#RSGB2016 | Question Time – as it happened

12.00 | 16 November 2016 |


2016 National Road Safety Conference – Question Time


  • Iain Temperton, director of communications, Road Safety GB (IT)
  • Lembit Opik, director of communications & public affairs, MAG (LO)
  • Gavin Watts, vice chair, CFOA Road Safety Group (GW)
  • Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns, Brake (GR)
  • Eddy Klynen, Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge (EK)

Session chaired by Nick Rawlings

A full video of the session will be available on the conference website in the near future.

Question: The latest DfT stats for the year ending June 2016 show a 3% increase in KSIs, which the DfT itself describes as ‘statistically significant’. And over a longer period road deaths have remained relatively unchanged over the past five years. What does the panel think the Government and road safety professionals should do to kick start further reductions in KSIs and road deaths? (David Davies, PACTS)

IT – Must chase funding. Smarter, better educated on how to get the resources we need to do our jobs. Schemes must be evidence led.

GR – Government should be doing something. Complacency in Government. One thing to do (very quickly) – reintroduction on casualty reduction targets. This is an area that cannot afford to plateau.

3/4 of audience back casualty reduction targets

GR – We will be in gridlock by 2050. More than one way a car can kill – Government needs to look at why and how vehicles kill people.

LO – The idea of having no deaths at all is unrealistic. Motor vehicles will always lead to death. Plateau is determined by technology. Best way to reduce casualties? Make everybody learn to ride a motorbike.

Question: Signed-only mandatory 20mph speed limits seem to be increasing in popularity, possibly because they are much cheaper to introduce than schemes with engineering measures. Whilst acknowledging the good work but very limited resources the police have to enforce, can the panel suggest how such signed-only 20 schemes can be made more effective in achieving high levels of speed limit compliance? (Pat Bates, Road Safety Strategy Officer, Torfaen County Borough) Council.

GR – 20mph limits work. We have 14m people ‘enjoying’ 20mph areas. This is not just about drivers – it’s about people who walk/cycle. We have to create a safe, comfortable and happy environment. Reduce default speed from 30mph to 20mph. 

[On enforcement] It’s a tought one – there can’t be a police officer everywhere. Enforcement is important but so is education.

GW – CFOA don’t have a fixed position. Communities have an important role to play. We need to engage with the people living in these areas. 

IT – Couple of issues/barriers. In some areas, no direct action being taken. I feel if you have a realistic 20mph limit – better compliance. Blanket 20mph are not useful.

EK – You have to do things that are safe. Some people won’t respect the speed limit but we have to enforce them. In Belgium, most people respect them.

LO – 20mph is a notional figure. There has to be some point at which it is too slow. 

Question: Mobile phone distraction is reported as being the fastest growing cause of accidents on UK roads. Does the panel think that investment in prevention technology would be a more cost effective solution than the spiralling costs of policing and prosecution? (Steve Arscott, Sales Director, Romex World)

GR – It is welcome that the Government is increasing the penalties. I just wonder if the media has cottoned on to the growing menace? Make the financial penalty greater – will send out a strong message. You are more dangerous (using a mobile phone at the wheel), than if you have had a drink.

EK – Apps that switch of  mobile phones while driving – it is an easy solution.

LO – Mobile phones kill all road users. It seems that you are more distracted on a mobile phone than if you are having an argument with someone who is physically present. The principle has to be right – it’s not worth exposing people to collisions.

Question: Given that riders of even mopeds and scooters have a much higher collision and injury risk than car drivers, does it make sense from a safety perspective that the licensing age allows access to powered two wheelers before it allows access to cars? (Shaun Helman, TRL)

LO – A 50cc PTW can give young people freedom. The answer is sensible training. Car drivers need more awareness training. Would I change the driving system? Yes I would do.

IT – Young people need this sort of transport. I would urge the DVSA to take a look at the standards of training.

GR – We are letting young people down with the quality of our training.

Question: In recent years the Fire Service has made tremendous strides in the field of road safety which is admirable. However, there still seems a need for stronger links with local road safety partnerships in order that resources can be pooled and more importantly, all partners are kept abreast of each other’s activities. Is there any more action that can be done to achieve this objective? (Graham Compton, Leicestershire Police)

GW – Fire and Rescue services across the country are engaged in road safety – I think we’ve got better at engaging at national level. A small, but valuable part to play. We need to make sure Fire and Rescue services are supported.

IT – Training available to fire officers to help brief them



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