Articles Tagged ‘government - Brake the road safety charity’

50 years, 25,000+ dead, since first anti-drink drive ad

Friday 7 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

"Don't ask a man to drink and drive" – that was the plea of the government's first ever public information film on the dangers of drink driving, 50 years ago. Since then, drink drivers over the legal limit have killed at least 25,000 people and seriously injured at least 130,000 in the UK [1] – but as these casualties have only been recorded since 1979, the complete figures are likely to be tens of thousands higher.

Casualties have fallen dramatically since the first drink drive ad, but drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads. Brake, the road safety charity, is using the anniversary to highlight the ongoing menace of drink driving and call for zero-tolerance to help stamp it out for good. See calls for action below.

With its appeal to women not to let their partners drink drive, the 1964 advert is a product of its time, but its message remains as relevant as ever. To this day, men account for more than three quarters (77%) of drink drive casualties [2]. What has changed is the message about how much is too much, with research having demonstrated the huge danger of drinking even small amounts and driving [3]. While the 1964 advert warns of the risks of drinking four to six whiskies, today Brake's not a drop campaign urges people to stay off the alcohol altogether if driving.

Drink drive (over the legal limit) casualties have steadily decreased, from 1,640 dead and 8,300 seriously injured in 1979, to 230 dead and 1,200 seriously injured in 2012 (latest available figures) [4]. They now account for one in eight road deaths (13%) compared with a quarter in 1979 [5].This is partly thanks to public education campaigns such as those by the Department for Transport's road safety agency, THINK! – it's estimated these prevented almost 2,000 deaths and over 10,000 serious injuries from 1979 to 2009 [6].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Public education is critical to tackling road deaths and injuries, not just those caused by drink driving, so it is vital the government continues to fund this work. However, it is shocking that even though drivers are now well informed of the dangers, many continue to get behind the wheel after a drink, causing an unacceptable death toll and horrendous suffering for those who are left bereaved or injured. That's why we need a zero-tolerance drink drive limit – to send a clear message that any amount of alcohol makes you unsafe to drive – with tougher penalties and enhanced traffic policing to enforce it. Think – how many more lives will be destroyed or ruined if we don't act now?"

Brake campaigns for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood through its not a drop, not a drag campaign, and is urging all political parties to make this a key manifesto commitment for the 2015 general election. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #NotADrop.

Facts
One in eight deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit [7] of 80mg alcohol per 100 ml blood. Drivers with even 20-50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood are at least three times more likely to die in a crash than those with no alcohol in their blood [8]. This is because even small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination. Alcohol also makes it impossible for drivers to assess their own impairment because it creates a false sense of confidence and means drivers are more inclined to take risks and believe they are in control when they are not [9]. Find out more.

Brake's advice
Even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times and hazard perception, making them much more likely to crash, even if they don't feel drunk or even tipsy. The only way to ensure you're safe is to not drink any alcohol before driving, and never drive the morning after having more than one or two drinks. As a passenger, only accept a lift with a driver who's had no alcohol at all.

Planning ahead to get home safely will help avoid getting into an awkward or risky situation, such as having to refuse a lift from a driver who has had alcohol. If you're getting a lift back from a BBQ, party or night out with someone, make sure they are 100% on board with not having any alcohol at all. Always have a plan B just in case a designated driver lets you down, or arrange from the outset to get a taxi or public transport instead.

Calls for government action
Brake calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, to send a clear message that it should be none for the road. This allows for naturally occurring alcohol in the body, and is a limit set by numerous other countries including Sweden, Poland and Greece. The EU recommends a limit of no more than 50mg, and within the EU only Malta shares the UK's limit of 80mg. Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland have announced intentions to reduce their limits to 50mg, and in Northern Ireland, newly qualified drivers and commercial drivers will have a zero tolerance limit of 20mg.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes
[1] Reported drink drive accidents and casualties (estimates): Great Britain, annually from 1979, Department for Transport, 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras51-reported-drinking-and-driving 
[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2014
[3] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[4] Reported drink drive accidents and casualties (estimates): Great Britain, annually from 1979, Department for Transport, 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras51-reported-drinking-and-driving 
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2012 (final), Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/341271/drink-drive-final-estimates-2012.pdf 
[6] Department for Transport: How thirty years of drink drive communications saved almost 2,000 lives, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, 2012 https://gcn.civilservice.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Department_for_Transport_How_thirty_years_of_drink_drive_communications_saved.pdf 
[7] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2012 (final), Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/341271/drink-drive-final-estimates-2012.pdf 
[8] Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010
[9] ibid

Brake annual reception, January 2017

Speech by Mary Williams OBE, chief executive, Brake, annual reception for the charity, Westminster, 25 January 2017

To quote Martin Luther King, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Time is an unruly beast however. 

It has a habit of speeding up and slowing down.

For busy families, and busy workers, in our busy world, it moves fast. The temptation to multi-task; to drive while on a smart phone, to break speed limits, to take the car rather than cycle and save the planet, are life-threatening, climate endangering behaviours fuelled by pressures of time. They cause drivers to prioritise ‘in the moment’, wrongly, and to devastating effect.

Time can stop in a moment.

Time grinds to a halt when someone is killed or seriously injured in a road crash. Our routines are suspended. Suddenly, our attention is focussed.

It’s beautifully summed up in WH Auden’s famous poem so often used at funerals.  “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. Scribble on the sky the message “he is dead”.”

Yet, consumed by grief and distress, we are given a strange and precious gift. We are given the gift of sight. We can see what matters above all – people and life. As Auden puts it: “he was my north, my south, my east, my west.”

Whether we can see it or not, the time is always right to put humanity first.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” 

There are so many affected families who work alongside Brake, bravely, to fight for humanity. To fight for what others cannot see through the haze of the day to day.

To fight for appropriately grave sentences for drivers who kill and injure through wanton actions:

use of smart phones and other on-board screens.

drink and drug driving.

speeding, or driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured.

knowingly driving a mechanically unfit vehicle or driving tired.  

Campaigning takes time – frustrating amounts of time. Brake has been fighting for tougher sentences for more than 20 years. Last year, working with affected families, we elevated our Roads to Justice campaign in the media.

The current government consultation road traffic offences provides a real and urgent opportunity to redress paltry sentencing.

There are so many campaigns that Brake has found, to our cost, take inordinate time, when the road ahead seems so clear.

There are so many campaigns we have consistently supported, are still outstanding and that this government has a chance to resolve. 

A reduction in the drink drive limit, to stop our country being infamous for having the highest limit in Europe.

The government has the public with them. More than three quarters of drivers we surveyed in partnership with Direct Line think our limit is too high.

Approved testing devices to catch MDMA and cocaine drivers.

20mph limits as a default for built up roads.

A country-wide network of segregated cycle lanes that connect places, enabling, fast, healthy, zero emission transport.

Prioritisation of pedestrianisation, with wide and safe pavements, crossing places and livable traffic free spaces, enabling people to move our bodies, talk to our children, meet our neighbours. Invigorating communities.

A country with transport powered by clean fuels, to end the carnage of respiratory deaths from particulate pollution. There is more than one way a vehicle can kill you.  

Vehicles, speed, air pollution and people just don’t mix. It’s possible, but not yet, that automated vehicles of the future will be able to stop on a penny for every hazard.

But that doesn’t and will never change our need to move our bodies, and consequently be healthy, happy people, particularly our children and their need to walk, run, hop and skip in safety and while breathing clean air.   

This week’s very high air pollution warning in London and the mayor’s announcement of “toxic air audits” at London schools drives home the importance of super-charging policy measures to enable low-carbon transport. 

Brake is fighting for a world that is safe, green, clean and fair, with zero road casualties and emissions from transport. This is a vision of sustainable mobility.

The United Nation’s 2020 deadline is rapidly approaching, for a halving of road deaths and injuries globally through safe systems and the 2030 goal of clean transport.  

This government has the power to stop the clock. To see what needs to be done. To be at the forefront of road safety solutions globally.

Over the past year, Brake has looked hard at our role providing education. We’ve particularly reflected on the difficulties of a campaigning, awareness raising charity achieving immediate behavioural change among individual drivers. Our surveys tell us time and again that many drivers understand risks, and do it anyway.

More than half of 25-34 year old drivers we questioned last year admitted sending or reading messages while driving.

Behavioural changes takes time. We haven’t got time.

The reality is that, while Brake can raise awareness, change needs to come from the top, and fast. 

To provide more funding for victim support.

To eliminate road casualties through safe systems.

To enable all vehicles to be clean vehicles.

But together we are so much stronger. I want to thank all supporters of the charity who help enable that change.

The families bereaved and injured, and their supportive communities, who raise awareness of the cause and fundraise.

The teachers who promote Road Safety Week in their schools, enabling children to pester power their parents to slow down.

The police and other road safety professionals, particularly family liaison officers, doing such an important task supporting affected families.

The companies prioritising managing their road risk, investing in low-carbon transport, or providing funds to the charity.

To our governments for part-funding Road Safety Week and our national victim helpline.

And last but not least to the Brake team of staff I am privileged to work with, many of whom are here tonight also.

When a life ends, time is suspended. We have clarity. Let’s use that clarity to keep fighting for humanity. 

 

 

Brake calls for urgent investment in road policing after huge drop in drivers caught on mobiles

news@brake.org.uk

28 September 2016

New figures revealed by the BBC after a freedom of information request show that the number of people caught using phones at the wheel has dropped from 177,900 to 93,606 between 2011-12 and 2015-16. That is a reduction of almost 40%. The majority of the decrease has been seen in the last two years.

The Police Federation says the number of dedicated road traffic officers has been hugely reduced over the last few years.  There has been a 23% reduction in the number of full-time equivalent traffic police officers from 5,635 in 2010 to 4,356 in 2014. Reductions have been experienced in 41 of the 43 forces. (Full breakdown of police forces available here in a response to a Written Question Jack Dromey MP, responded to on 2 Feb 2015).

The government recently confirmed plans to double fines and penalty points for using a phone behind the wheel, but without sufficient officers to enforce this, Brake is concerned even the new tougher penalties may not be seen as a real deterrent.

21 police forces (see table in notes to editors below) saw their conviction rate drop by more than half and just two police forces have seen the numbers of people caught increase in that period: Norfolk and West Yorkshire.

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns advisor for Brake, said: “It would be wonderful to think this drop is down to people getting the message about the dangers of mobile phone use, but sadly we don’t think this is the case. A recent report called mobile use behind the wheel 'an epidemic', with our own studies showing more than half of drivers in some age groups admit they still use a phone while driving. As our police forces have faced major budget reductions, road traffic officers have too often been seen as a soft option for cuts. They are an essential part of the service and save lives. As the government brings in tougher new penalties for this crime, it must make sure it resources our police forces properly so this is a real deterrent.” 

ENDS.

NOTES TO EDITORS

             

Essex, Northumbria and Gwent declined to respond

         

Cleveland, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire failed to respond in time

       

Leicestershire is calendar year rather than financial year

       

Wiltshire figures only include penalty points or progressed to court

     
                   
     

How many drivers were caught using their mobile phones while driving

                   
     

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

   

AVON/SOMERSET

 

1756

1371

1134

1060

854

   

BEDFORDSHIRE

 

1607

1421

1250

989

730

   

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

 

2268

2998

2840

2476

1828

   

CHESHIRE

   

3935

2677

3296

2277

2062

   

CITY OF LONDON

 

514

348

229

277

340

   

CUMBRIA

   

1383

1129

953

833

634

   

DERBYSHIRE

 

1523

1016

1311

1273

1217

   

DORSET

   

3539

2186

1531

1214

925

 

**

DURHAM

   

881

651

552

417

398

   

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

 

1124

868

889

790

857

   

GREATER MANCHESTER

7605

9140

4534

3024

2885

   

HAMPSHIRE

 

5936

5372

5479

6272

4986

   

HERTFORDSHIRE

 

3389

3425

3613

2743

1652

   

HUMBERSIDE

 

2934

2510

1557

1188

1137

   

KENT

   

4496

2747

1404

822

723

   

LANCASHIRE

 

6029

4774

2559

971

1093

   

LEICESTERSHIRE

 

1567

1324

1410

1209

653

 

**

LINCOLNSHIRE

 

1810

1473

1686

1405

1042

   

MERSEYSIDE

 

5772

4399

3615

4043

2490

   

MET

   

30923

28150

28045

23036

19610

   

NORFOLK

   

1935

1586

1022

836

2287

   

NORTH YORKSHIRE

 

2215

1412

998

786

702

   

NORTHANTS

 

1410

1110

794

658

489

   

SOUTH YORKSHIRE

 

3743

2690

2233

1640

1374

   

SURREY

   

3854

2655

2597

2339

1646

   

SUSSEX

   

5981

4268

2474

1846

1424

   

THAMES VALLEY

 

11221

11845

10668

10853

10103

   

WARWICKS

 

918

979

773

646

750

   

WEST MERCIA

 

2564

2565

3067

2235

2336

   

WEST MIDLANDS

 

6694

4100

2684

2140

2818

   

WEST YORKSHIRE

 

1335

4489

4741

2453

3107

   

WILTSHIRE

 

2008

1462

1372

664

412

 

**

NORTHERN IRELAND

 

9561

8420

7849

7193

6550

   

SCOTLAND

 

28311

30243

35732

17922

10061

   

DYFED POWYS

 

2603

2590

2488

1254

1493

   

NORTH WALES

 

1599

1800

1570

1518

1058

   

SOUTH WALES

 

2957

1985

1274

1316

880

   
                   

TOTAL

   

177900

162178

150223

112618

93606

   

YR ON YEAR FALL

   

8.8

7.4

25

16.9

   

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes.

Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week.

Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. 

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.



Brake comments on learner drivers being permitted on motorways

News from Brake
Monday 4 June 2018
 
Brake urges the Government to protect young drivers as learners take to the motorways
 
From today (Monday 4 June), learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will be permitted to take driving lessons on motorways, alongside an approved driving instructor in a dual control car [1]. The move is part of the Government’s efforts to better prepare learner drivers for driving safely on the roads after passing their test.
 
Brake urges the Government go further to address the tragedy of young driver death on our roads and is calling for the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system across the UK. Brake recommends that such a system should include a 12-month learner period, an initial test, and then a two-year novice period when drivers can drive independently but with restrictions – such as a late-night driving curfew [2].
 
Commenting on the change, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
“While today’s move is a small step in the right direction, a total overhaul in the way in which we learn to drive is urgently needed. Young people are disproportionality at risk on our roads – 7% of the driving population but involved in a fifth of all road deaths – and this is ultimately down to inexperience. Training on motorways is important, but with just 4% of crashes taking place on these roads, today’s changes fall well short.”
 
“Brake urges a solution which will deliver radical improvements. A Graduated Driver Licensing System includes a minimum supervised learning period and restrictions for newly qualified drivers and is proven to work; a Government report stated the public health benefits of GDL are indisputable and could prevent up to 9,000 casualties annually.”
 
“Improvements in UK road safety have stagnated in recent years and a step-change is required. GDL is proven to deliver for some of our most vulnerable road users and must be implemented as a matter of priority.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors:
 
 
 
References from quotes:
  • 17-24 full license holders = 2,784,703
  • All full license holders = 40,331,643
  • % of 17-24 license holders – 6.90%
  • Number of fatalities involving car drivers aged 17-24 = 354
  • Total road fatalities = 1,792
  • % of road fatalities involving car drivers aged 17-24 = 19.75%
  • Number of crashes on motorways = 5,405
  • Total road crashes = 136,621
  • % of crashes on motorways = 3.96%
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 

Brake joins road safety groups and emergency services to call for lower drink-drive limit

10 October 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Public opinion polls show 77% in favour of a lower legal limit

Today, Brake, the road safety charity has joined a wide range other groups calling for MPs to reduce the UK’s high drink driving limit. See notes to editors for the full list.

There is also strong public support for lowering the limit, with the British Social Attitude Survey recently finding that three quarters of the public (77%) support lowering the drink driving limit.[i]

The Government state that drink driving ‘remains a priority’, but there has been no reduction in the number of drink driving deaths since 2010.

  • Every year drink driving causes 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties in the UK. This costs £800 million a year.
  • 60% of those who are killed or injured are people other than the driver, such as passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • In England and Wales the drink-drive limit is set at 80mg alcohol/100ml blood and has been since 1965.

England and Wales have one of the highest drink drive limits in the world. Set 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, it is greater than the rest of Europe (with the exception only of Malta), as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Lowering our drink drive limit to 50mg alcohol/100ml blood would reduce drink driving deaths by at least 10%.

The Government of Malta recently announced plans to lower the drink drive limit to 50mg this month in a new National Alcohol Policy to reduce harm.(1)

Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months.(2) Northern Ireland is set to lower its drink driving limit before the end of 2016.

A two-minute animation has been produced by the Institute of Alcohol Studies to support this campaign, outlining the key arguments: http://www.ias.org.uk/lowerlimit

Gary Rae, Brake’s director of communications and campaigns, said: “Drink driving remains one of the biggest causes of devastating road crashes; often young and inexperienced drivers and passengers are involved and frequently they are the tragic victims. We must continue to send a clear message to all drivers that drinking and driving is a lethal cocktail. It's shocking to see how many crashes, many involving deaths and serious injuries, have involved men in their 20s. This call to action today is a useful stepping stone to a time when there is a zero alcohol limit.”

Katherine Brown, Director at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: “Recent decades have seen great improvements in road safety, but progress on drink driving has ground to a halt. With hundreds of lives lost each year, we can’t afford to let England and Wales fall behind our neighbours in road safety standards. “It’s time the Government looked at the evidence and what other countries are doing to save lives and make roads safer. We need to make drink driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink drive limit.

Notes to editors:

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns,community educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

More information on drink driving, with fully referenced statistics and information on drink driving accidents across England and Wales broken down by region, can be found here – www.ias.org.uk/lowerlimit

Drink driving background info:

In England and Wales the drink-drive limit is set at 80mg alcohol/100ml blood and has been since 1965. Drivers who drink up to this limit are six times more likely to be killed in an accident as drivers who have not consumed alcohol.

The cost of UK drink driving accidents and casualties is £800 million per year.(3) This does not include the 40% of fatal accidents where people have alcohol within their system, but are below the 80mg limit.(4)

Drink driving leads to 240 deaths and more than 8000 casualties each year.

The Department for Transport calculate that 60% of those who are killed or injured in reported drink driving incidents are people other than the driver, such as passengers, other road users or pedestrians.(5)

Organisations lending their support to the animation calling for a lower drink drive limit include:

 

The RAC Foundation The AA
Institute of Advanced Motoring Campaign Against Drink Driving
Insure the Box BRAKE: The Road Safety Charity
Allianz Abellio
Medical Council on Alcohol Spectrum Community Health
Alcohol Health Alliance The Royal College of Emergency Medicine
British Medical Journal Royal College of Practitioners
Royal Society of Public Health College of Paramedics
SCARD: Support & Care After Road Death & Injury Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Roadpeace
Fire Brigades Union Police Federation
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Durham Police and Crime Commissioner

 

References:

(1)  Malta National Government (Oct 2016) Alcohol Policy Document

(2)  BBC News (29 May 2015) Drink-drive offences fall after lower limit introduced.

(3)  Institute of Alcohol Studies. Drink driving factsheet.

(4)  Department for Transport (2016) Proportion of killed drivers/riders resulting from reported accidents by BAC category

(5)  Department for Transport (2016) Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final)

[i] Telegraph (20th Sep 2016) Three quarters of people think the drink driving limit should be lowered.

Brake meeting with Mike Penning Road Safety Minister - 6 July 2010

Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive of Brake and Ellen Booth, Campaigns Officer of Brake, met Mike Penning MP, the newly appointed Road Safety Minister.

Issues discussed included:

Minister’s background and commitment to road safety

The Minister explained that he used to be a paramedic in the army as well as a fire fighter before he went into politics. He used to be involved in road safety education for young people through his work as a fire fighter and be believes that education plays an important part in promoting road safety. He explained that he had a strong commitment to road safety that stems from cutting too many people from car wreckages. The Minister is a motorcycle rider and is concerned that the number of motorcycle deaths hasn’t reduced as much as for other road users. He is also especially concerned about young male drivers.

Brake acknowledged the Minister’s statement of commitment to road safety. As a charity that works directly with people affected by death and serious injury on the roads, we share his understanding of the devastation that results from road crashes. We hope that his first hand experience of the carnage on our roads will impel him to provide strong leadership on road safety and push for tough legislation to protect the British public.

Funding for road safety

The Minister doesn’t agree that road safety will necessarily be cut at local level in line with the 40% cuts made by central Government to the road safety grant provided to local authorities. He disagrees that these cuts send a strong message to local authorities that road safety isn’t a priority. He argued that local authorities must decide on their priorities themselves rather than look to central Government to make those decisions. Althought the road safety grant has been cut by 40% effective in this year, local authorities have the choice to fund road safety from other sources of funding that aren’t ring fenced. He believes that local authorities must make their own decisions about what to fund. He pointed out that he has also halted all major roads projects so road safety is not the only target of the cuts.

Brake asserted that cutting the road safety grant so drastically sends a message to local authorities that road safety can be sacrificed through this period of austerity. If more isn’t done to ensure road safety is adequately funded now and provided with certainty for the future then we face a bleak prospect of more deaths on our roads, which could cost society far more than is beign saved through these cuts.

A vision for road safety to 2020.

The Minister wants to create a future where road safety becomes integrated into transport policy at a more intrinsic level. This means that when new roads are built he wants to ensure road safety is prioritised at the design level. For example, we need to provide sufficient rest areas on motorways.

When asked if and when he would be setting a road safety strategy and road casualty reduction targets for 2010-2020 he said he was unable to confirm this at the moment.

He is not an advocate of targets because he feels they can be misleading and create false incentives that are counterproductive. He stated that he does not yet have a timetable for when he will set out a strategy to 2020. He did state that he thinks it is important that central Government provides leadership to local authorities through outlining priorities in a strategy. However, he is not convinced that setting an ambitious vision for road safety such as Sweden’s ‘Vision Zero’ is realistic.

Brake argued that setting ambitious targets on the reduction in the number of people killed on our roads would help to drive down deaths and casualties, and pointed to evidence target setting leading to accelerated casualty reductions. In July 2009, Brake responded to the Government’s ‘a safer way’ consultation on the setting of a new strategy for road safety over the coming decade arguing that we need challenging targets, separate targets for deaths and serious injuries, and a clear and ambitious vision for road safety. Brake believes that this vision should encompass the concept that road deaths are preventable and therefore unacceptable – with the long-term goal of reducing deaths to zero (similar to visions already in place in Sweden and Scotland). Brake pressed the Minister that setting a direction and targets for road safety must be an urgent priority.

Speed cameras

The Minister believes speed cameras should be used as one tool among many but more recently they have become the main focus of road safety measures. Instead he wants action to be taken to educate people rather than entirely focusing on enforcement. The Minister believes that speed enforcement through cameras is not fully evidenced.

With regards to his recent announcements that central Government would not be funding any more fixed speed cameras he stated that he hasn’t directed local authorities not to put up any more fixed speed cameras. He asserted that he is committed to localism and that it is up to local authorities to decide how to spend their money, including whether they want to put up more fixed speed cameras. He insisted that his announcement was solely that central Government won’t provide money for fixed speed cameras but local authorities can continue to purchase them. He stated that average speed cameras seem to be a better way of reducing speed and he will promote their use, especially on motorways.

Brake has spoken out on the Minister’s comments on speed cameras, pointing to evidence on their effectiveness, and surveys showing that the majority of drivers accept their use as a safety measure. The Department for Transport’s own research shows that speed cameras are proven to reduce speed and casualties. Brake agrees that a whole host of road safety measures should be encouraged, but this should include cameras as they are a cost-effective, popular and an extremely efficient way of improving road safety in the short term. Brake also agrees that a greater number of average speed cameras should be rolled out across the country, both on major routes and in built up areas.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA)

The Minister does not believe in mandatory ISA. He would prefer a system of voluntary ISA. He is looking into producing a national map of speed limits that could be used by individuals and fleets who wish to use ISA in their vehicles.

In the long term, Brake would like to see the introduction of mandatory intelligent speed adaptation to ensure that all drivers can stick to speed limits. Research has shown that mandatory ISA would reduce fatal crashes by 50%[1] - that is more than 1,000 lives saved in Great Britain alone every year. Brake is urging the Government to fund production of a speed limit map, which would pave the way for ISA, and enable fleet operators to start using it, while costing relatively little.

Drug driving

The Minister has had the appropriate meetings to get the ball rolling on introducing drugalysers, including with manufacturers. He has been investigating the different types of drugalysers available. A drugalyser which could be used in a non-evidential capacity at the roadside is now in the hands of the Home Office, which needs to give type approval for a device.  Once drugalysers are type approved they will be piloted and then rolled out nationally.

The Minister believes that we urgently need this new technology to tackle the serious problem of drug driving and is committed to acting quickly once they have received type approval from the Home Office.

The Minister added that he agrees that we need to find a way to remove the need for police to prove impairment from drugs to prosecute for drug driving. It should be possible to prosecute drug drivers simply for having illegal drugs (or a certain level of illegal drugs) present in their body.

Brake welcomes the Minister’s swift action on drugalyser technology and promise to deliver implementation quickly once type approval was given by the Home Office. Brake also pressed the Minister to act to change the requirement on ‘impairment’ for drug driving as a matter of urgency and set a timetable for achieving this. Brake also emphasised the need for sufficient resources and powers for police to carry out adequate levels of drug testing at the roadside.

Drink drive limit

The Minister was not able to divulge how he will respond to Sir Peter North’s recommendation on lowering the drink drive limit.

He did state that he hopes to remove the need for police to consult a doctor to verify drink driving which would make the enforcement of the drink drive limit easier.

He also stated that he was concerned that the North Report made no recommendations on how to target people who are over the limit by large amounts. He is concerned that this is a big problem on rural roads. He hopes to identify what he can do about this particular problem.

He believes that education on drink driving should play a major part in tackling the problem.

Brake argues that the drink drive limit must be lowered to 20mg/100ml blood or less, an effective zero tolerance approach, to reflect research which shows that even small amounts of alcohol impair driving ability. Brake believes that leaving the drink drive limit at 80mg alcohol or even reducing it to 50mg leaves the public confused over how much they can drink safely and even how much will put them over the legal limit. The only way for drivers to know that they are safe, as well as legal, is to not drink any alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Young drivers

The Minister is very concerned about the safety of young male drivers. He believes that education must play a role in making them safer on the roads.

The Minister believes that learning to drive shouldn’t be about learning to pass a test. It should be about learning to enjoy driving and driving safely. He wants to move towards this understanding of learning to drive and believes that the changes he has already announced on improving the motorcycle test is the first step in this direction. He said that more will follow.

Brake urged the Minister to consider introducing Graduated Driver Licensing to help reduce crashes involving young drivers.

Enforcement

The Minister believes that the police do not need greater powers to enforce traffic offences. Instead he believes that a lack of resources is to blame for the low levels of enforcement for offences on our roads.

Brake argued that enforcement of the law must be radically improved by increasing the number of specialist traffic officers on our roads and giving the police the powers to use up to date technology.


 

[1] ISA-UK: Intelligent speed adaptation, Professor Oliver Carston et al., The University of Leeds and MIRA Ltd, 2008

Brake supports proposed penalty point increase for risky mobile phone use

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed reports that the government is considering doubling penalty points for using a mobile phone while driving. The reports say the move has been recommended by Metropolitan Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has asked his officials to look into the idea.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "This is a welcome proposal, and we hope the government will implement it. Brake has long campaigned for tougher penalties for mobile phone use at the wheel because of the suffering we see the bereaved and injured victims of road crashes put through as the result of such a senseless and unnecessary risk. An increase in penalty points is a step in the right direction, but it could provide a more effective deterrent if combined with an increase in the fixed penalty fine to £500-1,000, as well as heightened traffic enforcement, so risky law-breaking drivers know they will not get away with it.

"It is also vitally important the government doesn't ignore the danger of hands-free mobiles. Research shows using a phone hands-free is about as risky as picking up the phone while driving, so this should be included within the ban, and carry the same penalty. Our message to drivers is clear: switch your phone off, put it out of sight and reach, and remove the temptation to jeopardise someone's life for the sake of a call or text."

A recent survey by Brake and Direct Line showed almost half of drivers admit using a mobile phone while driving, with the use of hands-free a growing danger.

Brake campaigns to stamp out the danger of mobile phones and other distractions at the wheel through its Drive smart campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #DriveSmart.

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake urges investment in life saving traffic police in response to falling numbers and rising casualties

Monday 9 February 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, is urging government to make traffic policing a national priority, in response to figures revealing that traffic police numbers in England and Wales have fallen by 23% in the past four years, from 5,635 in March 2010 to 4,356 in March 2014 [1]. This continues a trend, highlighted by Brake, which has been ongoing since at least 2008.

Critically, it is not just overall numbers of traffic police that are falling, but their strength as a proportion of all police officers, down from 3.9% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2014. Brake is concerned that this reduction in visible roads policing may be a factor in the increased road casualties recently revealed for the year ending September 2014.

Gary Rae, campaigns manager, Brake, said: "Effective, visible enforcement of traffic laws is absolutely critical to preventing road deaths and injuries. Drivers tempted to break the law need to know they will be caught, and that they won’t get off with just a slapped wrist. Traffic police numbers have been declining for years, and this may well be reflected in the increase in road casualties we are now seeing. Road traffic policing needs to be made a national priority, not a soft target for police cuts. Every extra traffic officer out on the road is an investment in saving lives and easing the strain on our other emergency services and on our struggling NHS.”

Brake campaigns for more dedicated traffic police and tougher penalties for law-breaking drivers through itscrackdown campaign. Tweet us:@Brakecharity, #Crackdown.

Notes for editors

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Figures were released by the Ministry of Justice in response to a parliamentary question from Jack Dromey MP to Michael Penning MP, Minister of State for Justice, 2 February 2015http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2015-01-28.222445.h&s=speaker%3A24825#g222445.q0

Brake welcomes High Court ruling against Government on air pollution

4 November 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety and sustainable transport charity, has welcomed a High Court ruling stating that the government is failing to tackle air pollution across the UK. The case was brought by the legal campaigning group, ClientEarth.

In a damning indictment of ministers’ inaction on killer air pollution, Mr Justice Garnham agreed with ClientEarth that the environment secretary had failed to take measures that would bring the UK into compliance with the law “as soon as possible” and said that ministers knew that over optimistic pollution modelling was being used.

In his ruling, the judge, who listened to two days of argument at the High Court last month, questioned the environment department’s five year modelling; saying it was “inconsistent” with taking measures to improve pollution ” as soon as possible.”

Brake’s director of campaigns, Gary Rae, said: “ClientEarth has doggedly pursued the UK government and held them to account for failing to take action to reduce air pollution. We are facing a major public health crisis with 40,000 deaths in the UK each year from outdoor air pollution with vehicle pollution being a major cause. Government will now have to take action, but as citizens we can also take action by minimising the amount we drive or not driving at all. Many of us could walk or cycle more and use public transport.”

ClientEarth chief executive, James Thornton, said: “I am pleased that the judge agrees with us that the government could and should be doing more to deal with air pollution and protecting people’s health. That’s why we went to court.

“The time for legal action is over. This is an urgent public health crisis over which the Prime Minister must take personal control. I challenge Theresa May to take immediate action now to deal with illegal levels of pollution and prevent tens of thousands of additional early deaths in the UK. The High Court has ruled that more urgent action must be taken. Britain is watching and waiting, prime minister.”

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Brake is coordinating Road Safety Week, 21-27 November 2016, where people are being asked to take action and make Brake Pledge which includes a sustainability strand.

Evidence: The Royal College of Physicians: Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needles

Brake’s Roads to Justice campaigners hand in petitions at Downing Street calling for stronger criminal driving laws

25 October 2016 
news@brake.org.uk

Two families involved in Brake’s Roads to Justice campaign will be heading to London on Thursday to hand over their Change.org petitions, both of which have reached an impressive 100,000 signatures.

Richard and Ceinwen Briddon from West Wales and Lorraine Allaway from Long Preston near Skipton will hand their petitions in to 10 Downing Street as they campaign for tougher criminal driving laws.

Richard and Ceinwen’s daughter Miriam Briddon, a 21-year-old university student, was killed instantly when a drunk driver veered onto her side of the road. The driver was charged with causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol. He was jailed for five years, and will serve just two and a half years in prison.

Lorraine’s husband Robert was killed by a drink-driver while riding his motorbike in the Yorkshire Dales. The driver was two and a half times over the legal blood-alcohol limit and on the wrong side of the road when he hit Robert. He was jailed for four years and eight months, so will be out of prison and free to continue living his life in just two and a half years.

A Brake survey conducted in July 2016 found that 91% of people questioned agreed that drivers on drink or drugs who kill should be charged with manslaughter, which carries a possible life sentence. At present almost half of drivers convicted of killing are not jailed at all [i]. The average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone is less than four years[ii].

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, said: “As we have witnessed far too often, there are too many families, like the Allaways and the Briddons, who suffer the loss of a loved one in devastating circumstances, and then witness our judicial system turning their back on them.

“The petition handover shows that the public are behind us, with both petitions gaining a huge amount of support. The Prime Minister has already told us we will be getting a review into criminal driving this year. Her government must now give us a definite timetable for action to avoid any more families suffering terrible injustices.”

Lorraine Allaway said: “I am hoping to get a debate regarding sentences for criminal drivers who kill when I hand over my petition on Thursday. I vowed on the day my husband’s killer was sentenced that I would campaign to get the law changed regarding sentencing of drivers who kill vulnerable road users and I will continue to campaign until the sentencing for these drivers has been changed.”

Richard and Ceinwen Briddon said: “We named the petition ‘A Moment for Miriam’ as we were asking people to take a moment of their time to read about Miriam and to sign our petition. The amount of signatures we received in a just two months was phenomenal. We are truly amazed at how quickly we crossed the 100,000 mark and we are very grateful to everyone that has signed and shared our campaign.

“We will never have justice for Miriam. The present sentencing guidelines and the law is an insult to her life and a disgrace to us left behind to pick up the pieces. When an innocent life is taken, the punishment should reflect the seriousness of the crime. 

“We are calling on the government to review and change the guidelines that determine sentencing of drink drivers that kill.”

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Brake’s director of campaigns and communications Gary Rae will be accompanying Richard and Ceinwen Briddon and Lorraine Allaway for the handover at 2pm on Thursday 27 October, outside No 10 Downing Street.

About Roads to Justice

Deaths and serious injuries on our roads cause terrible suffering every day. Families often suffer three times over: a loved one dies or endures appalling injuries; the offender gets away with a pitiful penalty; and shattered victims fail to get the help and support they need.

Drivers who kill or maim all too often receive lenient sentences. We need the government to redefine criminal driving: drivers who pose a serious threat must face serious charges and serious penalties. We also need solid investment in road-traffic policing, to crack down on dangerous drivers and enforce the law. 

Support for road-crash victims is a grossly under-funded area. When someone dies in a crash, their mum, dad, wife, husband, partner, brother, sister, daughter or son are often left to struggle through their loss alone. We need the government to invest in specialist support, offering prompt and comprehensive help to families when the worst has happened.

That is why Brake launched Roads to Justice, calling for tougher charges and penalties that reflect the suffering caused; investment in road-traffic policing; and for government-funded support for road crash victims whose loved ones have been violently killed or have suffered life-changing injuries. 

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

[i] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2014, Ministry of Justice, 2015

[ii] Criminal justice system statistics: motoring pivot table analytical tool for England and Wales, Ministry of Justice, 2015

Britain still in the dark as charity renews call to make the most of daylight and make roads safer

Friday 27 March 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

As the clocks spring forward this Sunday, politicians are being reminded that the way Britain sets its clocks is wasting hours of potentially productive daylight and creating unnecessary risk on our roads. Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on all political parties to commit to putting the clocks forward an hour year round, a move which would make the most of available daylight, and bring about lighter afternoons and evenings, and therefore safer streets, in the winter months.

With more people travelling in daylight rather than darkness, road journeys would become safer for all, especially vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. It has been estimated that moving the clocks to GMT +1 in winter and GMT +2 in summer would prevent 80 deaths and hundreds of serious injuries on UK roads every year [1], preventing needless suffering and saving the NHS £138 million a year in the process [2].

Lighter, safer evenings could also encourage more recreational walking and cycling. Combined with Brake’s GO 20 campaign for 20mph limits in cities, towns and villages, this would mean a powerful boost for healthy, active lifestyles. Brake is reminding that at all times of year by slowing down to 20mph in built up areas, drivers can make a personal contribution to making roads safer for those on foot and bike.

Find out more about theLighter Later andGO 20 campaigns to make roads safer for people on foot and bike.Tweet us:@Brakecharity, hashtag #LighterLater.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said:“Putting the clocks forward by an hour year-round is a simple move that would have a wide range of benefits for society, including helping to cut devastating road casualties. With more daylight available in the afternoons and evenings, people would be safer and feel more confident getting out and about on foot or bike, whether to get back from school or work or for recreation. Our communities would be more social, enjoyable places. As British summertime gets underway, we’re calling on whoever forms the next government to waste no time, and implement these changes.”

About the Lighter Later campaign

Brake is part of a coalition of organisations campaigning for the clocks to go forward for an hour year round, making it GMT +1 in winter and GMT +2 in summer. This simple change would make our evenings lighter and give us more daylight during waking hours. It's estimated this would result in 80 fewer road deaths and hundreds fewer serious injuries each year [3], preventing unnecessary suffering and saving the NHS £138million annually [4].

It would also cut 447,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution [5], and save us all on our bills, because we would have to put our lights on less. Not to mention a big boost to leisure, tourism, and healthy life-styles because we get a bit more daylight to play with. Find out more at www.lighterlater.org.

In January 2012, despite widespread support from the Lighter Later coalition, MPs, and letters from 26,300 members of the public, a Daylight Saving Bill which would have compelled the government to review and act on the evidence for changing the clocks, ran out of time in the House of Commons, preventing more than 140 MPs who had stayed to vote from doing so.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Report 368, a new assessment of the likely effects on road accidents of adopting a GMT+1/GMT+2 regime, Transport Research Laboratory, 1998
[2] Department for Transport, A Safer Way: Consultation on Making Britain’s Roads the Safest in the World, 2009
[3] Report 368, a new assessment of the likely effects on road accidents of adopting a GMT+1/GMT+2 regime, Transport Research Laboratory, 1998
[4] Department for Transport, A Safer Way: Consultation on Making Britain’s Roads the Safest in the World, 2009
[5] Chong, Y. Garnsey, E. Hill, S. & Desobry, F. Daylight Saving, Electricity Demand and Emissions; Exploratory Studies from Great Britain, 2009http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/people/ewg/091022_dst.pdf

Britain still struggling to break the drink drive habit

Thursday 6 August 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has reiterated its call for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, in response to government figures showing Britain is still failing to adequately tackle its drink drive problem. A final estimate shows 240 people were killed by drivers over the legal drink drive limit in 2013, while provisional estimates suggest at least that number were killed again in 2014.

However, the number of people seriously injured in drink drive crashes did fall by 8% to 1,100 from 2012 to 2013, with drink drive casualties of all severities down 17% to 8,270 in the same period. Brake has cautiously welcomed this news.

The figures show that the profile of Britain’s illegal drink drivers has remained largely the same:

  • Three quarters (74%) of those killed and seriously injured are male.
  • More than three in ten (31%) drivers killed aged 25 to 39 are over the drink drive limit – the highest of any age group.
  • A quarter of drink drive deaths and serious injuries result from crashes where a young driver (17-24 years old) was over the limit.

Brake is highlighting international evidence showing that lower drink drive limits and increased enforcement help to bring down drink drive crashes [1] [2] [3]. 

Meanwhile, provisional figures for the year ending March 2015 have again shown little progress in overall road casualty reduction, with casualties of all severities down 2% to 186,060 – too small a fall to be statistically significant. Brake advocates the reintroduction of ambitious casualty reduction targets to stimulate meaningful progress, and is calling on the government to adopt a ‘vision zero’ approach.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“While the overall reduction in drink drive casualties is encouraging, it is sad and disappointing to learn that the number of deaths has remained the same – as it has approximately since the government axed road casualty reduction targets in 2010. Education on drink driving is important, but it can only achieve so much. It seems we have reached a point where further meaningful reductions in devastating and needless drink drive deaths and serious injuries require more decisive action. Brake is calling for a zero-tolerance drink drive limit and greater priority and resourcing for traffic policing: evidenced steps we’re confident would help tackle this menace. Scotland has already seen promising signs of reducing drink drive rates after lowering its limit. In this context, it is unacceptable for the Westminster government to maintain the highest drink drive limit in Europe.”

Brake campaigns for an effective zero-tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml blood, through itsnot a drop, not a drag campaign. Tweet us:@Brakecharity, #notadrop.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, orThe Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.  

End notes

[1] When Sweden lowered its drink-drive limit from 50mg to 20mg per 100ml of blood, drink-drive deaths fell by 10%. The Globe 2003 issue 2, Institute of Alcohol Studies, 2003

[2] The effectiveness of reducing illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits for driving: Evidence for lowering the limit to .05 BAC, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 2005

[3] The impact of implementing random breath testing on criminal justice system resources, MADD, 2012

Call for zero road deaths as casualty reduction stalls

news@brake.org.uk

29 September 2016

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the government to take action and reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries on our roads. In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that reductions in road casualties are beginning to stall. Brake is calling on the government to act now to prevent stagnation in the long-term.

The Department for Transport report published today confirms that outside of a few minor gains road casualty reductions have remained largely static; and while we welcome the slight drop in road deaths and serious injuries on our roads, more must be done to speed up the process of road casualty reduction.

Worryingly, vehicle traffic has risen by almost 2% in the last year, matched by a significant population increase of 15% over the past 30 years; meaning as well as the increased danger of crashes, we are seeing increased pollution [1]. Much of this increase is being attributed to light goods vehicles, many running on diesel, which of course we have now learned is much more damaging to the environment than previously claimed.

Lucy Amos, research advisor for Brake, said: “The report released by the Department for Transport reveals the danger of complacency and over-confidence. The UK currently has one of the best road safety records in the world, but this cannot be relied upon. No road death is acceptable and we must continue to work towards reducing death and injury on the roads without compromise.

This is why Brake is calling for the reintroduction of ambitious casualty reduction targets to act as a driving force for the fight against road death and injury at the national level; increased investment in road infrastructure to develop a safe and sustainable road network; and more resources assigned to road traffic police to ensure that legislation can be effectively enforced.”

Tweet us:@Brakecharity,

ENDS.

Notes to Editors:

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education,services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain: Annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016

Charity criticises government’s lack of ambition in cutting road casualties as MPs publish Future of Motoring report

Friday 6 March 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed the transport select committee’s Future of Motoring report published today (6 March). The report calls on the government to set out a comprehensive strategy that sets out first and foremost how it will ‘reduce or eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on the roads’ and cut vehicle emissions.

Brake, now in its 20th year, submitted evidence to the committee. It agrees with several of the committee’s conclusions and recommendations, including the need to develop a coherent strategy with the key objectives of preventing road casualties and reducing emissions. Brake advocates a ‘vision zero’ approach, with a long-term vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries, and challenging targets to aid progress towards this. Brake welcomes the report’s emphasis on the government’sresponsibility to ensure that the most beneficial safety measures are introduced to the [UK] vehicle fleet, as widely and quickly as possible’.

Recently published road casualty data showed a 4% rise in deaths and serious injuries compared to the previous year. Read Brake’s reaction and calls for action.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Any strategy for motoring must include or be tied to a clear strategy for road safety, and on this the government is failing to provide a robust and ambitious strategy or vision. Brake believes clear leadership must be provided by central government for road safety policy and delivery. We need to see challenging targets re-introduced for tackling road casualties, forward-thinking policies, and a long-term vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries, given that every one is devastating and needless. The government needs to invest more in public transport and safe walking and cycling, and introduce a 20mph urban default speed limit, to make sustainable and active travel an attractive alternative.”

The report focuses heavily on the rapidly developing technology of ‘driverless vehicles’. Brake believes that, subject to rigorous testing, such technology will become commonplace in vehicles before 2040, and will play a key role in reducing casualties caused by human error as well as improving public transport and reducing emissions. Julie Townsend serves on the advisory group for one of the driverless vehicle trials, in Greenwich. She added: “Driverless vehicles could transform the way we use roads, helping to ensure everyone can get around through safe, sustainable and affordable means, and making our communities more pleasant and sociable places.”

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Charity raises alarm bells as higher lorry speed limits come into effect

Monday 6 April 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has reiterated its concern as higher speed limits for large lorriescome into effect today (6 April 2015). As announced by the government last year, speed limits in England and Wales for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes will rise from 40mph to 50mph onsingle carriageways and from 50mph to 60mph ondual carriageways.

SeeBrake’s response to the government consultation on raising the dual carriageway HGV speed limit.

Gary Rae, campaigns manager for Brake, the road safety charity, said:“We are disappointed that the government has gone against the advice of road safety groups on this issue. The decision to increase HGV speed limits is short-sighted and runs against work to more effectively manage traffic speeds and reduce casualties on our roads. The relationship between speed and casualties is a proven one, so allowing the largest vehicles on our roads to reach higher speeds more often risks more deaths, serious injuries, and additional cost to the taxpayer.

“The government itself has admitted that this move will likely have no economic or road safety benefit. It is a move designed to legitimise the dangerous behaviour of those who already break the speed limit while putting the safety of the law-abiding majority second. It sets a dangerous precedent that if traffic laws are persistently flouted; the government would rather change them than enforce them.”

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Charity urges government action as figures confirm stalled progress in road casualty reduction

Thursday 25 September 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

The government's official annual road casualty report, out today, has confirmed figures showing disappointingly slow progress in reducing road casualties in the UK. 1,713 people were killed in 2013, at a rate of five a day, 2% fewer than in 2012. 21,657 people suffered serious injuries, at a rate of 59 a day, 6% fewer than in 2012. Provisional figures were released in June – see Brake's full reaction.

Brake, the road safety charity, welcomed the reduction, but stressed that the government needs to do much more to reduce casualties faster. The figures continue a trend that has seen progress in reducing road casualties plateau since 2010. From 2007 to 2010, deaths on UK roads fell by 1,096. From 2010 to 2013, they have fallen by only 137.

As in previous years, the most common recorded cause of road crashes in 2013 was the driver or rider failing to look properly, highlighting the relevance of this year's Road Safety Week theme: look out for each other. Road Safety Week, the UK's flagship road safety event, coordinated by Brake, takes place 17-23 November 2014.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Road casualties in the UK are falling – but they are not falling nearly fast enough. Since 2010, progress has stalled dramatically. At this rate, it will be many more decades before we reach the only acceptable number of casualties on our roads, and that number is zero. The government needs to take far more proactive action to drive casualties down faster, including a zero-tolerance drink drive limit, a 20mph default urban speed limit, and graduated driver licensing to tackle young driver crashes."

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Charity urges government to make driver eyesight tests compulsory

Survey shows overwhelming public support

Thursday 21 August 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the government to introduce compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers, as a survey with Specsavers and RSA Insurance Group shows strong public support. Almost nine in 10 (87%) are in favour of drivers having to prove they have had a recent sight test every 10 years, when they renew their licence or photo card. Research indicates this change in the law would significantly reduce the estimated 2,900 casualties caused by poor driver vision each year [1].

The survey shows why government action is needed, with a quarter (25%) of drivers admitting they have not had their eyes tested in more than two years – despite research showing you can lose up to 40% of your vision before noticing the difference [2].

Many drivers are also failing to respond to warning signs in regards to their vision: one in five (19%) have put off visiting the optician when they noticed a problem. In addition, a shocking one in eight drivers (12%) who know they need glasses or lenses to drive have done so without them in the past year.

Brake, Specsavers and RSA's survey of drivers also found: (full results below)

  • More than 1.5 million UK drivers (4%) have never had their eyes tested;
  • One in eight (12%) have not had their eyes tested for more than five years; and
  • Of the 54% of UK drivers who believe they don't need glasses or lenses to drive, one third (33%) have no way of knowing this for sure, having not had an eyesight test in over two years.

The only measure currently in place to ensure driver vision satisfies minimum legal standards is the number-plate test carried out from 20 metres away before driving tests, and occasionally at the roadside if police suspect an eyesight problem. This does not test visual field or contrast sensitivity, both of which are important to safe driving, nor is it a totally accurate measure of visual acuity (vision over distance).

Following their driving test, a driver may never need to produce any further evidence that they can see well enough to drive. It is estimated up to five million UK drivers would fail a number-plate test if they had to take it again [3].

Brake is urging the government to introduce a requirement for drivers to prove a recent, professional eye test when applying for a provisional licence, and at least every 10 years thereafter. It's estimated this would save the public purse at least £6.7 million a year by preventing crashes [4].

Brake urges all drivers to make sure their vision is up to scratch by having a professional sight test at least every two years, following expert advice, and always wearing glasses or lenses if they need them. See Brake's advice below.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers is a common sense, lifesaving move. Clearly the public agrees that the government needs to act to tackle the alarming number of drivers taking a lax approach to their eyes. Making sure your vision is up to scratch is crucial to safe driving, and though it may seem there are plenty of excuses to put off going to the opticians, none is good enough when it comes to putting people's lives at risk. If you drive, it's not just your own health you are jeopardising by neglecting your eyesight, but the lives of those around you. That's why it's vital for drivers to get their eyes professionally checked at least every two years – eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without you noticing."

Mark Christer, Managing Director of Personal Insurance at RSA, said: "We want far more rigorous checks that drivers' eyesight meets the minimum standards. The UK's 'number-plate test' is a relic of the 1930s and it's no wonder so many other EU countries have introduced more modern testing. It is time we did too.

"Put simply, if you're not sure whether you are fit to drive, you could be seriously endangering yourself and other road users. The limitations of our current system mean many people could be doing just that without even knowing it."

Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers' clinical spokesperson, said: "The stats are quite alarming, it's important that we all recognise the importance of regular eye examinations and the role that they play in keeping both drivers and pedestrians safe on the roads. Currently eye sight is only tested once, on the day of the driving test. It is then the driver's responsibility to check whether their vision remains above the legal standard. Because eyesight deteriorates gradually over time, the only way a driver can be 100% certain that they remain both legal and safe is to have regular eye examinations."

Responding to Brake's campaign, Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, commented: "It's vital that both drivers and non-drivers are fully aware of their eye health as it can be very easy for people not to realise their eye sight is worsening, particularly over the age of 40. Drivers need to ensure that they are able to see vital road signs and other road users clearly to avoid putting themselves and fellow road users in danger. Raising awareness of this as an issue is very important.

"Having regular sight tests will not only ensure that people can see as clearly and comfortably as possible, but will also detect early signs of eye disease, which may not yet be affecting the person's sight. All drivers have a responsibility to ensure they are fit and legal to drive every time they get behind the wheel."

Read about Brake's Sharpen up campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #SharpenUp. Read the survey report.

Case study
Natalie Wade, 28, from Rochford, Essex, was killed by a partially sighted driver in February 2006. She was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing, along with her mother, Christine Gutberlet, by 78 year old John Thorpe. Christine survived, but Natalie suffered severe brain damage from which she died in intensive care on Valentine's Day. The bride-to-be was shopping for her wedding dress when she was hit.

Driver John Thorpe was blind in one eye and had 40 defects in the other, but had not declared his sight problems to the DVLA. He died of natural causes before his trial could be completed. The inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Natalie's family have been campaigning for changes in the law to prevent similar tragedies. Natalie's aunt, Revd Brenda Gutberlet, says: "Natalie was a wonderful, bubbly young woman, full of life and laughter. She was lovely to be around. The years since her death have been a rollercoaster, for Natalie's parents and for all her family and friends. It's hard to put into words what it has been like.

"Natalie's death, like so many on our roads, was completely avoidable. The question every driver should ask before they get behind the wheel is: am I fit to drive today? But not everyone is honest with themselves. To get behind the wheel of a vehicle unable to see shows a disregard for the lives of others, and it can't be right that we still allow drivers to do so."

Brenda's MP, Rebecca Harris, is supporting the family's campaign. Responding to the report, she said: "These survey results are genuinely shocking. It's clear public awareness of how important this issue is remains frighteningly low. We need drivers to see getting behind the wheel without regular eye tests or without wearing the prescription lenses they need as being as irresponsible as drink-driving."

Facts
Poor vision heightens crash risk [4], causing an estimated 2,900 road casualties at a cost of £33 million in the UK every year [5].

Vision problems are very common – 74% of people in the UK wear glasses or contact lenses, or have had laser eye surgery [6]. Long- or short-sightedness is the most common [7], but several health conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma, can also cause serious damage to eyesight. These conditions are more common in people aged over 50, but can affect younger people too. Changes in eyesight can be gradual, and it is possible to lose up to 40% of your vision before noticing it [8].

Vision can be affected by a number of defects only identifiable by a professional eye examination. These include problems seeing things in your central or peripheral vision, known as visual field defects, which can be caused by illnesses such as glaucoma, retinal disease or cataract. Drivers with visual field defects have double the incidence of road crashes and traffic violations as drivers with a full visual field, and almost half are unaware of the problem [9].

At present, drivers in the UK are required to read a modern car number plate (made after 1 September 2001) from 20 metres away [10]. However, this does not test for visual field and contrast sensitivity, both of which are important to safe driving.

The number plate test is only carried out when someone takes their driving test, plus it may be conducted by police at the roadside if they suspect an eyesight problem. This means that following their driving test, a driver may never need to produce any further evidence that they can see well enough to drive. Drivers aged over 70 have to declare when renewing their licence that their eyesight meets minimum legal standards, but do not have to provide evidence of this.

It is estimated up to five million UK drivers would fail a number-plate test if they had to take it again [11].

Some countries already have more stringent systems in place to regulate driver eyesight. In the US, a number of states, such as California, issue restricted licences indicating that the driver is required to wear glasses or lenses to drive, if the vision examination shows this to be the case. If they are then stopped by the police and are not wearing glasses or lenses, they can be immediately penalised [12].

Brake's advice
If you drive, regular visits to the opticians are essential to ensure your eyesight meets legal standards and you're not putting yourself and others at risk. You should get your eyes checked by an optician at least every two years or straight away if you notice any problems. Don't be tempted to put it off – most vision problems are easily corrected, and the sooner you know the problem, the sooner it can be fixed.

Going to the optician needn't be expensive and may be free – eye sight tests are free in the UK if you are under 16, over 60, claiming certain benefits, or have certain medical conditions. Check the NHS website to see if you qualify. Many high street opticians also run promotions offering free or cheap tests. If you regularly use computer screens at work, you are entitled to ask your employer to pay for your eye tests.

If your optician or GP mentions any problems with your vision or health conditions that could affect it, let them know if you drive and ask if your vision is at risk of falling below minimum safe standards. Visit www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving to find out what conditions must be reported.

If you need glasses or lenses you must always wear them when driving, even on short journeys. Keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle if you're prone to forget them.

Calls for government action
Brake calls on the government to introduce a requirement for drivers to provide proof of a recent, professional eye test when applying for their provisional licence, to ensure all new drivers meet appropriate standards.

Brake is also campaigning for compulsory regular eye tests for drivers throughout their driving career. Brake proposes that drivers should have to produce evidence of a recent eye test when renewing their licence photocard every 10 years. It's been estimated this would save the public purse at least £6.7 million a year by preventing crashes [13].

The government should also raise awareness among drivers about the importance and benefits of getting eyes tested at least every two years or straight away if you notice a problem. This could include reminders in communications from the DVLA, such as tax disc renewal letters.

About the report
The survey results, released today (Thursday 21 August 2014) consisted of 1,000 drivers and was conducted by Surveygoo. Read the report.

Full results
Q1: If you require glasses or lenses for driving, do you always wear them while driving?

  • 36% don't need glasses or lenses for driving, and have had an eyesight test in the past two years
  • 18% don't need glasses or lenses for driving, but haven't had an eyesight test in the past two years
  • 41% need glasses or lenses for driving, and always wear them
  • 3% need glasses or lenses for driving, but have driven without them once or twice in the past 12 months
  • 2% need glasses or lenses for driving, but have driven without them numerous times in the past 12 months

Q2: When did you last have an eyesight test by an optician?

  • 50% said in the last year
  • 24% said between one and two years ago
  • 8% said between two and three years ago
  • 5% said between three and five years ago
  • 5% said between five and 10 years ago
  • 3% said more than 10 years ago
  • 4% have never had their eyes tested

Q3: How regularly do you usually get your eyesight tested by an optician?

  • 26% said once a year at least
  • 40% said every two years
  • 14% said every three to five years
  • 2% said every five to 10 years
  • 6% said only if they notice a problem
  • 12% said never or hardly ever

Q4: Have you ever noticed problems with your vision but put off visiting the opticians?

  • 8% said yes, because they were worried about the cost of an eye exam, glasses or contact lenses
  • 6% said yes, because they were busy
  • 3% said yes, because they were worried they would find something seriously wrong
  • 3% said yes, because of other reasons
  • 2% said yes, because they were worried it would mean they couldn't continue driving
  • 81% said they'd always immediately booked an eye test when noticing vision problems, or they'd never noticed problems with their vision

Q5: How often do you check your vision using the number plate test?

  • 22% do this at least every six months
  • 17% do this annually
  • 10% do this every two years
  • 24% do not do this regularly, but have done it at least once since passing their driving test
  • 26% have not done the number plate test since passing their driving test

Q6: Do you think driving test candidates should have to provide proof of a recent, full eyesight test by an optician, which accurately assesses distance and peripheral vision and checks for other vision problems?

  • 67% said yes
  • 33% said no

Q7: Should drivers have to prove their vision meets minimum legal standards for safe driving by providing evidence of a recent sight test when they renew their driving licence or licence photocard?

  • 87% said yes
  • 13% said no

Q8: Do you think opticians and GPs should be obliged to let patients know if their vision or health conditions mean they are falling below legal requirements for safe driving?

  • 94% said yes
  • 6% said no

Q9: Do you think opticians and GPs should be obliged to inform the DVLA if one of their patients who drives has a vision or health condition that means they fall below minimum legal standards for safe driving?

  • 76% said yes
  • 24% said no

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

RSA
With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/ 

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader's Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS
  • Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes
[1] Fit to drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012
[2] World Glaucoma Day, International Glaucoma Association and Royal National Institute for the Blind, 2009
[3] "Millions of motorists are driving blind", Daily Mail, 2011. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-144678/Millions-motorists-driving-blind.html 
[4] Detailed cost-benefit analysis of potential impairment countermeasures: research in the framework of the European research programme IMMORTAL, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, 2005
[5] Fit to Drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012
[6] Britain's eye health in focus, College of Optometrists, 2013
[7] SixthSense Opticians Survey, YouGov, 2011
[8] World Glaucoma Day, International Glaucoma Association and Royal National Institute for the Blind, 2009
[9] Incidence of visual field loss in 20.000 eyes and its relationship to driving performance, Archives of Ophthalmology, 1983
[10] Driving eyesight rules, DVLA, 2014
[11] "Millions of motorists are driving blind", Daily Mail, 2011. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-144678/Millions-motorists-driving-blind.html 
[12] International vision requirements for driver licensing and disability pensions: using a milestone approach in characterization of progressive eye disease, Alain Bron et al, 2010 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2999549/ 
[13] Fit to drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012

Charity warns of danger posed by increase in lorry speed limit

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has expressed disappointment at government plans to raise the speed limit for large lorries on dual carriageway roads to 60mph, despite serious concerns from a number of road safety groups. The move comes on the back of the government’s decision to increase the speed limit for HGVs on single carriageway roads earlier this year.

SeeBrake’s response to the government consultation on raising the dual carriageway HGV speed limit.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive for Brake, the road safety charity, said:“This decision runs against work to more effectively manage traffic speeds and reduce casualties and emissions on our roads. As with the decision to raise the HGV speed limit on single carriageways, the government is making a leap of faith in spite of the legitimate concerns of road safety groups. The government itself admits that, at best, there will be no economic or road safety benefit. At worst, it risks increasing deaths and serious injuries on our roads if the largest vehicles are allowed to reach higher speeds more often. The relationship between increased speed and increased casualties is a proven one, so why take the risk?

“Increasing the HGV speed limit on single and dual carriageways sets a dangerous precedent, sending a message that if traffic laws are persistently flouted, the government would rather change them than get tough with the law-breaking drivers putting everyone at risk.”

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Commuting by bike and cycling for work

cycle4life_5If you have access to safe routes, commuting by bike is good for your health and the environment. Organisations offering online cycle route planners and tips on cycling to work are listed at the bottom of this page.

Using bikes while at work is also becoming more popular. As well as cycle messengers in busy cities, police and community workers such as paramedics are turning to pedal power as an effective way to patrol the community.[i] Employers can save money on the cost of bikes for employees through the Government’s Cycle2Work scheme. If you are required to cycle as part of your job, ensure your employer has a robust safe cycling policy covering training, clothing, lighting, risk assessment of routes, pre-ride inspections, punctures, storage, theft and insurance. If they don’t have a policy, talk to your managers or union. Don’t put your life at risk for the sake of a pay packet.

It’s up to you to make use of safety measures your employer introduces. Royal Mail agreed to provide cycle helmets to post men and women but the CWU has reported 70% non-compliance. [ii]

Useful links:
Use the below links for online cycle route planners and tips on cycling to work.

Sustrans
CTC
Bike for All
London Cycling Campaign
Cycle Friendly Employers
Cycle2Work scheme
Bike Belles (promoting cycling by women)


Cycling to school >>

<< Back to every day cycling

<< Cycle for life home page

 

[i] A Day in the life or a community warden, Chichester District Council
[ii] Source: Dave Joyce, National Health, Safety and Environment Officer, CWU

Driverless vehicle trials could be a step towards ending road deaths, says charity

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, has hailed today’s launch (11 February) of three driverless vehicle trials as an exciting step towards a safer, more sustainable future for UK road travel, and a long-term goal of ending needless road deaths.

The trials are being launched in Greenwich – location of the GATEway trial – by transport minister Claire Perry and business secretary Vince Cable, alongside publication of a Department for Transport report setting out the pathway for the widespread introduction of the technology.

The trials, being led by three consortia and supported by government funding, are taking place in Greenwich, Bristol, and a combined project split between Milton Keynes and Coventry. They will last from 18 to 36 months, and will assess how driverless vehicles function in everyday life on public roads and their scope for making road travel safer and more sustainable. The trials will look at how the technology can be used to improve public and private transport in busy and complex road environments.

Predicted benefits of the technology include [1]:

  • cutting the 94% of road deaths and injuries that involve human error;
  • saving the six working weeks the average driver in England would otherwise spend driving;
  • providing better access to sustainable and low-cost transport for everyone, including the 14% of men, 31% of women and 46% of 17-30 year olds who don’t hold a full driving licence.

Brake’s deputy chief executive, Julie Townsend, will be serving on the advisory group for the Greenwich trial. This trial is known as theGATEway project and is led by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake said: “We’re hugely excited to see these trials get underway and to be advising on the GATEway project in Greenwich, where road safety and sustainable travel are clearly at the forefront. We believe driverless technology could hold the key to ending the needless suffering caused every day by road deaths and serious injuries. We witness the aftermath of road casualties, and the terrible and lasting impact on families and communities, through our support services for crash victims. We know from research that the vast majority of these tragedies are caused by human error and risk-taking, so this technology could be a critical move towards stopping them. Driverless vehicles could transform the way we use roads, helping to ensure everyone can get around through safe, sustainable and affordable means, and making our communities more pleasant and sociable places.”

Notes to editors

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education,services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1] The pathway to driverless cars: summary report and action plan, Department of Transport, 2015