Alan Kennedy, chair of Road Safety GB, emphasised the importance of ‘real world training’, partnership working and developing data-led interventions to delegates at a recent road safety seminar in Poland.
Around 80 people attended the event, including Radoslaw Stepien, Poland’s under secretary of state/deputy chairman of the Polish National Road Safety Council and other members of the council, which was held at The British Embassy in Warsaw on 23 February.
Poland’s road casualties are among the worst in the EU; implementing the EU Infrastructure Safety Directive 2008/96/EC on road safety management, and achieving a 50% reduction in road deaths, is a priority.
The seminar, UK Best Practice in Road Safety, showcased UK policy, expertise and road safety solutions.
Alan Kennedy said: “It was fascinating to hear about the special challenges our colleagues in Poland face in terms of changing culture.
“Essentially drivers are anti-legislation and see traffic laws as a restriction. Basically, many drivers believe that they should be able to make their own speed choice.
“This is fuelled by prominent active journalists from the national media who are largely pro-driver and anti government and legislation.”
Alan, who was there in his capacity as chair of Road Safety GB, explained the role of Road Safety GB; how it communicates effectively with its members and shares knowledge and expertise through its website and the Road Safety Knowledge Centre. He also explained how Road Safety GB acts as a vital link between the DfT and local authorities.
In his presentation he emphasised the value of training children and drivers in real life situations rather than sat behind a desk, highlighting the success that this approach can deliver. He quoted NDORS as an example of how many people can be re-trained to use a safer driving system.
He also emphasised the value of partnership working to maximise resources and reduce duplication, and the importance of interventions to be data-led and developed for the right road safety reasons, rather than on a political whim.
Alan also talked about the issue of training young drivers, explaining the EXCELerate scheme developed by Durham’s road safety team, and similar schemes used in other parts of the country.
Alan added: "The presentation generated much interest in our ‘hands on’ approach and I was asked a number of questions regarding the detail of how young driver training courses can be delivered.
"I also extended an invitation to the Polish road safety community to visit the UK to see first hand the excellent work that is being delivered by local authority road safety officers and engineers right across the UK."
Other speakers from the UK included Andrew Colski (DfT) and Peter Rodger (IAM).
For more information contact Alan Kennedy on 0191 383 3767.