Road safety news in brief: January 2017

12.00 | 31 January 2017 |

A recap of all the other latest road safety related news from January 2017.


27 Jan: 13.30
Southern Rail network to be converted for autonomous vehicles?
Speaking in the House of Lords earlier this week, Lord Lucas asked if the government would “commission a feasibility study to consider converting the entire Southern Rail network to a roadway for autonomous vehicles”.
Full story on 

27 Jan: 09.30
Briefings ‘to help improve’ safety in the van industry
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has organised a number of Van Excellence Operational Briefings, designed to improve safety and compliance within the industry.

Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans, the briefings include ‘an unrivalled line-up’ of speakers, and will explore risk and driver management and discuss best practice and compliance issues.

The briefings take place on:

  • 1 March – Villa Park, Birmingham
  • 23 March – Twickenham
  • 29 March – Harrogate

Mark Cartwright, FTA’s head of vans, said: “These briefings are aimed at giving businesses the advice and help they need to professionalise their operation and improve safety and compliance.”

Click here to find out more


26 Jan: 10.45
FTA offers free HGV training to members
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is offering its members free training for new HGV drivers they have employed, after suggesting there is a skills shortage in the area.

Announced on 24 January, the traineeships and apprenticeships will be delivered in partnership with The Real Apprenticeship Company (TRAC).

The funding for the training has been made available by the Government, and will cater for up to 200 HGV drivers.

Click here to find out more.


25 Jan: 15.00
Brake to launch ‘vital’ new bereavement support blog
Brake, the road safety charity, has annouced it will launch a new blog, featured on the charity’s Sudden initiative website, in January 2017.

Sudden is an initiative that was developed to assist people following a sudden bereavement, by sharing best practice, the latest developments in research and resources among professionals providing bereavement support.

The blog will share updates from academics, support professionals and bereavement practitioners, and will provide the opportunity for experts to engage in discussions around all the latest updates in sudden bereavement support, and for global contributors to air their views.

Jack Kushner, victim support events and marketing officer for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We’ve been delighted with how the Sudden project has developed over the past 12 months, and a blog seemed like the next natural step to take. The importance of conversation and open discussion about bereavement have been continually highlighted through our work in 2016, and we’re really excited to see how this blog can further develop our interactions through 2017 and beyond.

"We’re hoping that this blog can become a great space for discussion of research, developments and support guidance, and look forward to seeing thought provoking views and articles.”



20 Jan: 14.45
TRL wins EC automotive safety contract
TRL says the UK will continue to play a key role in shaping future European transport policy after it was awarded the latest Automotive Safety Framework contract by the European Commission (EC).

The agreement, which is worth in the region of €3m over a four-year period, will see TRL help EC policymakers prevent future road collisions and casualties through improved automotive safety.

Areas of focus include connected and autonomous vehicles, crash avoidance, active and passive safety, in addition to the harmonisation of global vehicle standards.

Click here to find out more.


19 Jan: 11.45
iRAP appoints Gary Liddle as new chairman
The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) has appointed Gary Liddle as its new chairman after John Dawson stood aside from the role.

A registered charity dedicated to preventing the more than 3,500 road deaths that occur every day worldwide, iRAP provides tools and training to help automobile associations, governments, funding agencies, research institutes and other non-government organisations in more than 70 countries make roads safe.
A trustee of the charity since 2013, Mr Liddle replaces Mr Dawson, who had steered the charity from its inception.
Gary Liddle said: "It’s a great privilege to follow in John’s footsteps.
"His contribution has been immense. With applications in more than 80 countries, rich and poor alike, the success of iRAP – and of John’s inspired leadership – speaks for itself. I am determined to take forward iRAP’s vision of a world free of high risk roads and its global potential to help save hundreds of thousands of lives."


18 Jan: 07.00
Scottish MP recognised by Brake
Douglas Chapman, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, has been named Parliamentarian of the Month by the road safety charity Brake. The award recognises Mr Douglas’ road safety work in the community he represents, including campaigning for road crossing improvements in his constituency.


17 Jan: 10.00
RAC reports rise in ‘potholes’ breakdowns
From Oct to Dec 2016 the RAC saw a 24% increase in the number of potential pothole-related call-outs – damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs, distorted wheels etc  – attended by its patrols compared to the same period the previous year. The RAC says the true damage effect of potholes is, however, likely to be greater as the analysis does not include punctures which could be caused by potholes.


16 Jan: 15.45
Date and veue unveiled for BikeSafe 2017
The 2017 National BikeSafe Show will be held on Saturday 19 August at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire. Click here for more information about the show, or contact Rebecca Miller by email or on 01604 883434.

16 Jan: 10.45
Road safety teams encouraged to enter 2017 John Smart Road Safety Award
The deadline for submissions for the 2017 John Smart Road Safety Award, which is presented as part of the annual CIHT Awards, is Friday 3 March. The awards themselves are presented on 15 June in London. Click here for more information about the awards, or to enter.



12 Jan: 15.45
Firms to reduce emissions with help of £20m Government funding
The Government is providing £20m of funding to help companies turn to electric vans and hydrogen dual-fuel lorries, transport minister John Hayes announced yesterday (11 Jan). The funding, announced at the Sustainable Road Transport Conference, is being given to 20 firms who set out plans for innovative ways to deploy low and zero emission vehicles. The freight industry accounts for about 30% of the UK’s CO2 transport emissions and the money is designed to help fleets get their new vehicles on the roads from mid-2017 onwards.

John Hayes, transport minister, said: "Each one of these successful projects will help cut vehicle emissions, improving air quality and reducing pollution in towns and cities. This is yet another important step towards this government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from transport to help tackle climate change. We are already making headway through our investment in low emission vehicles, greener public transport and walking and cycling, as well as grants for innovative advanced biofuels projects."

Click here to find out more.

12 Jan: 12.00
Conference to look at how technology is changing road safety
The 2017 RoSPA Road Safety Conference will look at how technology is changing the face of road safety, considering the innovative safety inverentations that look set to play an important role in the future.

Taking place in Birmingham on 9 March, this year’s conference coincides with the charity’s 100th anniversary.

Click here to find out more.


11 Jan: 15.30
Moscow cycling infrastructure parade goes ahead despite -27C temperature
A bike parade organised in support of the development of cycling infrastructure in Moscow, Russia, went ahead last weekend despite -27C temperatures and frost. (Cycling Industry News)

       Photo: Cycling Industry News

Organised by the city’s Department for Transport, some 500 cyclists headed out in the “orange danger” level temperatures for the Veloparad, said the department. None of the participants required medical assistance – presumably thanks to well gritted roads and bike paths.

The average speed of the riders was set at around 15km/h with all 500 completing the ‘race’.

Click here to read more on the Cycling Industry News website.

11 Jan: 13.00
‘Don’t drive like Mr Bean’, Mayo County Council tells drivers
In an effort to resonate with young drivers, Mayo County Council has turned to the humour of Mr Bean for its latest road safety campaign.

The campaign, which is being promoted on social media and in schools and colleges, carries the tagline “Don’t drive like Mr Bean – drive safely and focus on your driving” and features a clip from the TV series.

The clip (above) shows Mr Bean, who is late for the dentist, getting ready in his car. He drives his mini with his feet while he puts his trousers on, and uses screen wash as mouth wash.

Accompanied by the slogan ‘thank you for your support’, the light hearted nature of the campaign is designed to resonate with young drivers in order to raise awareness around road safety, in particular driver distraction.

Noel Gibbons, road safety officer, Mayo County Council, said talking to passengers, eating and drinking, reaching or searching for objects in the vehicle were among hazardous distractions for drivers.

Mr Gibbons said: "Staying safe on the road requires concentration, so it’s important to keep distractions to a minimum.

"Keeping your eyes on the road and remaining focused on the driving task is something all drivers must do.

"Friends and family can also help by not distracting drivers – in the car, or on the phone".


10 Jan: 14.35
TISPOL announces date for ‘Project Edward’ 2017
TISPOL has announced that the second ‘European Day Without A Road Death’, known for short as Project Edward, will take place on Thursday 21 September 2017.

Launched in 2016, the event is designed to draw attention to the 70 deaths that occur each day on the roads of Europe, promoting good driving habits.

The inaugural event, which took place on 20 September 2016, saw a fall in death across the continent, although TISPOL was cautious in attributing that fall to the awareness initiative. However, at the time it did say the initiative delivered fantastic results in terms of revitalising Europe-wide collaboration and participation.

More details will be published over the coming weeks and months.

10 Jan: 13.00
Call for papers ahead of the 18th IRF World Road Meeting
The International Road Federation (IRF) has issued a call for papers ahead of the 18th World Road Meeting, which takes place in Delhi later this year (14-17 Nov).

The conference is aimed at identifying and discussing the range of challenges that are faced in delivering safe, sustainable, and smart road transport and mobility at an affordable price.

It will look at the legal, policy, and regulatory issues, the instruments that are available to policy and decision-makers, new concepts and technologies for delivering transport and mobility, and the possibilities offered by "big data" and technology to reshape the road transport and mobility system to face future challenges. 

To find out more information, and to access the full call for papers, visit the event’s website.


06 Jan: 13.30
Put safety first, GEM urges volunteer drivers
GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging all volunteer drivers to ensure they put safety first on their journeys, and is helping them to do so with a free video resource.

The resource comprises three videos titled: ‘Preparation for the vehicle and driver’, ‘Advice for voluntary responders to stay safe and legal’ and ‘Concentration, observation and anticipation gives us time and space’.

The videos were created to raise road safety awareness among volunteer drivers, specifically assisting with tips on defensive driving, journey planning and maintaining an attitude where safety is promoted and risk is minimised.

Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, said: “There is a huge need for volunteer drivers across the UK. The tasks include providing essential journeys for those unable to use public transport, taking someone on a shopping or social trip and even emergency responding on behalf of the ambulance service.

“We are keen that the profile of road safety for volunteers is raised, so that the risks they may face – often in potentially stressful situations – are minimised.”

Click here to read more.


05 Jan: 15.30
Dementia rates ‘higher near busy roads’, research suggests
People who live near major roads have higher rates of dementia, research published in the Lancet suggests.

Featured in a news report on the BBC website today (5 Jan), the research suggests that as many as 11% of dementia cases in people living within 50m of a major road could be down to traffic.

The researchers, who followed nearly 2m people in Canada over 11 years, say air pollution or noisy traffic could be contributing to the brain’s decline.

Click here to read the BBC report.


03 Jan: 14.30
RAC urges drivers to put down their mobile phones in 2017
The RAC is urging motorists to make it their New Year’s resolution to stop using a handheld mobile phone while driving.

Pointing to statistics from the 2016 Report on Motoring, the breakdown organisation says that using a mobile phone while driving ‘is the biggest motoring bugbear of 2016’ and ‘one that we can well do without’.

Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman. said: “If people are struggling to think of what to give up for 2017, we would urge them to stop using their handheld mobile phone when driving.

“Smartphones have become incredibly sophisticated and we now use apps to run many aspects of our lives and keep us in touch and entertained, but for some this has become an obsession. The fear of missing out – or FOMO – is so great that they can’t resist just taking a quick look – but that can be all it takes to lose concentration and make a fatal driving error."

The RAC’s 2016 Report on Motoring suggests that the number of motorists who admit to using their handheld mobile phone to make a call when driving has increased from 8% in 2014 to 31% in 2016.

Click here to read more.

Click here to read news in brief from December 2016.



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