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Initial feedback from delegates, exhibitors and speakers appears to confirm that the 2010 Road Safety GB National Conference (16-17 November) certainly lived up to expectations.
Around 225 people, including representatives from 29 exhibiting companies, attended the event, which was sponsored by RSS, Colas and Enterprise.
• An insightful keynote presentation by Robert Gifford, executive director of PACTS, entitled ‘2010 – where are we?’. Robert expressed concern at the government’s apparent reluctance to develop road safety targets, despite evidence that a combination of a road safety vision, strategy and targets typically delivers a 4% increase in casualty reduction.
• Fiona Seymour, who heads up the THINK! campaign team, acknowledged that in the past the campaign has been a ‘top down’ initiative. Given the current funding position, she said her team will have to find different ways of working in the future, including being ‘more nimble’ and operating on a more local level.
• Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, urged colleagues to ‘stay positive, optimistic and focused’. He reiterated his belief that ‘people are the profession’s greatest resource’, while also stressing that interventions should focus on changing road user attitudes and behaviours. Going forward, he said the health service and road safety profession will be ‘inextricably linked’.
• Impressive presentations by university student Allen Ross, who articulated the benefits of the Under 17s Car Club, and 80-year-old Cassim Virani who clearly explained the issues faced by many older drivers as their reactions slow down, while driving remains central to their way of life.
• A lively ‘Question Time’ session during which Idris Francis, the veteran independent campaigner, locked horns with Chris Peck (CTC) and Richard Smith (Living Streets) over the issue of default 20mph limits in residential areas.
• An entertaining presentation by Tom Kileen, i2i Motorcycle Academy, who outlined a new approach to training motorcyclists using psychological techniques to change behaviour.
• A thought-provoking keynote presentation by Professor Jeff French during which he stressed the vital importance – particularly in the current climate and under the current government – of professionally scoping, developing and evaluating road safety initiatives and interventions.
In all, delegates received a remarkable 24 presentations, covering a wide variety of topics, across the two days.
Steve Chadwick, chair of Road Safety GB Mercia Region, said: “On behalf of the Mercia Region and the conference organising committee, I would like to thank all delegates for attending and supporting the conference. We very much hope you enjoyed the event and found it beneficial.
“I would also like to express sincere thanks and appreciation to our sponsors and exhibitors, whose financial support enabled us to fund 40 places for RSOs who would otherwise not have been able to attend."
The 2011 conference will be hosted by Road Safety GB North West Region. The event will be held at The Queen Hotel in Chester, 15-16 November 2011.
For more information or to register interest in attending, exhibiting or sponsoring the event please contact Sally Bartrum on 01379 650112.