NRSC 2019: Question Time

11.55 | 13 November 2019 |

Question Time is always one of the most popular sessions at the National Road Safety Conference – and returns this year with a wide-ranging group of panellists.


  • CC Nick Adderley, Northamptonshire Police & National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for police motorcycling and the criminal use of motorcycles (NA)
  • Angela McShane, founder of The Reinvention: Triumph over Injury (AM)
  • Richard Owen, CEO of Agilysis (RO)
  • Neale Kinnear, head of behavioural science, TRL (NK)
  • Philippa Young, vice chair, Road Safety GB and group manager, transport planning, traffic and road safety, Warwickshire County Council (PY)

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QUESTION: Should funding ever be awarded to an unproven road safety intervention?

RO – yes, otherwise we won’t have innovation

PY – yes, we need to push the boundaries. But we should be clear on our evidence base – and share afterwards

NK – no, unless it’s for a pilot to evaluate whether a new design will work.

AM – yes, we need to think outside of the box.

NA – it’s not wasted, because it tell you what doesn’t work.

QUESTION: Can the panel suggest any successful data sharing processes between local authority road safety teams and their local police? I appreciate the need for Data Sharing Agreements but these don’t seem to be working in many areas, in particular in my region.

RO – we have a group of data analysts, in the form of the RSGB Champion’s Network. It’s a good platform to share best practice.

Most data should be available to share easily.

NA – we should be sharing more data. Education is important.

QUESTION: Has drink driving become a forgotten issue?

NA – I don’t think it’s publicised enough. The reality is we’re seeing more drug drivers nowadays.

It’s not gone off the agenda – but we need to do more.

PY – it’s an area which has moved into the shadow a little bit – needs to be explored further.

QUESTION: Is Brexit causing road safety to be pushed down the political agenda?

NA – no, reduction road deaths started to stagnate before Brexit. But – does need to be driven back up the agenda. More people die on the roads than from knife crime and murder.

PY – successive Governments have failed to take a lead. We welcomed the road safety statement – but the glaring omission is targets

RO – we need targets back. All progressive road safety authorities around the world have targets.

PY – countries like Scotland, who have targets, are doing better when it comes to road safety.

QUESTION: What additional support could or should be provided to survivors and their families who are left to rebuild their life after being involved in a serious road traffic incident?

AM – when I ask victims what help they want/have – they often report there has been no follow up.

We support people through the journey – injuries could mean having to give up work, creating additional stress.

NA – should not be a postcode lottery, but a lot comes down to cost. We have to look at the process from start to finish.

NK – staggers me we have to raise money for these services – should be centralised funding. It’s a critical service.

QUESTION: The Government has announced its intention to ‘tighten up’ mobile phone laws by closing a legal loophole which has allowed drivers to escape prosecution if they use a mobile phone to film or take photographs. But isn’t it time to go a step further and ban drivers from using hands free phones?

AM – anything that takes away distraction is important.

PY – yes, we should ban it. There’s a lot of evidence supporting it.

NK – it should be banned, but we’ve missed the boat. With all the tech now available, I wonder if legislation would now be effective.

Possible Google/Apple etc could do more.

QUESTION: What is the panel’s view on smart motorways?

RO – data from HE shows they are just as safe – but intuitively feels unsafe. Led by the evidence, but you have to recognise that motorways are dangerous.

NA – evidence points to the fact they are working – but I do feel insecure using a smart motorway.

PY – important to understand there are two different types of smart motorways. HE looking at dynamic smart motorways.

If they are going to stay – needs to be more education to ease the fear drivers have.

QUESTION: At the recent Conservative Party Conference, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps floated the idea of increasing the speed limit on motorways to 80mph. Is it time for a serious debate about this – or is it merely a political sop?

NA – technology and road layouts are changing – but what isn’t changing is reaction times.

There needs to be a debate – with evidence!

RO – whenever you increase speed, collisions go up. Ultimately it would be saying we are willing to kill more motorists.

NK – stronger relationship between speed and collision risk than before. All factors point against the change.

AM – absolute nonsense. Would put more mess on the table which we are trying to clean up.



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