Road safety news in brief: April 2017

12.00 | 4 May 2017 |

All the latest road safety news in brief from April 2017.


27 Apr: 15.15
BHS reveals speaker line up for ‘Real Horsepower’ road safety conference
The broadcaster Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes, former Top Gear presenter Chris Goffey, road safety psychologist Dr Shaun Helman (TRL) and professor Josh Slater (Royal Veterinary College) are among the speakers at a conference being organised by the British Horse Society (BHS).

At the conference, being held at the Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire on 6 June, delegates will hear how BHS is working with road safety and driving experts to keep horses and riders safer on the roads. 

Click here to find out more.

27 Apr: 11.00
TyreSafe seeks participants for #ItHappenedToMe campaign
TyreSafe is asking people who have suffered as a result of a tyre-related incident ,and are willing to share their story, to participate in its #ItHappenedToMe campaign. Participants can share their stories with TyreSafe across its social media channels (@TyreSafe on Twitter and TyreSafeUK on Facebook) using the #ItHappenedToMe hashtag.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, says the personal stories of those involved in such incidents were ‘a powerful motivation’ for those who came together to form TyreSafe 10 years ago. Anyone wishing to make direct contact can email


26 Apr: 13.30
Uber unveils plans to test flying cars by 2020
Uber has unveiled plans to partner with plane manufacturers to develop and test a network of flying cars by 2020. (BBC News). The ride-sharing company said it will run trials in the US city of Dallas and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The flying electric taxis are being developed with aviation companies including Embraer and Bell Helicopter. While the technology is largely unproven, Uber believes the service will eventually cost about the same as its car rides. More


25 Apr: 14.15
Direct Insurance Group and FORS team up for new fleet insurance package
Direct Insurance Group Plc (DIG) has announced a collaboration with the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) to provide members with a special FORS insurance offering. The new DIG insurance package is designed to support the FORS Standard and its training requirements, and help FORS operators manage road risk within their fleets. More


21 Apr: 10.20
AIRSO issues call for papers for motorcycle conference
AIRSO has put out a call for papers for the National Motorcycle Conference 2017, which is being held at Hinckley Island Hotel, Leicestershire on 30 August. To express an interest in speaking or attending the conference contact Kevin Wilcox from the Staffordshire Road Safety Partnership.

21 Apr: 10.00
Hermes begins trial using self-driving robots in London
Courier company Hermes has announced a trial of self-driving robots in the London borough of Southwark (BBC News). The six-wheeled robots from Starship Technologies will be used to collect parcels rather than deliver them. The project follows a pilot scheme in Germany in which the robots delivered parcels to several suburbs in the city of Hamburg. But one expert told BBC News there might be a backlash if the facility became commonplace.

Prof Andy Miah, from the University of Salford’s School of Environment and Life Sciences, said: "At the moment, in big cities, it can be hard to walk down the street because of the number of people."

Click here to read more.


20 Apr: 10.45
TISPOL Conference aims to be ‘biggest and most effective’ yet
TISPOL has announced details of its 2017 International Road Safety Conference, which will take place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport, on 3-4 October.

Featuring a line-up of speakers from police, policymakers and industry representatives from across Europe, the event will cover issues such as: enforcement priorities for an autonomous future; who’s qualified to advise older drivers; innovations in emergency incident care and post-crash support for families of road crash victims.

Both delegate and exhibitor registrations are now open, with further details about the agenda to be published in due course.

Ruth Purdie, TISPOL’s general secretary, said: "This year’s TISPOL Conference offers a fantastic opportunity to hear some of  the latest thinking in the field of casualty reduction, deterrent, post-collision response, enforcement and protection of vulnerable road users.

"We face a significant challenge if we want to achieve the target of a 50% reduction in road deaths by 2020. Only by getting together, listening, talking and exchanging good ideas can we expect to make a real difference."


13 Apr: 12.00
IAM RoadSmart offers free motorbike skills sessions
IAM RoadSmart, along with participating local groups across the country, is offering motorcyclists with a full bike licences a free 90-minute riding skills taster session.

Launched to coincide with the start of spring, most IAM RoadSmart groups are participating in the scheme, which will run until 30 June.

Each participant will receive a concise briefing and an overview of IAM RoadSmart riding principals, followed by an on-road session and ending with a debrief. The tone of the session is a low-pressure introduction on how to make riding enjoyable, stress-free and fun.

Riders will use their own bikes on local roads, and can discuss any areas of concern with their assessor during their session.

Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart chief executive officer, said: “Many riders across the country will be getting their bikes out of the garage after a long and wet winter. You know your bike needs a once over before it’s safe to ride all summer long – but have you considered whether your riding might too be showing signs of wear?

“What many people don’t realise is that a review of different riding styles can increase enjoyment massively. Want to get that bend right? Make better progress? Get in touch and see what advanced riding is all about.”

Click here to find out more.


12 Apr: 12.15
Free FTA seminars to identify risks to van operators
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is to pilot a number of small, local meetings, focusing on the risks associated in running vans.

Taking place in Glasgow on 16 May (two session) and Belfast on 17 May, the seminars are not inclusive to FTA members and look to help businesses who may be unaware of the risks to their company, employees and the public of ‘getting it wrong’. 

Aside from the risks to life and limb and the potential for prosecution under traffic law, the revised Health & Safety Sentencing Guidelines effective from February 2016 significantly increase the financial and custodial penalties the courts can impose on culpable managers and directors as well as the business itself.

The FTA says, simply put, if ‘the worst happens’ the level of fine could take a business down and leave culpable directors and managers in custody.

Click here to find out more about the Glasgow event, and here for the Belfast event.


11 Apr: 11.30
GEM warns drivers to expect motorcyclists at junctions
GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to take extra care at junctions, in an attempt to reduce collisions with motorcyclists.

In a press release issued last month, GEM points to figures which suggest that around 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured at junctions every day.

GEM’s road safety officer, Neil Worth, says this figure is largely down to driver observation error, which some years ago picked up the nickname ‘SMIDSY’ – sorry mate, I didn’t see you.

Neil Worth said: “Experts point out that as drivers we’re not very good at identifying motorcyclists because they occupy such a small part of our field of vision. What’s more, if we’re not expecting to see one, then the chance of spotting one coming towards us is further reduced, and the risk of a collision is greatly increased.

“As the weather warms up, and many roads become busier with weekend riders, let’s make a point of looking out for them. In doing so, we will be greatly reducing this risk, and helping them to be less vulnerable on their journeys.

“So before pulling out of junctions, look carefully all around. Make a specific check for motorcyclists coming towards you. They’re not always easy to spot – but if you’re expecting them to be there, then you’re far more likely to see them in good time… and prevent a potentially serious collision.”


07 Apr: 10.15
High speeds on rural roads ‘reckless and inappropriate’
GEM Motoring Assist is urging drivers, riders, cyclists and pedestrians to take extra care on rural roads, pointing to figures which show that nearly six out of every 10 fatalities in the UK occur on this type of road.

In a press release issued on 3 April, GEM says although rural roads may be scenic and attractive, restricted visibility in some areas makes higher speeds reckless and inappropriate.

The latest DfT figures show that in 2015, 10,307 people were killed or seriously injured in collisions on rural roads in Great Britain.

As a result, GEM has complied a five-point guide for safety on rural roads:

  • Slow down. Always drive at a speed that allows you to stop on your side of the road within the distance you can see to be clear ahead.
  • Take nothing for granted. However familiar you may be with a stretch of rural road, always expect the unexpected as you negotiate a bend or hill brow. Be ready to slow right down, or stop if you have to.
  • Look out for animals, and give them plenty of space. Be ready to pull over and switch off your engine, to prevent alarming a nervous horse or farm animal.
  • If overtaking, leave nothing to chance. Don’t start your manoeuvre until you know exactly how you will end it.
  • Take in and use the information that’s there for you. Signs and road paint indicate hazards ahead. Mud on the road might mean slow-moving tractors. Horse manure, especially if it’s fresh, suggests horses ahead.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “On average, three people die every day on rural roads. What’s more the rural road death toll is 10 times higher than on motorways. This is worrying but not surprising, given the variation in road types, terrain and visibility, and the variety of different road users sharing the same space.

“Crashes occur frequently because motorists meet ‘unexpected’ hazards such as sharp bends, animals or oncoming traffic. If they’re already driving at an inappropriate speed, then they simply won’t have the time and space they need to stop safely. In these circumstances, a serious collision would b inevitable.

“The key message is to slow down. Vast stretches of the rural road network are subject to the national speed limit, which for cars and motorbikes is 60mph. But that’s not a target, and it’s often reckless to drive on a rural road at anywhere near that speed.”


05 Apr: 14.15
Road safety show reaches two magic milestones
A Scottish-based road safety magic show is this week celebrating 10 years of teaching primary school children how to be safer near roads – and by the end of the week the show will have been seen by half a million pupils.

ALLANSMAGIC was developed in 2006 with Aberdeenshire Council and Police Scotland. Since then, it has been presented to 28 Scottish councils and four London boroughs.

The 10th anniversary year will see the show tour Aberdeenshire, before heading to Ayrshire, Glasgow and Argyl & Bute. Later in the year, ALLANSMAGIC will take their magic show to Brighton and Kent for the first time.

As part of the celebrations, 50,000 special certificates have been printed by Inkshop Printing, Aberdeen, to be presented to every pupil that participates in the show.

On top of that, Road Safety GB members who book a show for their area will receive a special discount.

ALLANSMAGIC has also announce that its road safety magic show is now working in association with UK road safety charity Living Streets to help promote the Walk Once a Week campaign.

For more information, contact ALLANSMAGIC on 01467 621865 or 01224 782004, or via email.


03 Apr: 14.00
Listen: 5 live investigates road collision investigation procedures
As part of its ‘5 live investigates’ series, BBC Radio 5 live yesterday (2 April) explored improving road collision investigation procedures, including the possible establishment of a Road Collision Investigation Branch.

Hosted by Adrian Goldberg, the hour-long show featured an interview with David Davies, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), who last month hosted a conference titled ‘Collision investigation: how can we learn more?’. Delegates heard speakers outline the case for the Government to create a UK Road Collision Investigation Branch to boost efforts to reduce collisions and casualties.

The show will remain on the BBC IPlayer until 1 May. Click here to listen.


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