DfT Road Safety Newsletter

DfT have published the December issue of their Road Safety Newsletter.   This newsletter has been written for the benefit of those working in the road safety field or who are interested in the topic. 

Cycling and Walking Safety Review

The Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) safety review call for evidence ran from March to June 2018. It sought ideas and evidence on how to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety in support of the government’s overall ambition to increase active travel. The call for evidence generated over 14,000 responses from members of the public of every age and description, as well as local authorities, cycling and walking organisations, police forces and more.

On 18 October, the Department published a factual document summarising the call for evidence responses and setting out the main themes emerging from our analysis.

Then, on 22 November, the Department published the government response to the call for evidence. The response sets out a vision and a two year plan of action, with 21 packages of measures addressing the key themes and issues raised in the call for evidence. Among the key measures are:

  • a review of guidance in The Highway Code to improve safety for vulnerable road users;
  • new investment to support the police to improve enforcement by developing a national back office function to handle footage provided through dash-cam evidence;
  • enforcement against parking in mandatory cycle lanes;
  • the appointment of a new Cycling and Walking Champion to raise the profile of active travel;
  • encouragement for local authorities to increase investment in cycling and walking infrastructure to 15% of total transport infrastructure spending; and
  • engaging with key cycling and walking organisations to develop a behaviour change campaign alongside the action plan.

This summer, and alongside this work, the Department also published a consultation on proposals for new offences to deal with those who kill or seriously injure others through dangerous cycling behaviour. The consultation asked for views on whether cyclists should face offences similar to those of causing death or serious injury when driving dangerously or carelessly. Some of the issues raised in reply to the call for evidence were also raised as part of the new offences consultation. The responses are currently being analysed and a separate government response will be published in 2019.

Publication of 20mph Limit Evaluation

On 22nd November 2018 we published the evaluation into 20mph limits (ie signed only, without physical traffic calming measures). The study was carried out on behalf of the Department by the engineering consultancy Atkins, and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/20-mph-speed-limits-on-roads.

It has long been thought that most residents and drivers support 20mph limits, and the study confirms this.

The study looked at the enablers and barriers to implementing a successful scheme and found that early engagement and buy-in from other stakeholders, including cross-party support from local councillors; clear articulation of the scheme’s rationale, objectives and outcomes; and tailoring of schemes to local circumstances were crucial to a scheme being accepted by the public and delivered to the anticipated quality, programme and cost.

Overall the introduction of 20mph limits led to a small reduction in median speed (less than 1mph), but vehicles travelling at higher speeds before the change of speed limit reduced their speed more than those already travelling at lower speeds.

The study found insufficient evidence to conclude that in residential areas the introduction of 20mph limits had led to a significant change in collisions and casualties.  However, one city centre case study did show a significant reduction in collisions and casualties.  Overall, there was a small but statistically significant improvement in reported levels of cycling and walking.

In all, twelve case study schemes were studied, comprising a variety of area types, road types and scale.  A further three case studies covered local authorities that had chosen not to implement a 20mph scheme.

The findings of the study support the advice already set out in the Department’s guidance Setting Local Speed Limits. Important benefits of 20 mph schemes include quality of life and community benefits, and encouragement of healthier and more sustainable transport modes such as walking and cycling.  The guidance emphasises that traffic authorities have the power to introduce 20mph speed limits or zones on:

  • Major streets where there are – or could be – significant numbers of journeys on foot, and/or where pedal cycle movements are an important consideration, and this outweighs the disadvantage of longer journey times for motorised traffic.

This is in addition to

  • Residential streets in cities, towns and villages, particularly where the streets are being used by people on foot and on bicycles, there is community support and the characteristics of the street are suitable.

The Department has funded RoSPA to write a guide for local authorities, ‘Introducing 20mph Limits’, as well as to update the RoSPA guides ‘Road Safety: a Guide for Local Councillors in England’ and ‘Road Safety and Public Health’ in the light of this new research.

THINK! Christmas 2018 Drink Driving Campaign

A mate doesn’t let a mate drink drive

This Christmas THINK! is launching a new campaign, which will encourage young men to step in when their mate is tempted to drink drive.

Mates are highly influential in young people’s lives and we want to embrace this influence to tackle drink drivers, by encouraging mates to intervene, at a time when social drinking is at its peak.

Our research showed many young men felt awkward about intervening when a mate was intending to drive after drinking. Our campaign will use humour to encourage young men to step in and speak up.

We are producing three videos showing some exaggerated ways mates can look out for each other and stop their mate driving after drinking. This content will run on social media and online video platforms in the run up to Christmas, so keep a look out.

Early in 2019 we will launch our New Driver campaign. With one in five drivers crashing in their first year we want to raise awareness of the vulnerabilities new drivers face and provide them with useful tips to learn the ways of the road.

News from Eurostat – the European Union’s statistical bulletin.

European Commission – Final Road Safety Figures, 2017

On the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, the European Commission presented the final Road Safety Figures for 2017, which show for the second year in a row a decrease by 2% of road fatalities in the EU compared to the previous year. European Coordinator for Road Safety Matthew Baldwin said: “Whilst European roads are the safest in the world, the downward curve has flattened out in past years. We still have many challenges ahead of us: I especially think of vulnerable road users, who– as the figures show- are making up a larger share of the casualties, especially in urban areas. We need an active, cooperative, holistic approach amongst all stakeholders to implement what we know needs to be done – the Safe System

ITF – Safer City Streets: Global Benchmarking for Urban Road Safety, 2018

The International Transport Forum (ITF/OECD) published recently a new Report: “Safer City Streets: Global Benchmarking for Urban Road Safety”, with the active contribution of National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). This document aims to support cities in setting road safety targets and to monitor progress in improving urban road safety. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists account for nearly 80% of urban traffic fatalities. Cities should thus intensify efforts to improve the safety of vulnerable road users. This document presents traffic safety indicators for different road user groups collected in 31 cities worldwide to facilitate the evaluation, monitoring and benchmarking of road safety outcomes. It places a particular attention on measuring the risk of fatality per unit distance travelled.

European Commission – Study on powered two-wheeler and bicycle accidents in the EU, SaferWheels, 2018

The European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG Move) published the Final Report of the “Study on powered two-wheeler and bicycle accidents in the EU, SaferWheels”, with the active contribution of NTUA. The SaferWheels study was conducted to investigate accident causation for traffic accidents involving powered two-wheelers and bicycles in the European Union. The objective of the study was to gather PTW and bicycle accident data from in-depth crash investigations, obtain accident causation and medical data for those crashes, and to store the information according to an appropriate and efficient protocol enabling a causation-oriented analysis.

News from DfT Stakeholders

Road Safety Support’s Speed Testing Facility Now an Official Laboratory

Road Safety Support’s facility for testing the accuracy of speed cameras and other speed measurement devices has passed a stringent accreditation process and is now recognised internationally as an official testing laboratory.  The not-for-profit company, which provides specialist services to the majority of police forces and highway authorities in the UK, has been awarded ISO 17025, the most important standard for testing laboratories around the world.

The accreditation comes 18 months after Road Safety Support International (RSSi) was recognised for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade specialising in the development of international road safety strategies and training; with a particular focus on the enforcement element of road safety improvements.  Although a small organisation; staff numbering around 20;  RSSi have assisted a number of organisations in Hong Kong, Malaysia, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia and Saudi Arabia to develop robust and effective road safety strategies that supports communities.  Now with the RSS testing laboratory gaining accreditation, the team can continue to really make a difference both in the UK and Internationally.

The facility has been approved by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to test the accuracy of speed cameras, vehicle speedometers and other devices, either at its dedicated testing track or on any road across the world that is covered by GPS satellite service.  It is one of just a small number of accredited laboratories of its kind worldwide.

Trevor Hall, Managing Director of Road Safety Support, said: “We are incredibly proud to achieve this accreditation. It reflects the high standards, knowledge and professionalism of Road Safety Support and our team responsible for the testing and calibration process”.

For a number of years, Road Safety Support has been responsible for testing the reliability and accuracy of new speed cameras and other road traffic enforcement technologies in the Type Approval process, on behalf of the Home Office. The company will use its new accreditation to strengthen that process.  Road Safety Support will be offering testing and verification services to the police service, manufacturers of speed enforcement technology, the motoring industry and other related organisations.

Further information about Road Safety Support can be found at:  www.roadsafetysupport.co.uk or https://www.roadsafetysupport.co.uk/enforcement-technology-testing

Project Pictogram – Driving Safer Roads

Project Pictogram is an innovative approach to amplifying the communication efforts of ALL road safety organisations’ messaging around The Fatal Four. It is designed to work cohesively with all other communication directed at these key road risks. In addition to the four, a fifth pictogram also highlights the Highway Code’s rule 126 safe following distance.

In combination, the pictograms can be used to communicate the ‘3 Simple Habits’ of a basic safe driving plan: balancing speed to space/conditions through distraction-free observation and forward planning.

The initiative creates a voluntary ‘industry standard’ for the communication of these key road risk reduction priorities, giving the business community a common standard/brand to align to should they wish to help in the communication of these messages. All pictogram artwork files and a comprehensive set of brand usage guidelines are available to download free of charge from the Project Pictogram webpage.

Guidelines and artwork file downloads can be found at:  www.hantsfire.gov.uk/project-pictogram

For more information, please contact Phil Palfrey: phil.palfrey@outlook.com

Road Safety Management Capacity Review – SYSTRA

An independent review and not a statement of government policy

The British Road Safety Statement 2015 set out the Government’s commitment to reducing road deaths and injuries and to conduct a Road Safety Management Capacity Review (RSMCR).   A RSMCR is a strategic assessment, benchmarking and capacity building tool, originally developed by the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility, to guide investments and assist countries in strengthening road safety management.

In May 2017, the DfT commissioned a RSMCR to benchmark and understand the current status of institutional delivery of road safety in Britain, and to identify practical and actionable opportunities for strengthening joint working, local innovation, and efficiency on a national and local basis.  The final report can be found at:


SYSTRA provides research and advice on transport, to central, regional and local government, agencies, developers, operators and financiers.  www.systra.co.uk


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