NRSC 2023: Opening keynote presentations

11.01 | 15 November 2023 | |

Soundbites and images from the opening session of the 2023 National Road Safety Conference.

This page does not automatically refresh, click here to see the latest updates.

James Gibson, Executive Director, Road Safety GB

James Gibson took up the post of Executive Director of Road Safety GB in March 2022.

James has worked in the road safety profession for more than 20 years, in both local government and the police.

Presentation: Road Safety GB – progress and achievements

Welcome to NRSC 2023 – a record breaking conference!

RSGB – a member organisation

Great to have support from strategic partners: DfT & THINK!


  • Road Safety News – daily news content. Can sign up for email bulletins & submit stories
  • Road Safety GB Academy – a growing list of courses
  • Road Safety Knowledge Centre – includes a help forum & news alerts
  • National Road Safety Conference & other events (Joining the Dots, YDF & ICE Live)

Five year plan:

  • Structure and governance 
  • Membership benefits
  • The Academy
  • Partnerships – we remain open to working with all partners
  • Communication

Laura Hill, THINK! – Marketing, DfT Group Comms, Department for Transport

Laura Hill has been working on public sector marketing campaigns for over 20 years, starting out on teacher recruitment before moving to the Department for Transport.

During her time at DfT she has led a number of high profile THINK! behaviour change campaigns

Presentation: THINK! Campaign Update

22/23 campaigns included Highway Code, Speed and Drink Drive

Reviewed our approach to sense check audience, review our Mates Matter strategy and redefine our priorities

Three core campaigns each year plus our ongoing partnerships and social content

Our audience: Remains young men aged 17-24 – those most at risk with more entrenched attitudes and behaviours

We are mindful of the differing mindset of New Drivers – lower perception of risk and core behaviours less unacceptable – and aware of the widening gap between KSIs in the most and least deprived areas

Mates Matter Strategy

  • The Mates Matter Strategy has underpinned THINK! campaigns for the last 5 years
  • Uses the power of friendship groups and peer influence to champion positive road safety behaviours
  • Has delivered highly targeted compelling communications driving significant increases in reported action across our core behaviours
  • Social Consequences Research
    Provide more punch and personal relevance – giving a reason to believe and buy-in – for longer term behaviour shifts

Drink drive research findings:

  • Target audience broadly see two kinds of drink driving – unintended and extreme
  • Scale of consequences is seen as high, but likelihood of consequences ever occurring seen as relatively low
  • Many in denial about their / their friends’ drink driving

Seat belt research findings

  • Not wearing seat belts is seen as a different kind of risk – no reward.
  • Almost everyone did it more than they first realised
  • Sanctions are assumed to be low
  • Safety risks are perceived to be low on short and low speed journeys
  • They are often in cramped cars
  • They follow the social norms in the car – do what others do
  • Our target audience feel that not wearing a seat belt can be a fairly safe ‘calculation’’

Speed research findings

  • Our audience recognise different kinds of speeding behaviours
  • ‘Speeding’ is extreme behaviour, but controlled speeding is good driving
  • Speed limits can seem wrong, and they tell their friends to speed up – but not slow down
  • Limited shame around speeding, but they do get scared by it as passengers

Next steps

  • Drink Drive – lighter weight December drink drive and a heavier burst in Summer under the social consequence approach
  • Speed – with new social consequence audio bringing out driving for the conditions
  • Seatbelts – new campaign planned for March 2024

How you can work with us:

  •  Subscribe to the THINK! newsletter for the latest updates and insights
  • Upweight the campaigns in your area – leverage the national campaigns and boost your local impact by investing in additional media alongside the campaign
  • Amplify and share the assets via our toolkits for a consistent message and increased cut through
  • Support on social – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Matt Staton, Head of National Road User Safety Delivery, National Highways

Matt Staton is Head of National Road User Safety Delivery at National Highways, overseeing the division’s activities across road user behaviour and compliance and how the national team supports delivery at a local and regional level.

Presentation: Operating the safe system of the future

What is a system? – A system is a product of component parts which, together, provide an outcome or function that no individual part can perform on its own.

The road transport system is a complex system of systems
It is designed to provide mobility
Safety, efficiency, reliability etc. are functions of the system

Person-based vs System-based approach
Best practice in the understanding of incidents has changed and requires a shift from a person-based to a system-based approach to understanding incident causation and intervention.

Person-based approach:

  • Human error is the cause of all accidents
  • We can make things safer by changing people so they “do it safer” or by removing people who make errors
  • Focus on immediate causes 
  • Focus on attributing blame

System-based approach:

  • Incidents are the product of failures in the system
  • Safety is a product of complex social and technical factors combining to make that situation safe or not
  • Focus on interactions between system factors at all levels
  • Focus on explaining why things happened 

Our role as Operator in The Safe System Approach:

NH has adopted the Safe System Approach which is based on four fundamental principles:

  • People make mistakes that can lead to road collisions
  • The human body has a known, limited physical ability to tolerate collision forces before harm occurs
  • A shared responsibility exists between those who design, build, manage and use roads and vehicles to prevent collisions resulting in serious injury or death
  • All parts of the system must be strengthened in combination to multiply their effects, and road users are still protected if one part fails

Last two: Key principles to consider in relation to a “system operator”

What does this mean for NH?

  • Need to concentrate on the combined effects of our activities, rather than their individual effects
  • Just because you have the ‘best’ component parts, doesn’t mean you have the best system

We have agreed 6 themes for RIS3:

  1. Integrated and flexible capital delivery 
  2. Supply Chain aligned to new delivery model & National Highways’ ambitions
  3. Mature asset lifecycle ownership
  4. Digitally capable organisation
  5. Proactive control of our network 
  6. Environmental sustainability deeply embedded in what we do  

What we might need to do differently:

  • System-based models to assess risks and develop interventions
  • Understand interdependencies within current practices
  • Ensure we learn from things that go wrong
  • Review standards and processes
  • Training

Kaarina Ruta, Transport Assistant, Welsh Local Government Association & Ian Bradfield, Welsh Government

Kaarina Ruta started working for the WLGA as a transport assistant in June 2021. She works closely with Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, the local authorities, and other road safety partners in Wales.

Ian Bradfield a chartered engineer with a Master’s degree in Highway Engineering, who has worked in highways and transportation for nearly 40 years.

Presentation: Vision Zero – the Welsh way

Wales is the first country in the world to have legislated for the well-being of current and future generations in a way that ties in with the UN sustainable development goals.

  • 20mph and road safety will contribute to al the wellbeing ambitions and goals.
  • The strategy contains a sustainable transport hierarchy, which places walking and cycling and wheeling at the top, an order of priority based on which decisions relating to transport and roads should be taken

In line with our commitments in Future Wales:

  •  20mph is seen as a building block to meet these objectives

The case for 20mph is road safety

  • In 2022 police forces in Wales recorded a total of 3,312 road collisions, broadly similar to the number seen in 2021, and a decrease of 23.5% compared to 2019.
  • These road collisions in 2022 resulted in 4,442 personal injuries. Of these, 93 people were killed, 921 people were seriously injured and 3,428 ‘slight’ injuries were recorded.
  • During 2022, over half of all road collisions (51%) occurred on 30mph roads with the next highest proportion (25%) occurring on 60mph roads. Road sections with a 20mph speed limit accounted for 6% of all collisions.

The reasons why speed matters are highlighted here:

  • Drives are more likely to give way – mention non-prescribed zebras
  • Slower speeds greater field of vison , so more likely to be able to see a potential collision and act to prevent it in time
  • Increasing walking and cycling is an important policy goal of the Welsh Government. Active Travel is good for people’s mental and physical health and when it replaces a car trip will help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. More walking and cycling produce more cohesive and safe communities for people to live, work and socialise in.

Next steps:

  • Monitoring of speeds and other KPIs for 5 years
  • Clarify Exceptions criteria and merge into Setting Local Speed Limits in Wales Guidance
  • Work together with partners for engagement and enforcement
  • Speed compliance – guidance for speed management measures

New road safety strategy
We are working together with road safety specialist, Agilysis and with partners and stakeholders aiming to publish a new road safety strategy for Wales early next year.

  • Prioritising a new approach to road transport that delivers healthy outcomes, striving to eliminate the negative impacts of injury in concert with efforts to reduce pollution; improve air quality, and increasing active mobility, resulting in improved physical and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Shaping a new culture of road use, where safe, sustainable travel emerges as the default choice.
  • Creating an ethos of accountability and commitment amongst stakeholders for building the Safe System in Wales.
  • Making significant progress towards achieving our long-term goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on Welsh roads: Vision Zero.

Freedom to mobility & freedom from fear

  • Our streets and roads should become shared spaces that are welcoming to all, giving the freedom to mobility but making sure this does not compromise on the freedom from fear of harm
  • Vision Zero needs to be embedded in the entire system, beginning from planning and design, through implementation and education to collision analysis and post-crash care
  • To sum and up and bring it all together, both these policies will contribute to the four wellbeing objectives of the Well-being of Future Generations legislation.

Tony Campbell, CEO, MCIA

Tony Campbell joined MCIA in September 2017 having been the UK MD for Europe’s largest producer (Piaggio Group) for 13 years.

Presentation: Motorcycle road safety: time for a rethink?

Joint Sector / Government Action Plan

  • Launched in 2022
  • 10 Key actions under 4 main headings:
    • Supply ahead of demand
    • Drive demand by stimulating the market 
    • Improve & ease access to the sector & use
    • Increase integration & infrastructure

Accident Rates & Trends

10 Year Trend:

+7.2% increase in use
-9.6% reduction in casualties

Fatalities and Injuries 2022

  • 350 PTW riders were killed
  • 5,618 suffered a serious injury
  • 10,975 suffered a slight injury

How does this compare to 2021?

  • PTW fatalities increased by 13% 
  • PTW traffic increased by 12%.

The bigger picture:

PTW’s account for approximately 1% of traffic each year but account for  20% of fatalities. These statistics have remained largely unchanged for many years.

Has this become the accepted norm? 

What does industry think?

  • Extremely concerned
  • Appreciate we have an important role to play
  • We accept we can do more
  • There are limitations on what industry can do

The Elite Rider Campaign:

  • Estimated that on 14% of full license holders undertake Advance Rider Training
  • Our objective is to increase that percentage significantly
  • This includes training programs delivered through:
  • ERS
  • IAM
  • Other independent providers

Vehicle Technologies & Rider PPE

Vehicle designed in technologies:

  • ABS
  • Cornering ABS
  • Traction Control
  • Connectivity to infrastructure and other vehicle types in development  

Rider PPE:

  • Airbag Technology now becoming common place
  • Connectivity between clothing and on-vehicle safety systems
  • Forever improving materials and design being incorporated into rider PPE

A License to Net Zero

Why change the approach?

  • Motorcycles, Mopeds and other Powered Light Vehicles are an inclusive part of Governments decarbonisation strategy
  • Road safety statistics remain largely unchanged irrespective of a more complex, costly and perceived better way of regulating access to improve road safety (3DLD)
  • Previous thinking and campaigns have arguably made little difference
  • Focusing exclusively on the rider, testing & licensing is not working
  • Is it time to make big and possibly unpopular decisions

Albert Einstein once said…

“The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things but expect different results”



Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.