The 2012 National Road Safety Conference has been universally acclaimed as an outstanding success in terms of attendance, organisation and most importantly providing a unique opportunity for road safety professionals to network and learn from each other.
More than 250 people and 26 exhibitors attended the event, which was hosted by Road Safety GB London Region in London Docklands last week (14-15 November).
Here is a quick round up of some of the conference highlights – click on the link for more details of each session.
Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, drew on personal experience in a passionate presentation in which he emphasised the power of self-belief and positive thinking. “Don’t be afraid to take bold steps,” he urged delegates, going on to explain how his team at Durham is contributing to the cost of ETP delivery, “and that makes managers listen”. Jan Deans (Dynamic Group) described the presentation as “inspirational” and Khair-un-Nisa Simmons (Greenwich) said it was a “shot in the arm”.
Honor Byford, vice-chair of Road Safety GB, challenged her colleagues to take the lead with regard to ETP delivery. In a message to other road safety stakeholders, she called for “agreement about our respective roles and tasks so that we do not have different agencies trying to duplicate the same work or creating parallel structures to deliver the one service”.
Edmund King, AA president, launched a new research paper titled ‘Two Tribes’, which looks at motorists’ perceptions of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. Based on a survey of 20,000 drivers, the presentation also offered an insight into the ‘mind of the motorist’ and explored how road users can co-exist safely on our highways. Dave Glanville (Leeds) said the presentation “made some excellent points and brought home just how absurd some people’s attitudes are to other roads users”.
As usual, the Question Time session sparked a lively debate. Expertly chaired by Rob Gifford, executive director of PACTS, the panel debated many road safety issues of the moment including telematics and graduated driver licenses, and some old chestnuts such as the drink drive limit. On the topic of cycle training, Jim Fitzpatrick MP said that Bradley Wiggens being knocked off his bike recently was "wonderful for cycling safety" (though not for Bradley Wiggens) as it proved that even the best cyclist in the world is vulnerable.
Martin Langham, managing director of User Perspectives, gave a fascinating talk on the subject of human factors. Human beings were not designed to drive cars, he told the audience, but to make matters worse we increase ‘workload’ through complex road signs and instrumentation, both of which take the driver’s eyes away from the road, he explained.
Closing the conference, Dil Sidhu from the London Business School, delivered a brilliant whistle stop overview of the science of influence and persuasion – expertly demonstrating how the language and phrases we use can have a dramatic impact on the success of marketing messages.
Three people were presented with Lynda Chalker Awards in recognition of their outstanding contribution to road safety. Mike McAdam (Don’t Be That Someone), Dawn Boyfield (dbda) and Brian Hogarth (Road Safety GB) all received their awards from Alan Kennedy. James Gibson (Road Safety GB) described Brian Hogarth (pictured) as “such a valuable asset to Road Safety GB, our constant figure in our naturally changing organisation”.
The AA Charitable Trust (‘Drive Confident’) and the Safer Roads Partnerships of West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Humber (‘Someone’s Son’) were presented with Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards by Tony Spalding and Karen Cole (both RoadSafe).
Bill Smith, dbda, described the conference as “a great two days, quality speakers, good refreshments and entertainment”. He invited the conference committee to “Take a bow all of you!”.
The 2013 National Road Safety Conference will be hosted by Road Safety GB Yorks and Humber Region at the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate, 13-14 November 2013. More information about the event will be published early next year. To register your interest and ensure you receive details as soon as they are available contact Sally Bartrum on 01379 650112.