybe sometimes other variables are considered due to their binary function such as when somebody did or didn't do something, but it's the measurable variable that generates the most heat, but which often casts the least light!
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (7) | Disagree (4)
+3

Very well put Rod.

The limitations of collision reporting mask the part that vehicle speeds play in collisions and drivers need to be made more aware of this and be encouraged to manage and control their speed for the prevailing circumstances, through either encouragement, education or enforcement. Collisions where the 'factors' listed in your first paragraph are mentioned are, as you rightly suggest, inexorably linked with the vehicle(s) speed(s) in the moments leading up to the collision.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (3)
+5

Derek

If you look at the Stats 19 form you will find that speed is a factor in most of the other contributory causes to collisions. eg swerving, sudden braking, loss of control, failed to look properly, failed to judge other person's path or speed, etc.

You also need to bear in mind that a police constable reporting a collision can only put down what he knows. Clearly the pre-incident speed is in many cases outside of his/her observation.

In many collisions the event may have been avoided or the consequences mitigated if the speed of participants had been less and they had more time and distance to take avoiding action.

Its why speed is widely recognised in road danger reduction as a key determinant in collision and casualty rates.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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+5

I don't condone inappropriate use of speed but I don't think roads will get safer whilst we concentrate on speed alone. It's easy to enforce speed limits and is lucrative as the fines track up. I had a radar gun pointed at me (no I wasn't speeding) just behind the officer a car pulls across my right of way making me brake, I have also had a car written off next to a fixed speed camera when a driver pulled out and hit the side of my car. Can we please get the traffic police back on patrol so that drivers with an attitude can be picked up on!
Peter

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+12

Quote: -
"Illegal and/or inappropriate speed is the single biggest factor in fatal road collisions."

Statistics show that inattention and failure to judge anothers speed and trajectory are higher in percentage of fatalities than either speeding or inappropriate speed. Exceeding the speed limit was contributory in 14% of fatals, and inappropriate speed "traveling too fast for the conditions" a contributory factor in 18% of fatals. How does TISPOL relate this to being the biggest single factor in all fatalities?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_collision
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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+7

If a community, whether it be local or national, through a democratic process decides that the maximum speed for drivers should be limited, then I see no circumstances whereby exceeding that speed may be considered "appropriate".
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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+3

Hugh is perfectly correct 'speed' is often viewed as anti-social; blights communities; intimidates vulnerable road users and is symptomatic of poor driving attitudes, so why then is this campaign focussing on safety? Something might be unpleasant, but that does not automatically make it unsafe.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

Agree (13) | Disagree (5)
+8

The issue is that 'appropriate' and legal' are seldom the same thing. Just as it is legal, but not 'appropriate' to drive past a school at chucking out time at 30mph, so it is 'appropriate', but not 'legal'to drive along an empty motorway at (let's say) 90 mph. The lawmakers need to ensure the limits are appropriate, not just imposed because some local councillor lives on a specific stretch of road, or the 70mph was thought a safe speed for drum-braked cars on crossply tyres back in the 1960s.
Rob Pritchard, Norfolk

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+19

"Illegal and/or inappropriate speed is the single biggest factor in fatal road collisions".

I have just been out and taken a look at my dashboard and I can't see the word 'inappropriate' written on the speedo anywhere. I think this word should be added to all vehicle speedo's with the utmost urgency as the lack of it is clearly causing many fatalities!
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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-9

Let's not forget that speeding is an offence anyway - it's anti-social; blights communities; intimidates vulnerable road users and is symptomatic of poor driving attitudes, so whilst reduced collisions is the aim, there are other good reasons for enforcing limits. It's the most common of traffic offences and is by far the most common cause of traffic related complaints received by the Police and Councils.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-2

How will success or failure be measured? TISPOL say they want speeds to be "both legal and appropriate". Their action targets speed above the speed limit and that is likely to lead to driver's speeds being inappropriate more often, a greater cause of collisions. If TISPOL's actions were to lead to more injuries, how would we know? If fewer, that could not be determined either.

It would be more useful if speed enforcement were to be targeted within scientific trials, then we could be sure of the effect and therefore target scarce resources effectively. Let's start an evidence-led approach.
Dave Finney, Slough

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+10