Road Safety News
 

TISPOL coordinates European speed enforcement operation

Wednesday 19th August 2015

Police officers across Europe conducted speed enforcement operations all last week as part of an annual campaign coordinated by TISPOL.

During the operation, police officers are using a number of speed detection methods across all types of roads.

TISPOL says the purpose of the operation is to “raise awareness of the dangers of speeding, and to remind drivers of the benefits for all road users of driving at speeds that are both legal and appropriate”.

Aidan Reid, TISPOL president, said: “We urge all drivers to challenge their own attitude to speeding. 

“Anyone who still believes that speeding is a trivial offence needs to think again. That’s because excessive or inappropriate speed has a singularly devastating impact on the safety of road users, increasing both the risk of a crash and the severity of the consequences.

“It is estimated that speeding contributes to as many as one third of all crashes resulting in death, and is the most important contributory factor to road deaths and serious injuries (ETSC 2008).

“All across Europe this week, police officers will be ensuring that drivers respect the different speed limits. In cases where drivers choose to ignore these limits, officers will take appropriate steps to enforce the law.”

A similar TISPOL operation in August 2014 saw a total of more than 580,000 detections in 28 countries across Europe.

 

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I agree with your comments Derek. I have found that with the giving of space as in your example on a motorway then if I am the full stopping distance between myself and the vehicle in front, a full 100 mtrs, then I am no longer concerned with another vehicle overtaking and then returning to lane and be in front of me. On the other hand if I was close up to the vehicle in front I would be miffed if any other vehicle dared to occupy that space... but it's not my space .....it belongs to everyone and indeed as you point out my fault for being too close in the first place. I have given that space as prescribed in the H.C. and I would rather he be in front of me where I can see him than up my backside pushing or annoying me and creating antipathy or concern. I have also found and argue with others who would say if they gave distance every time then they would be going backward. This is not a competition as to who can get there first. I argue back that they are still going forward and making progress at 60 or 70 mph so where is the going backward coming from? They are not going backward but travelling with a greater consideration first for themselves and then for the safety of other road users. They are breaking with the now accepted norm and enabling others to take advantage of that greater space. All vehicles still making progress. If more people travelled in that way then more will follow suit.
Bob Craven, Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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I find the time vs distance issue too complex (I’m simple). Most folk will understand the distance seen ahead of them as easier to comprehend than the time it will take to get to a point in that distance. It does have its validity, as time, distance and speed are inexorably linked, but the average driver is no fighter pilot, and even they rely on computers. Ask someone to stop in the available distance they can see in, is easier to grasp. Following on from that, ask them is they would be able to stop in the distance visible between themselves and the vehicle in front if for whatever reason that vehicle stopped dead in its tracks through a head on collision or suddenly coming across an overturned vehicle in the road – then they would probably have to admit they would not be able to, certainly so, as they will not be expecting such an instance to occur. Not enough space given. The realisation that the unexpected has just happened robs them of any so called available braking space due to shock.

People queue at shops, or the cinema (remember them?) or a stadium. They have done for generations. They close up on the person in front so as not to lose their place. It’s the same on the roads. Leave an adequate space – and someone will overtake and occupy it, I find this especially so on multi laned carriageways as the overtaker pushes in to take the imminently available slip road. Leave an adequate space – and it will be stolen. It’s human nature based on greed and fear.

I see this increasingly each day – the more powerful and faster the vehicle, the more aggressively and faster it will be driven. Or have I slowed down that much, and created that much more space?
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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+1

Thank you Duncan for those pieces to read over the weekend. It took my about half an hour to read the first one to realise that it has little to do with having one eye or two. What it did was to re enforce (introduce) the effect of looming. This has a point to play in that if a following vehicle is too close to the lead vehicle in front then any looming effect would initially be negated by such a short distance. However it would work better if sufficient space was given between the following car and the lead. Sufficient space for the following vehicle to be able to determine a looming effect and respond accordingly. Under those safer distances given, the looming effect, though small at first would gradually with lesser distance be greater and make avoiding action such a heavy braking more necessary.

I haven't been able to read the second but I assume that it just verifies the first so no new news there. It has not changed my opinion at all.

I further believe that something of this nature will crop up at some time in the future but I see little point in flogging a dead horse so I will no longer respond to this matter on this item.
Bob Craven, Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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Perhaps the following articles might help Bob.

http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/rearendcollision.html

http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/faulttolerance.html
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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Sorry Duncan, you have not satisfied me on any score. Both individuals you mention have a degree of disability from birth but nevertheless undertook major training for years and experience to overcome that disability. I am sure that they are not alone and that there are some single sighted people who drive and have no problem in doing so. So the negativities that you put forward can be overcome, without apparent depth perception. By the way neither would have been allowed to undertake what they have become if the couldn't differentiate blue from green. Another even more minor disability that unfortunately cannot be overcome.

Undertaking extensive training and experience has enabled them to appear to see perfectly well but we cannot see through their eyes and only presume that they cannot tell distances. They can still see objects and relate to the fact that some are closer than others. If a lamp post is a known distance apart and they know that then they can certainly by their training and experience be able to state if a motor vehicle is the same distance away.

Drivers do not and have never thought in terms of time as it takes too much effort to change space and distance and correlating speed etc but tell them to be a lamp post apart and they can do that. Tell them that they are far too close to the vehicle in front and why, and then they can realise what they have been doing wrong all their driving life.

After your item I drove to pick up the wife and had my left eye closed. I could tell how close I was to the vehicle in front and I could tell if I was far enough away from it. The difficulty I had was one of peripheral vision, my nose getting in the way and to compensate I had to turn my head more frequently to view the whole street scene.

PS thank you David for your support.
bob Craven lancs....Space is Safe Campaigner

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+2

David's comments are indeed valid, but I'm not dealing with the general population on this forum, but with experts in the field of road safety. The concepts we are grappling with in this industry are neccessarily complex because they cover the whole gamut of systems thinking, psychology, variation, learning theory, human factors and so on.

We have to grapple with these things so that we can better understand them and if we understand them then it's easier for us to help the general population to understand them as well. If we don't understand them then there is little or no chance of the general population being able to understand them either.

That is why we came up with the idea of 'no surprise - no accident' because it expresses an enormous amount of understanding about how our brains work yet it is presented in a way that is very simple for the ordinary road user to understand.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+1

Let's look at the problem another way Bob. Both my wife and my friend Trevor are different to the rest of us in that they were both born with only one functioning eye. To them 3D space has simply never existed as they are stuck very firmly in a 2D world where there is absolutely no such thing as distance. This did not stop Trevor becoming a champion rally driver or pursuing a career as a professional racing driver. Neither did it stop the loveley Stephanie from becoming a helicopter and fixed wing pilot and you could never tell by looking at them or from their abilities that they lack something so fundamental as an ability to see in 3D.

The fact that their disability has absolutely no effect on their ability to drive a car, ride a motorbike and fly an aeroplane is a very good indication that 3D space is not as important as we may think it is. Once we know this it can lead us to a greater understanding of how people actually do manage the driving and riding task and if we know that we can work out ways of overcoming any problems that we might observe.

If there is no such thing as distance then saying "we must be able to stop in the distance we can see to be clear" is completely meaningless. Once we know that time is of far greater importance than distance then we can say that "the amount of time to a collision should always be greater than the amount of time required to stop" and that would be perfectly correct for everybody.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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I always used to tell my students that time and space are basically the same thing on the road. If one has more space around one's vehicle, then one has more time to stop it hitting things, or to prevent other things from hitting it. Time is crucial when it comes to us making a decent fist of any job; if you give someone more time to do something, there is less chance of them making a pig's ear of it.

I have a lot of respect for Bob's school of thought. It is a concept that is easy to understand, as well as being effective. Duncan's attempts to make every driving action into a matter of science is perhaps not the best way to get the average man in the street to grasp some common sense ideas about how to be safer on a road. People need something simple and Duncan's responses are often anything but.
David, Suffolk

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+1

Sorry Duncan but I believe that you and your books are wrong. We equate the problem to time and say as you say I didn't have time to stop. What in fact they are meaning or should say is I didn't have or give enough distance or enough space to stop in. If they were to admit that truth it would mean that they accept that they were at fault but by saying not enough time they are placing the blame on something else something not themselves. Its just the way we are made. No one says I should have been 3 or 4 seconds more behind the vehicle in front. If pushed they may admit that they should have given more space and that they were too close. Incidents happen in real time but by using time as an appreciation of what went wrong they are denying the true facts that it was a lack of distance or space that was the fault of the matter and therefore they were at fault. Space and distance are both truths but time is man made. Complaining that time was to blame is just an excuse when the wheels come off and an excuse is needed.

We need to concentrate now not on the illusion of time but on the realities of space and distance as it relates to road safety. Not the universe.

If you don't agree with the Highway Code then what publication would satisfy the need to educate the driving public? I, like you, know that there are mistakes in it just like the Police Roadcraft has mistakes and the teachings of the advanced motorcycle trainers has mistakes and those mistakes need to be identified and corrected.
Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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It isn't an 'extremely complex problem' at all. I think in your usual way Duncan, you're trying to make a relatively simple concept more complex than it actually is. As you say, too many books.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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+1

You're right Bob they don't know any different, but that's not entirely their fault is it? Neither is it the fault of their driving instructors both basic and advanced as they don't know any different either. No the real problem is the Highway Code in all its glory, but we can't blame the compiler's of this mighty tome either as they too know no different.

The fundamental misunderstanding that leads to a great many of our problems is that there is any such thing as 'space' or 'distance'. This is because as far as the human brain is concerned in dynamic situations there is only 'time' and the rate of change in angular displacement of objects on the retina. Space and distance are values that can be determined only after the time to arrival (TTA) or time to collision (TTC) has been determined which is why people say "I couldn't stop in time" rather than them saying "I couldn't stop in the distance available".

When we drive around we are constantly evaluating TTA and TTC so that we can ensure that TTC always remains at a positive value. If it shows signs of reducing to zero (a collision) then we adjust the controls as required to either keep the value where it is or more preferably to increase it.

We teach space, but we use time and that's the simple explanation of the problem.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+1

Ok Duncan a simple answer to your question. Why do drivers leave insufficient space between vehicles is..... They know no different. They haven't been told otherwise. Training organisations didn't instruct them right. They failed to read or at least understand the basics of Safe Space as outlined in the Highway Code. S 126.

Its one of the very basic building blocks of road safety that we should learn just like the Highway Code says that we should drive and be able to stop in the distance that we can see to be clear. All that means to many is the distance from them to the rear bumper or brake lights of the vehicle in front. It doesn't matter to them if they believe it's 20 or 30 or 40 ft away. They have no knowledge or concept of what it should actually be. They have been let down throughout their driving life by their instructor, through examinations and on through Advanced Training etc. It's all right talking of Safe Space or a gap but it has no meaning unless there are references made to speed and distances. Then to adopt a simple system by which they can basically ascertain that safe distance. Enabling them to understand what is the true meaning of Safe Space printed in Sect 126 of the Highway Code.

That is what my campaign is all about. Simplicity in its conception, understanding and operation. Only one rhyme to remember SPACE IS SAFE.
Bob Craven lancs.....Space is Safe Campaigner

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+1

The questions I have asked Bob have usually been answered in simplistic terms, not neccessarily simple ones. Hugh's response being a good example.

Simplistic is as we all know is a way of trying to explain something complicated as being simpler than it is, essentially by oversimplifying. "People should drive at an appropriate speed for the conditions" is a simplistic response to an extremely complex problem whereas the the statement "the road transport system is unsafe at any speed" is a simple response that takes account of the complexity.

I suppose this explanation is all down to the fact that I read too many books.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+2

Duncan
I think the questions that you have asked have been answered in a relative easy way to understandable terms. I must say when though when it comes to yourself being asked a question it always seem like speaking to a politician where we get everything else and another question. Everything except a direct answer to a question. I suppose after reading so many many books it comes as being normal. Sometimes the simplest answers are the correct ones. I now expect a long answer.
Bob Craven |Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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+1

Bit late in the day to be asking isn't it Duncan? How about "Not too slow and not too fast for the prevailing circumstances?" i.e. not so fast that one cannot stop in time to avoid contact and not so slow as to unreasonably impede others without compromising the ability to stop. Personally, I'd rather we said it how it is, simply: 'too fast' or, very rarely, 'too slow'.

Inappropraite speed can also be anti-social and intimidating, without it necessarily triggering a collision i.e when in the vicinity of slower, vulnerable road users and residents of nearby properties.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-4

Could someone tell us what an 'appropriate' speed is? There is often a reference made to inappropriate speeds so what is the agreed scientific definition of an appropriate one.

All the definitions I have found so far seem to be lacking with regards to accuracy and completeness so perhaps someone on this forum could help.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+3

This links in with the other news item running at the moment about the personality and psychological make up of individuals and why there's such a variation in the way we behave on the roads. There are some who persistently drive too close and too fast through ignorance i.e.they genuinely are not aware of how their own safety and that of others is severly compromised and sadly, those who do so for what appears to be the thrill and perverse satisfaction in intimidating others, compounded by their misplaced over-confidence in their abilities to be in full control - ego plays a big part as well. For these, the speed limits and stopping distances and no doubt the other important rules of the road - if noted at all - are irrelevant, as their perception of their own 'skills' places them above such tiresome restrictions on their behaviour.

I don't normally refer to research by others, but many years ago there was some work done on this subject and one of the perhaps unsurprising revelations was that those individuals who demonstrated anti-social and irresponsible behaviour on the roads, were found to extend this into other aspects of their daily lives as well.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-1

Broadly speaking, in any given situation the faster one goes, the less time there is available to take some sort of preventative measures between realising it is about to go wrong and actually reaching the point of impact. The faster one goes, the more serious is the impact when something is collided with. The faster one goes, the greater the injuries will be of those vulnerable road users. It really is that simple.

TISPOL is correct to campaign against speeding as it is a case of picking the low-hanging fruit. Once we have everybody adhering to the speed limits, we can then move on to the tougher task of getting drivers to also make sure their speed is appropriate as well as legal.
David, Suffolk

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+2

So the burning question is - why do we not leave enough space between our vehicles? When it appears that the vast majority of drivers and riders leave insufficient space there must be a fundamental reason for it. If we can find out what that fundamental reason is then we might be able to do something about it.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+2

Maybe those who did wander out and look at traffic failed to see the danger points. The most obvious to me is the lack of distance between vehicles. As we all know the closer vehicles are together, with a mere gap, so to speak, then the greater the risk of an incident. It follows that if greater room was given for greater speeds whilst driving or indeed whilst at a stop situation where vehicles start off from traffic lights before the vehicle in front has even started to move off then we will understand some dangers that we actually see every day but do not identify.

I sit at roundabouts at times or just by the side of the road and see every few seconds an accident waiting to happen due to a lack of distance between vehicles. The drivers themselves see nothing wrong in this as they have not been involved in an accident all their years of driving, or at least never drove into the back of a vehicle slowing and showing brakes.

Drivers' attitudes need to change to enable them to enjoy driving more and to be far safer with fewer incidents that can be obtained by the giving of greater space to the vehicle in front.
Bob Craven Lancs...Space is Safe Campaigner

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+1

Very well said, David.
When I used to read accident reports, I'd read the description of the incident (what V1 did with respect to V2 etc.) and the factual stuff (the where and when etc.) and not bother with the contributory factors on the basis that it was either stating the obvious and nothing you couldn't have worked out for yourself anyway or, at the other extreme, was tantamount to guesswork. Unfortunately once these contributory factors get entered into the system, they get treated as gospel and without knowledge of the actual incidents they referred to, they are meaningless anyway.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Lots of people seem to base their opinions about speeding on data. I know from my own experience that much of Stats 19 data is not reliable. The vast majority of crashes are reported by Police officers with no crash investigation experience whatsoever. In some areas, even officers in Roads Policing Units will be sent on basic crash investigation courses only after years in the department. Boxes are ticked for causation factors with little understanding of what actually brought about the collision. Reporting crashes is often seen as the job of very junior officers, some of whom do not even have a full driving licence. The 'opinions' of such officers are not in any way to be relied upon, yet many here are happy to use them to bolster their own viewpoint.

Even in fatal collisions, when we can rely upon things being investigated by experienced officers, inquests are sometimes given a sanitised opinion of a driver's choice of speed. I have known a former colleague to be severely chastised for stating that a driver drove far too fast for the circumstances, that being deemed not to be a fact, even though as an expert witness his opinion was valid.

My own experience is that I find it difficult to recall attending many crashes in which either inappropriate, or often excessive, speed was not a significant factor. If, as some here propose, the real problem lies with those who drive at, or under, the limit then we ought to be either advocating that all drivers speed, or that we remove all speed limits. That is obviously complete nonsense.

I am with TISPOL on this one: speeding is selfish at best and potentially lethal, especially for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians whose injuries depend largely on the speed at which they are hit.
David, Suffolk

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+2

Hugh, the drivers who obey speed limits and believe they are driving safely, and that they will never have an accident because they obey the limit, are not the kind of drivers who "think". They only believe. And if misfortune crosses their path in their obedience of speed limits, they won't believe that either.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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+1

A chap I knew some years ago never exceeded the speed limit and never had an accident - but saw thousands.

Some of those no doubt caused by the way Hugh told us a few weeks ago that he habitually drives - never overtaking another vehicle being driven well below the speed limit, and therefore making that mobile chicane three times as long.

The others are right of course - the claims of what proportion of fatal accidents are caused by speeding are simply fantasy.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

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-4

Duncan and Dave: I've probably spent even more hours observing traffic, but no crashes either - just the behaviour which causes them! Same thing but without the trauma and mess. Imagine you've never read any collision data and don't have any misconceptions of supposed contributory factors and then with an open mind, observe driver behaviour and try to spot those 'driving in a manner likely to result in a collision' - it's not an actual offence I know, but perhaps it should be.

Derek: I don't think anyone actually thinks that way, anymore than they would think that provided they are not over the prescribed alcohol limit (i.e 100% sober) or not below the prescribed tyre tread depths, they will be safe - I would imagine that most people understand that even within all these various legal limits, they are expected to make a contribution to ensuring their own safety. It's only the posted speed limits which legalise an 'inappropriate' speed in one location and makes it a strictly speeding offence in another, such is the system we have of a 'one size fits all' system of National Speed Limits.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-4

It could also be said that those who never exceed a speed limit might also be involved in a collision at an inappropriate speed, as they have become to believe that sticking to a speed limit is safe, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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+5

I did as Hugh asked and made the following observations. What I saw was that every individual was making exactly the same efficiency/thoroughness trade-offs as everybody else as they went with the probability of what could happen next rather than the possibility of what could happen next. They all completely ignored thousands of possible but unlikely future states preferring instead to concentrate on the most likely future states. As a strategy this seemed to work pretty well as during my observations absolutely nobody crashed.

In the aftermath of any accident the people who weren't involved in it always wonder why the people who were involved in it ignored the possibility of a precipitating event occuring. Of course it's only after an accident that the remote possibility turned out to be inevitable, but the person involved would not have known that at the time.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+2

I did that, Hugh, but, having failed to witness any crashes, I was none the wiser regarding what behaviour causes crashes. I then went to the DfT website and discovered the contributory factors that led to thousands upon thousands of crashes. I think many would be surprised by much of the data but, if we want road safety to be evidence-led, then the best starting point could be to examine why collisions occur in the first place.
Dave Finney, Slough

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+4

Certainly Duncan - the direction I would point you in for the substantial evidence is...out of your house and then however far it is to the nearest road, where time spent observing road behaviour will reveal all! (No research papers were used in the making of this claim)
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-4

Hugh will no doubt be able to point us in the direction of substantial evidence to back up his claims.

Driving at an 'inappropriate speed' is only something that can be known after an off-normal event never before. This means that everybody is driving at an inappropriate speed 100% of the time as it can only be known to be appropriate after they have finished their journey and no off-normal event has occured.
Duncan MacKillop. No surprise - No accident.

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+5

Those who are prone to speeding (over the limit) are also prone to what is referred to as 'driving at an inappropriate speed' (too fast, but technically under the limit and not a speeding offence per se) anyway, so the two can be grouped together as a driving fault and addressed by enforcement and education as appropriate. Getting the individual to change their ways with regard to exceeding the limit can have a knock-on effect on their speeds generally including inapprpriate or, as I prefer to call it, too fast to avoid a collision.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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-6

TISPOL's president seems to be somewhat confused over the difference between "inappropriate speed" and speeding (exceeding the speed limit), but the 2 are very different. Many collisions involve inappropriate speed (it is possible to argue that all collisions must involve inappropriate speed in some way) but collisions rarely involve a speeding vehicle (around 5%). Even for fatal collisions, the vast majority (84%) occur when no-one is speeding. Perhaps surprisingly, the evidence seems to suggest that motorists are more likely to be involved in an injury collision when they are within the speed limit, than when they are speeding.

I would prefer to see TISPOL take road safety more seriously. The data is available (TISPOL officers are involved in collecting a lot of it) and TISPOL certainly seem to have huge resources. I think citizens could reasonably expect them to start taking an evidence-led approach.
Dave Finney, Slough

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+8