Sentences For Killer Drivers


Ministers confirm plans to introduce tougher sentences for those who drive irresponsibly and devastate lives.

Texting and Walking

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M3 gets first ‘Orange’ smart motorway emergency area


Friday 14th July 2017

Highways England is trialling a new style of smart motorway emergency area on the M3 in Surrey.

The redesigned emergency area has a ‘highly visible’ orange road surface, as well as better signposting, in an effort to make it ‘more obvious’ to drivers.

Highways England also hopes the new design will encourage drivers to only use the areas in emergency situations.

Smart motorways use variable speed limits to manage traffic and tackle frustrating stop-start congestion. The hard shoulder is also turned into an extra traffic lane, with technology deployed to give drivers better information on road conditions ahead.

However, the smart motorway concept has not been an unqualified success, with a survey published in May suggesting that 52% of motorists are not familiar with emergency refuge areas (ERAs).

The RAC survey also suggests there is considerable confusion about how to use ERAs, with two-thirds of respondents neither knowing what to do after stopping (64%), nor how to re-join the motorway (65%).

The first of the new emergency areas went live on the M3 near Camberley on 14th July and is part of an ongoing review looking at the design and spacing of emergency areas on smart motorways.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England chief executive, said: We know that smart motorways are safe. But we also recognise that drivers need to have confidence when using them and be clear about where they can stop in an emergency.

That is why we are trialling these highly visible new style emergency areas. The bright orange colouring will make them as easy as possible to spot and should also discourage drivers from using them in non-emergency situations.

This is just one of the ways we are helping drivers to understand smart motorways and their benefits. I hope it helps drivers feel more confident about using a smart motoerway

Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said: Smart motorways are adding extra lanes to our busiest motorways and – as recent evidence shows – reducing the rate of crashes.

We are making emergency refuge areas more visible to ensure motorists in trouble can easily identify where to stop safely.


Motorists ‘still using’ mobile phones despite higher fines


Despite the Government’s harsher penalties introduced in March 2017 to tackle the use of mobile phones while driving, more than half of motorists are still making calls and texts, as well as checking social media, while they are behind the wheel, new research suggests.

The survey of more than 1,000 motorists, conducted by price comparison site, found that 2% of respondents admitted to texting while driving, while 20% admitted to making calls and 6% said they checked social media.

The research revealed that there is a much higher incidence of mobile phone usage when motorists are stuck in traffic, with 66% of motorists admitting to texting, while 37% admitted to checking social media and 18% admitted to making calls.

Just 37% of motorists said that the tougher new driving laws (six points and a fine of £220) will stop them using their phones while driving and one in three motorists believe the fines should be higher, so they are more of a deterrent.

When asked if the Government was doing enough to curb mobile phone usage, 41% of motorists said that the new measures were not tough enough are calling for the Government to do more.

What’s worrying, is that many motorists are unclear of the new rules, with one in six motorists believing they won’t be fined if they have pulled over to make a call while their engine is running.

A further 8% of motorists think that you can use your phone when you are stationary and the engine is running and almost 19% of motorists believe that you will only be fined if you are caught using your phone while you are driving.

In fact, it is illegal to touch a mobile phone, even with a hands free set, while driving and has been since 2003.

According to the latest figures, 22 people were killed and 99 seriously injured in accidents in 2015 in which the driver using a mobile phone was a contributory factor.

Scott Hamilton, managing director of, said: “The Government’s recent crackdown does not appear to be discouraging motorists to abide by the law and it’s deeply concerning that so many are continuing to use their mobile phones when they are driving.

“It’s clear that there is some confusion over what the fines apply to and the Government needs to do more to educate motorists about what constitutes a fine and points.   It also looks like the new fines don’t go far enough, to be a strong deterrent for motorists.

“It’s great that Nissan has developed in-vehicle technology to block mobile phone signals. Its prototype, Signal Shield, is built into the arm rest of its Juke crossover vehicle and uses 19th century technology.

“The ‘Faraday cage’, uses material such as a wire mesh to shield its contents from electromagnetic fields.  Drivers simply place their phones into the compartment to block out all cellular, Bluetooth and wi-fi signals. In the US, the mobile phone network, AT&T has produced a free app, DriveMode which turns on when the vehicle is moving.  It silences text message alerts and automatically replies to them.

“It would be useful if mobile phone networks in the UK used this type of app, or car manufacturers install hardware in vehicles that effectively ‘blocks’ signals to the phone.  Other potential solutions involve software on the phone with a Bluetooth link to the vehicle, or motion sensing technology.

“The big problem is that many motorists aren’t disciplined enough to turn off their phone when they get in the car and happy to take the risk.  Preventing phone use in vehicles and removing the source of temptation altogether, may be the only way to tackle the problem.”

Recent EU data shows that distraction is a contributory factor in up to 30% of collisions, while research from Transport Research Laboratory found reaction times of drivers talking on a hands-free phone to be 50% slower, than driving under normal conditions.

Expert psychologists have also concluded that the ability to multitask safely while driving a vehicle is a myth and the most dangerous of driving multitasks is texting and talking on a mobile phone.

Author:  Gareth Roberts
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M25 ALR schemes are ‘achieving safety objectives’


Second year evaluation of two sections of all-lane running (ALR) on the M25 have found that both are, at the minimum, achieving their objectives of ‘maintaining safety performance’, with one section exceeding expectations.

The DfT evaluation reports, published today (21 Mar), focus on the time period May 2015 to April 2016. The collision rate on the scheme between J23-27 fell by 11%. However, when adjusted to take into account the ‘national trend between periods’, the figures represents a 1% increase which the DfT describes as ‘not statistically significant’ and representing ‘no significant change’. With regard to the second scheme (J5-7), collision rates between J5-6 fell by 27%, which equates to 18% taking into account national trends. The report says the results for the whole stretch (J5-7) were ‘similar’. The report says this reduction is ‘statistically significant’, and that the scheme is ‘exceeding its objective of maintaining safety performance’.

Both reports do however concede that further monitoring is required due to the small sample size. In terms of traffic flow, between J23-26, average daily flows have increased in excess of 10% on all links, and at a higher rate than national trends. On the widened ALR section between J5 and J6, flows have increased 17% clockwise and 7% anticlockwise. These increases in flow are above the national trends. J6 to J7, which has not had an increase in number of lanes, saw a 5% increase in flow which is in line with national trends. Compliance with Red X signs for the two schemes were 96% and 94%. The reports conclude that for both schemes ‘significant capacity improvements have been achieved, supporting efficient movement of goods and services on this key section of the SRN’. The report also says there is still spare capacity to support future growth.


Speed Cameras Deliver ‘Significant Reduction in Road Traffic Accidents’


A new study has concluded that, on average, the number of road traffic collisions reduces by 30% at sites where speed cameras are deployed.

The study, led by Professor Dan Graham* from the Department of Civil Engineering at Imperial College London, is based on data for 771 camera sites in eight areas across England – Cheshire, Dorset, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Leicester, Merseyside, Sussex and the West Midlands.  For control sites the researchers randomly sampled 4,787 points on the network across the same eight areas.

The researchers developed an ‘approximate Bayesian doubly-robust estimation method’ to quantify the causal effect of speed cameras on collisions.

The paper says that previous empirical work on speed camera effectiveness, which shows a ‘diverse range of estimated effects’, is based largely on ‘outcome regression models’ using the Empirical Bayes approach, or on simple before and after comparisons.

The paper’s conclusion reads as follows: “We have developed an approximate Bayesian doubly robust approach for estimation of average treatment effects to analyse the impact of speed cameras on road traffic accidents. This is the first time such an approach has been applied to study road safety outcomes.

“The method we propose could be used more generally for estimation of crash modification factor distributions.

“Our case study results indicate the speed cameras do cause a significant reduction in road traffic accidents, by as much as 30% on average for treated sites.

“This is an important result that could help inform public policy debates on appropriate measures to reduce RTAs.

“The adoption of evidence based approaches by public authorities, based on clear principles of causal inference, could vastly improve their ability to evaluate different courses of action and better understand the consequences of intervention.”

*Dan Graham is professor of statistical modelling in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Director of the Statistical Modelling and Economics Research group, and Research Director of the Railway and Transport Strategy Centre within the Centre for Transport Studies at Imperial College London. He holds doctoral degrees from the Department of Mathematics at Imperial and from the London School of Economics, and has published more than 80 papers in refereed journals and two books.

He is currently engaged in projects on Bayesian inference for road traffic accident prediction and modelling the effects of transport interventions for ex-post evaluation. He provides advice to Government departments around the world, including the UK Department for Transport and the Treasury, and was appointed specialist advisor to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Transport. 


All systems go as TISPOL unveils Project EDWARD 2017


TISPOL has announced details of Project EDWARD 2017, the ‘European Day Without A Road Death’, including a new video pledge page set to launch in the coming weeks.

Taking place on Thursday 21 September 2017, Project EDWARD encourages drivers, riders and pedestrians to spare an extra thought for their safety.

The initiative is also designed to draw attention to the 70 deaths that occur on average each day on Europe’s roads. New initiatives for 2017 edition include a dedicated Twitter feed for the awareness-raising initiative, and a new website.

The new Project EDWARD website will feature a host of new resources including artwork that can be downloaded free of charge, a social media schedule, countdown timer (starting 11 June, 100 days before 21 September) and an interactive map.

The website will also feature a new pledge to sign, including a video pledge for which more details will be published in due course. The best video pledges will be showcased online and via social media. Founded in 2016,

Project EDWARD was created to ‘re-energise the reduction of fatalities and serious injuries on Europe’s roads’. While the inaugural event, which took place on 21 September, saw a fall in death across the continent, TISPOL was cautious in attributing that fall to Project EDWARD. However, it did say the initiative delivered fantastic results in terms of revitalising Europe-wide collaboration and participation, and EDWARD’s impact on social media was eye-catchingly successful. The event hashtag, #ProjectEdward, trended for much of the morning, peaking as high as number six in the UK. In total, there were 7,923 Twitter posts using the hashtag, equating to a reach of 19,298,225 users. Road Safety GB is once again supporting Project EDWARD 2017, which is sponsored by Road Safety Support and Westcotec. TISPOL is also encouraging authorities to use Project EDWARD as an umbrella theme to unite a variety of road safety awareness-raising events and initiatives

For more information about Project EDWARD, including sponsoring and supporting the initiative, contact James Luckhurst, TISPOL media advisor. – See more at:


Government confirms existing booster seats exempt from impending law change


New booster seat rules coming into effect by 1 March 2017 will not affect existing booster seats and cushions, the Government has confirmed.

In a press release issued today (2 Feb), the Government adds that the new law doesn’t mean that existing seats and cushions are ‘unsafe or illegal’. However, the release does say that the change to the technical standards means that going forward the range of products available on the market will be better suited for younger children.

In April 2016, it was widely reported in the media that laws surrounding booster seats were likely to change. The new rules mean that manufacturers are no longer permitted to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.

Existing UK law states that all children travelling in a car must use the correct car seat until they reach 12 years of age or 135cm in height. In some European countries the height limit is 150cm. At present, despite a number of child car seat experts raising concerns over the issue, children weighing as little as 15kg – that’s around three years old – can travel in a backless booster seat.

The Government is also encouraging parents to make sure they know the rules for using child car seats. – See more at:


When It Rains, It Kills

Highways England has launched a new campaign urging drivers to slow down when it’s raining, on the back of data showing that road users are 30 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in rain than in snow.

The campaign, ‘when it rains, it kills’, says that even driving within the speed limit in wet weather can be dangerous if drivers don’t allow extra space between them and the vehicle in front.

The message is being reinforced with rain-activated paint messages visible to people leaving motorway services when it is raining. The campaign also includes a new video (above) which shows rain falling inside the home of a family imagined to have been involved in a serious road collision.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “Most of us already slow down in snow, ice or fog but when it rains we consider it normal so don’t adapt our driving. “The sad fact is that 2,918 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads when it was raining last year, and not slowing down to suit the current conditions was identified as a factor in one in nine of all road deaths. “Rain makes it harder for tyres to grip the road and harder for drivers to see ahead – significantly increasing the chances of being involved in a collision. We’ve launched our new campaign to make drivers aware of the dangers and to stay safe.” Highways England says it generally takes at least twice as long to stop on a wet road as on a dry road because tyres have less grip.

Advice for drivers includes: slowing down if rain and spray from vehicles is making it difficult to see and be seen; keeping well back from the vehicle in front; and slowing down gradually if the steering becomes unresponsive as it probably means that water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road.

The campaign is the latest initiative by Highways England in its bid to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on England’s motorways and major A roads by 40% by 2020 –


Mobiles Could Be Blocked In Cars


Mobile phones could be blocked from working in moving cars under Government plans.

According to The Guardian, the Department for Transport is to work with car manufacturers and mobile companies to see whether technology could block mobile signals in moving vehicles.

The transport minister Lord Ahmad said the meeting would “consider safe drive modes, or other practical applications, when a person is driving”.

The move follows the announcement earlier this year that motorists caught using their phones will see tougher penalties.

“We are determined to crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel,” a DfT spokesperson said. “Our plans to double penalties for this serious crime should act as an incredibly strong deterrent. We will continue to explore what more can be done to tackle this crime.”

In response, the RAC said drive-safe technology can help curb mobile phone use but is not enough on its own.

RAC road safety spokesperson Pete Williams said: “We need a comprehensive package of actions to tackle the problem at every level, from the stronger penalties due next year, to tougher enforcement, combined with a greater focus on engaging drivers themselves on the issue in an effort to make them want to change their own behaviour – and in turn make our roads safer.”

Source: Fleet World By