The road safety news in brief from the week commencing 19 June 2017.
- ‘Let’s help our senior drivers stay safe’ – GEM (23 June)
- New Bill will ensure UK continues to lead in automated and electric vehicle (21 June)
- RAC sets of vision to tackle the UK’s air quality problem (20 June)
- Road safety recognised in 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours (19 June)
Click here to read the road safety news in brief from the week commencing 12 June.
In a press release issued on 21 June, the road safety organisation points to statistics which show that there are more than four million drivers aged 70 years or more – including more than 500 centenarians.
GEM says the following signs suggest a high risk of dangerl with a requirement for immediate action:
- ‘Close calls’ – or ‘oops factor’ moments where a crash almost happens
- Dents and scrapes on the car as a result of hitting fences, posts or kerbs
- Traffic penalty tickets, such as speeding and red traffic light violations
GEM is also advising family members and friends to look out for the following common signs that could indicate an increase in the risks posed by a senior driver. These include:
- Difficulty seeing traffic lights and road signs
- Reduced awareness of drivers coming from the side or the rear
- Not reacting to an approaching emergency siren
- Slow reaction when required to brake or alter direction suddenly
- Confusing the accelerator and brake pedals
- Erratic decision-making
Neil Worth, GEM road safety officer, said: “We want as many people as possible to enjoy the freedom of the open road for as long as possible, but only while they are safe.
“Warning signs relating to failing health or reduced ability can develop slowly and gradually in older drivers. This often means they won’t be aware of their changing actions or the growing risks they may pose – to themselves and to others – on journeys.
“The only requirement in law for any driver aged over 70 is to declare every three years that they are fit to drive. In the absence of re-testing and mandatory eyesight checks, it’s vital that family members and friends are willing to keep an eye on their senior relatives – and take appropriate action if anything causes them concern.”
WEDNESDAY 21 JUNE
21 Jun: 15.00
New Bill will ensure UK leads automated and electric vehicle development
A new ‘Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill’ will ensure the UK ‘continues to be at the forefront of developing new technology in electric and automated road vehicles’.
Announced during the Queen’s Speech to parliament today (21 June), the Bill will:
- Allow the regulatory framework to keep pace with the fast evolving technology for electric cars, helping improve air quality
- Provide for the installation of charging points for electric and hydrogen vehicles
- Extend compulsory motor vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles, to ensure that compensation claims continue to be paid quickly, fairly, and easily, in line with longstanding insurance practice
While the RAC says more electric vehicle charging points are welcome, it has described the proposals as ‘unambitious’ – pointing to the fact the Bill does not include plans for more charging points in places where motorists would benefit most from them, such as car parks of major shopping centres and supermarkets.
The RAC has also expressed disappointment that plans to tackle the unfair practices of private parking operators do not appear to be included, saying that better regulation is needed.
TUESDAY 20 JUNE
20 Jun: 10.15
RAC sets of vision to tackle the UK’s air quality problem
The RAC has set out its view on tackling the air quality problem in the United Kingdom, and says the priority must be the removal of the heaviest polluting vehicles.
In a press release issued on 15 June – to mark the first National Clean Air Day (NCAD) – the RAC says that while there is no single answer to solving the problem, there are a range of measures that together can have a ‘significant impact in improving the air we breathe in our towns and cities’.
The RAC says other areas of focus should include the replacing, or retrofitting, of ageing bus and taxi fleets and introducing no idling zones.
Nick Lyes, RAC public affairs manager, said: “The most urgent efforts must be focused, first and foremost, on the heaviest polluting vehicles that are doing the most mileage in areas with the worst air pollution. We need a programme of replacing or retrofitting ageing bus and taxi fleets, especially in towns and cities which are breaching air pollution limits.
"There are also other solutions that could have a very real positive benefit to improving air quality – councils for instance already have powers to introduce no idling zones. If every driver was first encouraged and then mandated to switch their engine off when in congestion, our urban areas could immediately benefit from cleaner air.
"In the longer term, there should be incentives to encourage motorists to switch to cleaner vehicles whether through reduced taxation for newer ultra-low emission vehicles, a targeted scrappage scheme or through extending the plug-in grant scheme."
MONDAY 19 JUNE
Beverley Bell, former senior traffic commissioner for Great Britain, received an CBE for services to road safety and the freight industry, while Anjna Patel, principal officer for road safety and parking at Sandwell Council, saw her services to the parking profession recognised with an MBE.
Beverley Bell had served as senior traffic commissioner for Great Britain for 17 years before leaving the post in May 2017. She is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and a fellow of the Society of Operations Engineers.
In the position as senior traffic commissioner, Beverley was responsible for the regulation of bus, coach and goods vehicle operators. She was also responsible for calling operators to a public inquiry to examine concerns about vehicle and driver safety.
Anjna Patel has been principal officer for road safety and parking at Sandwell Council since April 2012. Her responsibilities include parking management, sustainable travel, road safety education, school crossing patrols and Bikeability.
BECAUSE OF THE ALL-ENCOMPASSING NATURE OF THIS COLUMN WE HAVE DEACTIVATED THE READER COMMENTS FACILITY.