Articles Tagged ‘Northern Ireland - Brake the road safety charity’

Brake comments on NI Graduated Driver Licensing consultation outcome

News from Brake
Thursday 10 May 2018
 
The Driver & Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland has published its response to the consultation on Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) and changes to the practical driving test, setting out which proposals it intends to take forward. The consultation, which ran from November 2017 to January 2018, sought views on measures such as allowing learner drivers on to Motorways with Approved Driving Instructors and the programme of training drivers would follow as part of GDL. 
 
Commenting on the response, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Brake welcomes the move to implement Graduated Driver Licensing in Northern Ireland as an important first-step in improving the safety of novice drivers. We believe, however, that the proposals set out in the Driver & Vehicle Agency’s response do not go far enough and could still leave novice drivers ill-equipped to manage the dangers associated with driving. Research and international best practice has shown that the most effective system of Graduated Driver Licensing has a minimum learning period of one year, not the six months in the NI model, and that newly qualified drivers should have limited exposure to some of the highest risk situations, such as night-time driving, until completing further training and a second test.”
 
The Northern Irish Government will bring in reforms to implement Graduated Driver Licensing during 2019/2020. The Department for Transport announced that this will serve as a pilot with the potential to roll it out across the rest of the UK at a later date.
 
Mr Harris continued: “We welcome the progress in Northern Ireland but it is clear that we need action across the wider UK now. In 2016 almost 15% of road crashes were caused by drivers aged between 17-24 years old [1], with research showing that the combination of youth and inexperience makes younger drivers a high road safety risk. We know that Graduated Driver Licensing works - a Government commissioned report from 2013 said that in Great Britain 4,471 casualties and £224 million could be saved by its introduction [2] – so there is no reason to delay. The Government must act to stop the carnage on our roads and introduce a Graduated Driver Licensing system across the whole of the UK as a matter of priority.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
 
 
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 responds to Northern Ireland drink driving consultation

Regulations to introduce measures to tackle drink driving in Northern Ireland - Response from Brake, the road safety charity, May 2015.

Brake is a road safety charity working with communities and organisations across the UK to stop the tragedy of road deaths and injuries, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and support people bereaved and seriously injured on roads.

Question 1 - Do you have any comments on the Department’s approach to introducing fixed penalties for lower level drink driving offences?

To keep our roads as safe as possible, action must always be taken when someone is caught drink-driving to act as both a deterrent and a punishment. Brake welcomes the concept of fixed penalty notices but is disappointed there is no automatic disqualification for every level of the offence. Drink-driving at any level is dangerous and life-threatening, and we must use all available powers to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Brake is concerned that if drivers know they MAY NOT lose their licence after a first offence, this could increase risk taking. If drivers only face a fine, penalty points and a training course after a first “lower level” offence, they may risk drink-driving a first time, making our roads more dangerous than they should be and putting lives at risk.

We believe the possibility of this dangerous behaviour happening in the first place would be reduced if drivers knew they would also lose their licence after a first offence. Research shows that the fear of losing your driving licence has a powerful impact on driving behaviour. [1] There is also evidence of the effectiveness of a one-strike-and-you-are-out policy from Ontario, Canada. They have immediate roadside suspension for drivers with 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood or above, and this is associated with a 17% decrease in the number of people injured or killed in drink-drive crashes in the region. [2]

The objective of a training course that will enable a driver to develop non offending behaviour is welcome and we are pleased this will run alongside and not replace the points and fine. Education and enforcement must go hand in hand [3] and a course should never replace other penalties and punishments.

Research by the Transport Research Lab on the effectiveness of these types of courses shows they do work, but have different effects on different types of drivers. [4] They are most successful for drivers in their 30s, but the evidence shows 17.8% of young men in the lowest social group of course attenders had reoffended after 72 months. To effectively target younger drivers we need a more comprehensive deterrent and punishment. We believe including an immediate driving ban would be more effective. We need to send a strong, clear message that drink-driving is never acceptable at any level, to keep all road users safe, and to stop dangerous and risky behaviour before it starts.   

Likewise if the zero-tolerance alcohol limit that will be in place for new and professional drivers was in place for all drivers, it would be a much clearer and more effective deterrent. 

In Sweden the decision to lower the drink-drive limit to an effective zero tolerance of 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood was accompanied by an automatic licence loss at 30mg. Since making the decision to match the reduction in the drink-drive limit with clear a deterrent, Sweden has seen  a 7% reduction in crashes overall and a 10% reduction in fatal crashes [5]. 

By offering lower-level drink-drivers a reduced level of punishment, it could be perceived that lower-level drink-driving is less of an offence. Research shows any amount of alcohol makes you more likely to crash. [6] Even very small amounts of alcohol affect your driving. Drivers with even 10mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood are 46% more likely to be at fault in collisions than sober drivers [7], and when they crash, do more damage than sober drivers [8]. That’s why the only safe amount to drink if you’re driving is nothing at all – not a drop.

Question 2 - Do you have any comments on the Department’s approach to the restriction of the requirement to re-sit the driving test to those disqualified for 12 months or more for offences involving higher levels of alcohol?

Previous legislation saw anyone convicted of drink-driving lose their licence, and it’s not acceptable that people breaking drink-drive laws escape bans because of a change in legislation. We believe every drink-drive offence is serious and deserves a ban, as evidenced in our response to Q 1. Every ban should therefore entail a re-test. Driving is a privilege, not a right. If that privilege is not exercised responsibly, it must be revocable. The change in drink-drive laws is being brought in to reflect evidence that even small amounts of alcohol can have a dangerous impact on driving and this must be echoed by the punishment, if it is to be an effective deterrent. Laws need to be strong, clear and consistent. 

Brake believes there should be a mandatory driving ban for all drink-drive offenders even when the lower limit is imposed, and that this should be of at least one year for all offenders. This reflects the level of danger posed by those who drive after drinking even a small amount of alcohol (again as evidenced in the Q1 response) and sends a clear message to drivers that no level of drink-driving will be tolerated.

Question 3 - Do you agree with the Department’s approach to reducing the threshold for High Risk Offenders to 125mg/100mls?

YES - All drink driving is high risk and extremely dangerous but we do appreciate the legal need to have some categorisation for legal purposes. We welcome this proportionate reduction that means “High Risk” will still be 2.5 times the limit. It should certainly not be any higher.

Question 4 - Do you have any comments to make on the consultation process?    

We are extremely grateful to be asked to use our 20 years of experience in road safety and supporting bereaved families affected by road deaths to contribute to this consultation. The process has been smooth and clear, with comprehensive explanatory notes.

Overall Brake welcomes the planned reductions to the drink-drive limit that will undoubtedly make roads safer and save lives. This is a great step in the right direction by the Northern Ireland Assembly who must be praised for taking it. It’s a useful step forward towards a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit being called for by Brake across the UK. 

We recognise it is beyond the scope of this consultation, but our roads and all road users will not be as safe as they can be until we have zero tolerance across the whole of the UK. The UK as a whole still has the highest drink-drive limits in Europe (along with Malta), and the position is becoming more and more bizarre as different nations adopt different rules and regulation. We need a strong clear zero-tolerance approach across the whole of the UK to let all drivers know drink-driving is not acceptable at any level anywhere in the UK.  

1) Does the Threat of Disqualification Deter Drivers from Speeding?, Department for Transport, 2008.

2) Evaluation of the general deterrence capacity of recently implemented (2009–2010) low and Zero BAC requirements for drivers in Ontario, Road User Safety Division, Ministry of Transportation, 2015.

3) World report on road traffic injury prevention, World Health Organisation, 2004.

4) Reconvictions of Drink/Drive Course Attenders: A Six Year Follow Up, Transport Research Laboratory, TRL574, 2003 

5) Drugs, Driving and Traffic Safety, J.C Verster, S.R. Pandi-Perumal, J. G Ramaekers and J.J de Gier 2009.

6) Drivers Over .08 BAC Pose a Serious Traffic Safety Problem, Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, 2009.

7) Official blame for drivers with very low blood alcohol content, British Medical Journal, 2014

8) The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration, University of California San Diego, 2011

 

 

 

 

Foreign drivers

A survey carried out in 2003 found that the number of foreign registered heavy goods vehicles travelling to Great Britain had increased almost two-and-a-half times (232%) over the last 10 years. [1] In the UK, there are up to 10,000 foreign vehicles working every day. [2]

However, in order to drive in the UK, foreign drivers do not need to undergo any additional training or testing on how to drive safely on our roads - this could be putting a huge number of our country’s road users at risk.

THE RULES

Drivers from EC countries
If a driver holds a valid Community licence and is visiting Great Britain, they can drive any vehicle for as long as their licence remains valid. The appropriate full entitlement for the vehicle they wish to drive must be shown on their licence.

If a foreign driver decides to remain in Great Britain, their Community licence will remain valid in this country for up to 5 years, depending on age and licence type.

If someone wants to take a GB driving test, they must normally be resident in Great Britain.

Drivers from Northern Ireland
A full Northern Ireland driving licence can be exchanged for a full GB licence or can be used in Great Britain until it runs out.

Drivers from Gibraltar and Designated Countries. Designated countries include Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Falkland Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.

If a driver is resident outside the UK but is temporarily in this country and holds full ordinary entitlement, they can drive any category of vehicle (up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to 8 passenger seats) as shown on their licence, for up to 12 months from the date they last entered the UK. If they also hold full entitlement to drive large lorries or buses they are only allowed to drive large vehicles registered outside GB that they have driven into the country.

Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man. Ordinary licence holders: Provided their ordinary licence remains valid, a driver can drive any category of vehicle shown on their licence for 12 months.

Vocational licence holders: A driver visiting Great Britain who holds a vocational licence issue in Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man, can drive British registered, or vehicles registered outside GB that they have driven into the country for up to 12 months.

All other countries. Visitors may drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to 8 passenger seats provided their full licence or driving permit remains valid for up to 12 months from the date of entering the United Kingdom. However, they may only drive large vehicles which have been registered outside GB and which have been driven into the country. [3]

If they remain in the country as a resident they must take a test *before *the first 12 months are up, otherwise they must stop driving until they pass a GB test.

For more detailed information on driving rules for visitors and new residents, click here.

FINES AND PENALTIES FOR FOREIGN DRIVERS

Currently it is not possible to give foreign drivers (non-GB licence holders) an endorseable fixed penalty notice. Also, if a foreign driver is summonsed and issued with a non-endorseable fixed penalty notice, there is no way of ensuring that they do not simply evade punishment by leaving the country. [4]

Research shows that foreign drivers are at least as likely to offend as UK drivers are. VOSA statistics show that drivers’ hours offences are detected in 3.7% of UK drivers, but this rises to 12.8% for overseas drivers. However, they cannot, in practice be prosecuted. The Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 makes it clear that failure to comply with a warrant served at an overseas address does not constitute contempt of court nor is it a ground for issuing a warrant to secure the attendance of the person in question. [5]

However, a number of proposals have been made under the Road Safety Bill, which is currently going through Parliament. These include:

A new system of endorsement. The European Commission has upheld a complaint about the fixed penalty system and the Government is therefore obliged to make the necessary changes to put an end to the discrimination. It is intended to introduce an alternative system in two ways. The first stage will introduce the system of endorsement of driving records for unlicensed and foreign drivers and allow them to be given fixed penalty notices. The second stage will introduce this new system of endorsement of driving records for all drivers with the result that counterparts (issued to drivers in Great Britain) will no longer have any function. [6]

A deposit scheme. The deposit scheme will be similar to arrangements which already exist in many EU countries and will ensure parity of treatment and penalties between UK and non-UK resident offenders. The deposit would be immediately payable at the roadside. At the moment it is proposed that it would be equal to the sum which would have been payable if it had been a fixed penalty or, in more serious cases which warrant prosecution, the sum of the likely court fine. Drivers will still be able to contest the charge in court and if the court decides in their favour, the deposit would be returned. [7]

Enable disclosure of driver and vehicle data to foreign authorities. Current legislation does not provide for the disclosure of driver and vehicle registration information to foreign registrars. The Bill will provide statutory authority for the DVLA in Great Britain and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland to disclose driver licensing and vehicle registration information to their foreign counterparts. This will help bring about the reduction in the import/export of stolen and/or illegally tampered with vehicles and to reduce the number of drivers ‘banned’ in other countries from driving in the UK. [8]

Case study - unpaid parking tickets in London. Foreign drivers owe almost £13m in unpaid parking tickers issued in London in 2004, according to a survey by the Association of London Government (ALG). Of the 330,000 penalty notices served to owners of foreign-registered vehicles, only 4.5% could be traced. Worst offenders were drivers registered in France, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Lithuania. [9]

Case study - foreign drivers not fined for speeding. In 2004, 1,148 foreign drivers who were caught breaking the speed limit on camera escaped without penalty. UK drivers are traced through the DVLA database and fined within the 14-day notice period, but police said there was no easy way to trace foreign drivers. [10]

Case study - six killed in crash. A minibus driver, his four passengers and a lorry driver were all killed in a crash on the A52 near Grantham in February 2006. The occupants of the minibus were all foreign nationals, thought to be from Hungary and Portugal. Police believe the crash happened when the minibus was overtaking two lorries. [11]

Case study - foreign vehicle in serious collision. A foreign registered goods lorry was involved in a collision with a car on the M4, which left a man critically ill with a spinal injury. The man’s wife suffered severe head injuries after being thrown from the Fiat, which rolled several times before landing on the hard shoulder. A man was arrested following the incident. [12]

Case study - lorry sheds its load on A14. A section of the A14 in Northamptonshire was closed after a foreign-registered lorry crashed into barriers and shed its load of floor tiles. Several tonnes of the ceramic tiles fell from the raised carriageway on to the country road below. [13]

Depending on the country they are from, foreign drivers may not be familiar with:

  • Driving on the left-hand side
  • Our speed limits
  • Britain’s road signs - there could also be confusion between imperial and metric signs (such as speed limits or bridge heights) - Give-way rules (for example, these are quite different in New Zealand)
  • Mobile phone laws
  • Tacograph laws (this may mean drivers are excessively tired, having driven longer hours than they should have)

There are also problems relating to the actual vehicles driven by foreign drivers: - Maintenance - different countries have different standards of vehicle road-worthiness and this means that foreign vehicles with major faults could be travelling on our roads. - A study of work-related road crashes found that drivers of foreign-registered left-hand drive trucks had a particular problem with being unable to see other drivers in their blind spots. [14]

RECOMMENDATIONS

Brake feels that it is outrageous that foreign drivers are able to commit offences and not be prosecuted for them. The current policy allows drivers from other countries to commit crimes on our roads and get away with it. This is putting our country’s road users at risk. The changes proposed in the Road Safety Bill will hopefully put an end to this and mean that anyone driving dangerously on our roads will be punished for doing so.

However, we still need to see a change in policy which ensures that foreign drivers are aware of the rules of our roads, and must undergo tests to demonstrate that they are able to drive safely. If they fail to do so, they should be prosecuted in the same way as British nationals are, and charged, fined or banned accordingly. It is vital that nobody is allowed to get away with endangering the lives of road users in our country.

For more information:
Department for Transport
DVSA
DVLA
Freight Transport Association
Road Haulage Association
The Burns Freight Taxes Inquiry


[1] Survey of Foreign Vehicle Activity in GB ? 2003, (Department for Transport, 2003)
[2] £3bn Free Ride for Foreign Trucks on UK Roads, (Road Haulage Association, 31 October 2005)
[3] Driving in Great Britain As a Visitor, (DVLA)
[4] Road Safety Bill Note 6: Foreign Drivers, (Department for Transport, 2005)
[5] Road Safety Bill Note 6: Foreign Drivers, (Department for Transport, 2005)
[6] Road Safety Bill Note 6: Foreign Drivers, (Department for Transport, 2005)
[7] Road Safety Bill Note 6: Foreign Drivers, (Department for Transport, 2005)
[8] Road Safety Bill Note 6: Foreign Drivers, (Department for Transport, 2005)
[9] Foreign Motorists ‘Escape Fines’, (BBC News Online, 25 October 2005)
[10] Foreign Speed Drivers ‘Not Fined’, (BBC News Online, 23 February 2005)
[11] Inquest Into Crash Deaths Delayed, (BBC News Online, 15 February 2006)
[12] Man Arrested After M-Way Crash, (BBC News Online, 8 July 2004)
[13] Lorry Crash Closes A14, (BBC News Online, 27 February 2003)
[14] An In Depth Study of Work-Related Traffic Accidents, (Department for Transport, 2005)

Information and advice for bereaved families and friends following a death on the road in Northern Ireland

This page contains links to web pages of information and advice on practical matters and procedures that follow a death on the road in Northern Ireland. You can also download the complete guide as a pdf.

This information aims to help you if someone close has been killed in a road crash, or if you are caring for someone bereaved in this way.

It has been produced by the charity Brake, with funding from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

What to read now

If you have been bereaved in the past few hours or days, go to the page 'What happens now?' (If you don't feel able to read on right away, ask someone else to read these pages for you.)

The rest of this guide provides information and advice on many other issues you may face at different times.

For emotional support, information and practical help from Brake and other agencies now or later, contact the Brake helpline on 0808 8000 401 or helpline@brake.org.uk or go to the to the section labelled ‘Useful organisations’.

What happens now?

Information and advice on organ donation; seeing, touching and identifying a loved one's body; post-mortem examination issues; return of belongings; visiting the crash site; what happened in the crash; and what happens to vehicles.

Practical issues

Information and advice on informing people; burials or cremations; legal issues; personal finance; the media; memorials; crashes abroad.

Criminal investigation and charges

Information and advice on the police investigation; the Public Prosecution Service and your right to be heard; criminal charges.

Court cases

Information and advice on attending court; being a witness in court; court procedures; appeals; prisoner release; inquests; the Criminal Justice System.

Can I claim compensation?

Information and advice on claiming compensation; hiring a solicitor to pursue compensation; rogue offers of help; paying your solicitor; types of compensation; fatal motor claim procedures.

Useful organisations

Information about organisations you can contact concerning all of the above.

Coping with grief

Advice for people bereaved in a road crash on coping with emotions, shock and trauma, and getting help.

Provide feedback on this guide

Brake hopes this guide has been helpful to you. If you would like to provide feedback, please fill in our simple online feedback form.

New road safety laws a big step in the right direction for Northern Ireland

News from Brake
13th January 2016

news@brake.org.uk

Tougher drink drive laws, increased police powers, and restrictions on new drivers a big step in the right direction for road safety in Northern Ireland

Brake, the road safety charity, is welcoming the new Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill in Northern Ireland which has passed its final stage at the Assembly.  When the Bill becomes law, which should be in a matter of weeks, it will see tougher drink driving laws, tougher police powers for breath tests, night restrictions on young drivers carrying passengers and a mandatory minimum period for learning to drive before taking the test.

74 people lost their lives on the roads in Northern Ireland in 2015. That’s 74 families and communities devastated and Brake understands the far reaching impact of these deaths from its extensive work with road crash victims’ families. This new legislation is a vital tool for Northern Ireland as it strives for the goal of not one single person killed on its roads.

Young drivers are a shocking three times more likely to be killed on the roads in Northern Ireland and four times more likely to be responsible for fatal crashes than drivers over 25. We strongly support the Assembly’s aim to reduce the number of young fatalities on its roads by 55% and are urging the rest of the UK to reintroduce casualty reduction targets.  

Brake’s director of campaigns and communications, Gary Rae said: “This is a Bill designed to save lives and we welcome it. The reduction of the drink drive alcohol limit to 50mg/100ml for all drivers and 20mg/100ml for those newly qualified will help save more lives.  We would prefer the lower limit to be enforced for all drivers, but this is a step in the right direction.”

Too many young drivers are losing their lives – shockingly, three times as many are likely to be killed on the roads in Northern Ireland, and four times as many are more likely to be responsible for fatal crashes than drivers over 25.  We strongly support the introduction of what looks like the beginnings of a Graduated Driver Licence scheme, with a minimum learning period and restrictions on passenger numbers for new drivers. Northern Ireland is once again leading the way in the UK when it comes to road safety legislation and we would urge other governments to look closely at this Bill and follow suit to keep all road users safer.”

[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.

 

 

North West schools join national march for drivers to slow down to save kids’ lives

?15 June 2011
Brake, the road safety charity, PO Box 548, Huddersfield, HD1 2XZ
Tel: 01484 559909 Email: news@brake.org.uk

13,727 children from 64 schools in the North West will be marching from their school gates at 10am on Wednesday 15 June to call for safer roads for children and make an attempt on the world record for the largest 'walking bus'. They will be appealing to local drivers to slow down to 20mph or below in built-up areas to protect children on foot.

The children are joining tens of thousands more across the UK taking part in the Giant Walking Bus, co-ordinated by road safety charity Brake and sponsored by leading fuel brand Jet. The event aims to raise awareness of the appalling number of children killed and hurt on roads, help schools to teach children about road safety, and appeal to drivers to slow down in communities. A list of schools in the region who have invited media to attend is available from Brake (contact below).

Shockingly, 1425 children are hurt or killed each year while on foot on North West roads.[1]

As well as calling on drivers to help protect children by driving at 20mph or below in communities, Brake is calling for widespread 20mph limits in built-up areas. 20mph limits are shown to deliver significant community benefits, including reduced casualties, particularly among children.[2] Many local authorities are implementing 20mph limits as the norm in built-up areas; Brake is appealing to more to follow suit, creating a safer environment for children to walk and cycle.

A survey of nearly 1,200 parents across the UK by Brake, released today, found widespread concern about the threat of fast traffic. Nearly six in 10 (57%) said they need a 20mph limit outside their home while nearly half (49%) said the road where they live is plagued by speeding drivers.

The Giant Walking Bus is expected to involve more than 125,000 children from nearly 600 schools around the UK. They aim to break the current record of 119,697 children taking part in a walking bus, and raise £35,000 for Brake's work, including its helpline for bereaved and injured families.

At the same time, Jet is backing the campaign by aiming to get thousands of drivers to make a pledge to drive at 20mph or below in built up areas, which they can sign up to at participating Jet fuel stations around the country.

Julie Townsend, Brake's campaigns director, says: "Brake supports families whose children have been killed or maimed on roads – so we know the terrible devastation these tragedies cause. Yet many could be prevented by drivers taking the simple step of slowing down in communities. You never know when a child might make a mistake and run out; your slower driving could save their life. At 20mph or lower, you stand a good chance of stopping in time if a child runs out three car lengths ahead. At 30mph or more, you would barely slow down before hitting them, potentially with catastrophic results. Please back our campaign for safer roads for children by pledging to drive at 20mph or below in communities."

Wendy Logan, whose son Gordon was knocked down and killed, aged 10, by a speeding driver says: "Children are so precious and yet so many children are killed or horrendously injured in the UK by dangerous driving. I support this event to raise awareness of the importance of driving slowly in communities and to raise funds for such an important charity that providing vital support to road crash victims."

Tony Conway, Marketing Manager at Jet, comments: "Jet is delighted to be sponsoring Brake's Giant Walking Bus event this year. As a company that puts safety at the heart of its operations and runs a number of educational safety initiatives, this sponsorship is very much in line with Jet's aim of supporting the local community. Our link with Brake goes back a number of years and we continue to be impressed with the level of enthusiasm and commitment shown by the Brake team, both for the annual event and the many other ongoing projects the charity operates."

For interviews with Brake call Katie Shephard on 01484 559909, or email brake@brake.org.uk.

Facts about children's road safety and 20mph limits:

  • Traffic is the biggest 'accidental' killer of children in the UK.[3]
  • In 2009, 54 under-18s were killed and 1,930 more were seriously injured while on foot in the UK.[4]
  • The UK's child pedestrian death rate per population is worse than 10 other EU countries, and eight times higher than Sweden's.[5]
  • Children in the lowest socio-economic group are more than four times more likely to be killed as pedestrians than their counterparts in the highest socio-economic group. A report published last year mapped out the parts of the UK where children are most at risk. [6]
  • Parents are more and more likely to take their child to school by car than let them walk or cycle. The 'school run' now accounts for 21% of car trips in urban areas at peak times.[7]
  • A walking bus is a healthy and environmentally-friendly way for children to get to school, with adult supervision to ensure children can negotiate dangerous roads safely. Many schools have set one up as part of their School Travel Plan.
  • A range of evidence is available on the effectiveness of 20mph limits in improving safety, especially for children. For example, see research on the impact of 20mph zones in London and Hull, an initial evaluation of city-wide 20mph limits in Portsmouth, and research into 30km/h limits (about 19mph) in the Netherlands.
  • For a factsheet explaining why 20mph is the most appropriate limit in built-up areas, and beneficial for children's safety, see www.brake.org.uk/speed-in-towns-and-villages.
  • For information on areas around the UK implementing widespread 20mph limits, and the benefits of this, see www.20splentyforus.org.uk.

[1] Statistics are given for children aged under 18 from Road Casualties Great Britain 2009, Department for Transport, 2010, and Annual Statistical Report 2009 No. 6 Reported Injury Road Traffic Collisions & Casualties, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2010

[2] For example, see research on the impact of 20mph zones in London and Hull, an initial evaluation of city-wide 20mph limits in Portsmouth, and research into 30km/h limits (about 19mph) in the Netherlands.

[3] Deaths by age, sex and selected underlying cause, 2008 registrations: England and Wales, Office for National Statistics, 2009 and Table 6.4 Deaths, by sex, age and cause, 2008 registrations, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, 2009 and Table 6.4 Deaths, by sex, age and cause, Vital Events Reference Tables 2008, General Register Office for Scotland, 2010

[4] Road Casualties Great Britain 2009, Department for Transport, 2010, and Annual Statistical Report 2009 No. 6 Reported Injury Road Traffic Collisions & Casualties, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2010

[5] Road Casualties 2009, Department for Transport, 2010

[6] A study into resident risk of children on roads in Great Britain 2004-08, Road Safety Analysis, 2010, see http://www.roadsafetyanalysis.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Child-Casualty-Report-2010.pdf

[7] National Travel Survey 2009, Office for National Statistics, 2010

Northern Ireland Assembly Consultation on the draft Road Traffic (Drink Driving) (Amendment) Bill and additional measures to tackle drink and drug driving in Northern Ireland

Response from Brake, the road safety charity
5 October 2012

About Brake
Brake is a leading UK road safety charity, working to prevent the five deaths and 66 injuries that occur every year on roads across Britain and caring for bereaved and injured victims. We have been working for 18 years to tackle the menace of drink and drug driving by championing the most effective, research supported solutions to impaired driving. As a charity that supports the victims of road crashes, we also work to ensure that there is a proper deterrent against taking risks on the road that tear families apart , and that the police and other emergency services who fight road crime are properly resourced and supported.

 

REPEAT OFFENDERS
Q1. Which option do you consider to be the most effective in tackling repeat offenders?
Option A: Introduce graduated penalties for repeat offenders where either one or both offencesis above the new lower limits (either 20mg/100ml or 50mg/100m - as applicable) but remains below a BAC level at which there is currently no offence i.e. below 80mg/100ml. In all other circumstances the current minimum 3 year disqualification period will apply: or
Option B:Apply the minimum 3 year disqualification period for all repeat offenders irrespectiveof BAC levels;Please indicate your preference by ticking the appropriate box (?)
Option A ?

Option B x
Neither ?
Brake welcomes the Northern Ireland government's commitment to ensuring repeat drink-drivers receive appropriate penalties, and particularly lengthy driving bans, to protect themselves and other road users. We believe the most effective way of achieving this aim is to implement a blanket minimum three year disqualification for all repeat offenders, regardless of BAC level. As recognised by the 2009 consultation on drink-driving, drinking even small amounts of alcohol significantly impairs driving ability . If proposals to roll out remedial training to a wider proportion of offenders are successful it is likely that many second-time offenders will be aware of this danger . There is also widespread awareness that drink-driving (i.e. driving over the legal limit) is extremely risky and frequently leads to casualties, so as long as the new limit of 50mg is widely communicated to the public Brake can see no reason to defer to a higher limit for the purposes of imposing a full penalty for repeat offences. There is no excuse for an offender who takes the same risk and breaks the same law twice; they are knowingly and wilfully endangering themselves and others and flouting the law. A blanket three year ban sends out a clear message that repeat offending won't be tolerated, in a way that is easy for the public to grasp. Such an approach would also reinforce the new drink-drive limit rather than referencing back to the old limit.

We believe that concerns over the public considering a blanket three year disqualification too punitive are misplaced. Our research shows the public consistently supports harsher punishments for driving offences, including for drink drive offences , suggesting they would be supportive of blanket three year disqualifications for repeat offenders, especially if the reasons were made clear . The public safety benefits of a blanket three year ban are persuasive. A repeated breach of the limit demonstrates a recklessness and disregard for the safety of others that needs to be met with swift and effective enforcement.

As set out in our 2009 consultation response, Brake believes 20mg is the safest and most appropriate drink drive limit for all drivers based on a range of evidence that even very small amounts of alcohol significantly affect crash risk. Given that the Northern Ireland government has opted to implement a 50mg limit for most drivers, which Brake supports as a step forward, Brake argues it is even more important that the punishment for repeatedly breaching that limit should be appropriately high. Driving with more than 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood poses a serious risk, therefore individuals caught repeatedly in breach of this limit should be subject to a minimum three year ban, to protect themselves and other road users.

REGISTERED HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
Q2. Do you agree with the proposal to extend the role of the registered health care professional when investigating drink/drug offences as follows

To allow nurses (in addition to medical practitioners):
a) to take blood samples in hospitals as well as in police stations; Yes
b) to take blood samples from a person incapable of consenting; and Yes
c) to assess whether drug testing should proceed Yes
a) Brake fully supports the proposal that nurses are allowed to take blood samples in hospitals. We find it extremely concerning that at present some offenders might escape justice due to a lack of available doctors, and can see no reason why this loophole should not be closed. We see no relevant distinction between a hospital and a police station for the purposes of this legislation, and agree it is unreasonable that presently nurses are allowed to take blood samples in police stations but not hospitals.

b) Brake fully agrees it is reasonable to allow nurses to take samples without consent in hospitals, given that they are already permitted to do so in police stations, to close a loophole that could allow some dangerous drink drivers to escape justice.

c) Brake agrees nurses should be allowed to assess whether drug testing should proceed, given that this is based on a straightforward opinion rather than exhaustive diagnosis, and given that this should help to ensure dangerous drug drivers do not escape justice because of a lack of availability of medical staff to carry out these preliminary assessments. If offenders are escaping detection and appropriate punishment for drug-driving because of a lack of medical practitioners, then the number of qualified personnel allowed to perform assessments should be expanded.

PRELIMINARY BREATH TEST
Q3. Do you agree with the proposal to remove the need for a preliminary breath test as a pre-requisite to an evidential breath test [following the acquisition of new evidential breath testing equipment]? Yes
Brake welcomes these plans to modernise the drink-driving laws and streamline police processes to enable more efficient drink driving enforcement. Therefore, we fully support the proposal to remove the need for a preliminary breath test, given that the accuracy of breath tests has now made such a preliminary test redundant. We welcome the Assembly's willingness to invest in new breath testing equipment and to free up police officers' time to improve traffic enforcement.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT BILL
Q4. Do you have any additional comments on any of the issues included in the draft Road Traffic (Drink Driving) (Amendment) Bill? Please prefix your comments with the particular aspect to which they refer.
2.1 Brake supports the Northern Ireland government's determination to make roads safer by decreasing the drink drive limit. But as outlined in the 2009 consultation, we believe the safest and most appropriate limit is a zero-tolerance limit of 20mg per 100ml alcohol given that even 20mg-50mg alcohol significantly increases crash risk , and given that this lower limit makes it absolutely clear that it should be none for the road. However, a 50mg limit is a step in the right direction – far preferable to the current limit – and Brake supports the adoption of a 20mg limit for the most at-risk drivers if this limit will not be introduced for all drivers.

Brake would strongly urge the Northern Ireland government to not only widely publicise the forthcoming change in the law to encourage compliance, but to use the opportunity to communicate the message that to be safe, drivers should not even take the risk of driving after one small drink, or the morning after having more than one or two the night before. Brake knows from its research into public attitudes and behaviour that there is widespread misunderstanding on these points : many drivers think they're unaffected after one or two drinks, and don't understand how long alcohol stays in their system.

2.2(i) We are concerned that removing the automatic disqualification for drink-driving offences at the lower end of the spectrum, and introduction of such a low fine, will work against the assembly's stated intentions, and undermine the new limit. For a crime as serious as drink driving, which kills or seriously injures 88 people per year in Northern Ireland , we argue that a fine as low as £100-£200 and six penalty points is not a sufficient deterrent. We call for a fine of at least £500, but preferably of around £1,000 for fixed penalty notices for driving offences, along with a minimum driving disqualification of 12 months for those exceeding the drink drive limit. Fines handed out in courts for repeat and higher-level offenders should be far higher still, accompanied with lengthier driving bans.

2.2 (i) We support plans to increase the minimum disqualification period for those caught driving with large amounts of alcohol in their bloodstream, but we feel that at the highest levels the current proposals are not sufficient. A driver with a blood alcohol level between 80mg/100ml and 100mg/100ml is 11 times more likely as a completely sober driver to cause a fatality . Because of the significant risk posed to human life, drivers with the higher level of 125mg/100ml or more should be banned from driving for at least three years. We recognise that disqualifying drivers for significant periods of time can have detrimental effects on the offender but these are limited compared to the horrendous effects on families bereaved by drink-drive crashes .

2.5 Brake fully supports and welcomes the Northern Ireland government's plans to allow random drink- and drug- testing checkpoints. Research shows random testing of this kind has a significant impact on road safety . The combination of greater and high profile enforcement through checkpoints with the change in the drink-drive law, and a high-quality public information campaign should go a long way to stamping out drink driving in Northern Ireland, demonstrating that it won't be tolerated.

2.6 Finally, Brake welcomes the Northern Ireland government's plans to remove statutory option to give a blood or urine sample instead of a breath sample. As the proposals state, the statutory option is outdated given advances in breathalyser technology, and serves only as a hindrance to the successful prosecution of drink-drive offenders.

 

 

Northern Ireland schools join national march for drivers to slow down to save kids’ lives

??15 June 2011
Brake, the road safety charity, PO Box 548, Huddersfield, HD1 2XZ
Tel: 01484 559909 Email: news@brake.org.uk

3269 children from 21 schools in Northern Ireland will be marching from their school gates at 10am on Wednesday 15 June to call for safer roads for children and make an attempt on the world record for the largest 'walking bus'. They will be appealing to local drivers to slow down to 20mph or below in built-up areas to protect children on foot.

 

The children are joining tens of thousands more across the UK taking part in the Giant Walking Bus, co-ordinated by road safety charity Brake and sponsored by leading fuel brand Jet. The event aims to raise awareness of the appalling number of children killed and hurt on roads, help schools to teach children about road safety, and appeal to drivers to slow down in communities. A list of schools in the region who have invited media to attend is available from Brake (contact below).

Shockingly, 292 children are hurt or killed each year while on foot on Northern Ireland roads.[1]

As well as calling on drivers to help protect children by driving at 20mph or below in communities, Brake is calling for widespread 20mph limits in built-up areas. 20mph limits are shown to deliver significant community benefits, including reduced casualties, particularly among children.[2] Many local authorities are implementing 20mph limits as the norm in built-up areas; Brake is appealing to more to follow suit, creating a safer environment for children to walk and cycle.

A survey of nearly 1,200 parents across the UK by Brake, released today, found widespread concern about the threat of fast traffic. Nearly six in 10 (57%) said they need a 20mph limit outside their home while nearly half (49%) said the road where they live is plagued by speeding drivers.

The Giant Walking Bus is expected to involve more than 125,000 children from nearly 600 schools around the UK. They aim to break the current record of 119,697 children taking part in a walking bus, and raise £35,000 for Brake's work, including its helpline for bereaved and injured families.

At the same time, Jet is backing the campaign by aiming to get thousands of drivers to make a pledge to drive at 20mph or below in built up areas, which they can sign up to at participating Jet fuel stations around the country.

Julie Townsend, Brake's campaigns director, says: "Brake supports families whose children have been killed or maimed on roads – so we know the terrible devastation these tragedies cause. Yet many could be prevented by drivers taking the simple step of slowing down in communities. You never know when a child might make a mistake and run out; your slower driving could save their life. At 20mph or lower, you stand a good chance of stopping in time if a child runs out three car lengths ahead. At 30mph or more, you would barely slow down before hitting them, potentially with catastrophic results. Please back our campaign for safer roads for children by pledging to drive at 20mph or below in communities."

Wendy Logan, whose son Gordon was knocked down and killed, aged 10, by a speeding driver says: "Children are so precious and yet so many children are killed or horrendously injured in the UK by dangerous driving. I support this event to raise awareness of the importance of driving slowly in communities and to raise funds for such an important charity that providing vital support to road crash victims."

Tony Conway, Marketing Manager at Jet, comments: "Jet is delighted to be sponsoring Brake's Giant Walking Bus event this year. As a company that puts safety at the heart of its operations and runs a number of educational safety initiatives, this sponsorship is very much in line with Jet's aim of supporting the local community. Our link with Brake goes back a number of years and we continue to be impressed with the level of enthusiasm and commitment shown by the Brake team, both for the annual event and the many other ongoing projects the charity operates."

For interviews with Brake call Katie Shephard on 01484 559909, or email brake@brake.org.uk.

Facts about children's road safety and 20mph limits:

  • Traffic is the biggest 'accidental' killer of children in the UK.[3]
  • In 2009, 54 under-18s were killed and 1,930 more were seriously injured while on foot in the UK.[4]
  • The UK's child pedestrian death rate per population is worse than 10 other EU countries, and eight times higher than Sweden's.[5]
  • Children in the lowest socio-economic group are more than four times more likely to be killed as pedestrians than their counterparts in the highest socio-economic group. A report published last year mapped out the parts of the UK where children are most at risk. [6]
  • Parents are more and more likely to take their child to school by car than let them walk or cycle. The 'school run' now accounts for 21% of car trips in urban areas at peak times.[7]
  • A walking bus is a healthy and environmentally-friendly way for children to get to school, with adult supervision to ensure children can negotiate dangerous roads safely. Many schools have set one up as part of their School Travel Plan.
  • A range of evidence is available on the effectiveness of 20mph limits in improving safety, especially for children. For example, see research on the impact of 20mph zones in London and Hull, an initial evaluation of city-wide 20mph limits in Portsmouth, and research into 30km/h limits (about 19mph) in the Netherlands.
  • For a factsheet explaining why 20mph is the most appropriate limit in built-up areas, and beneficial for children's safety, see www.brake.org.uk/speed-in-towns-and-villages.
  • For information on areas around the UK implementing widespread 20mph limits, and the benefits of this, see www.20splentyforus.org.uk.

[1] Statistics are given for children aged under 18 from Road Casualties Great Britain 2009, Department for Transport, 2010, and Annual Statistical Report 2009 No. 6 Reported Injury Road Traffic Collisions & Casualties, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2010

[2] For example, see research on the impact of 20mph zones in London and Hull, an initial evaluation of city-wide 20mph limits in Portsmouth, and research into 30km/h limits (about 19mph) in the Netherlands.

[3] Deaths by age, sex and selected underlying cause, 2008 registrations: England and Wales, Office for National Statistics, 2009 and Table 6.4 Deaths, by sex, age and cause, 2008 registrations, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, 2009 and Table 6.4 Deaths, by sex, age and cause, Vital Events Reference Tables 2008, General Register Office for Scotland, 2010

[4] Road Casualties Great Britain 2009, Department for Transport, 2010, and Annual Statistical Report 2009 No. 6 Reported Injury Road Traffic Collisions & Casualties, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2010

[5] Road Casualties 2009, Department for Transport, 2010

[6] A study into resident risk of children on roads in Great Britain 2004-08, Road Safety Analysis, 2010, see http://www.roadsafetyanalysis.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Child-Casualty-Report-2010.pdf

[7] National Travel Survey 2009, Office for National Statistics, 2010

Thousands of school children in Northern Ireland join UK-wide march calling for safer roads for kids

Children at primary schools across Northern Ireland will be marching for safer roads at 10am today, Wednesday 20 June, as part of the UK-wide Giant Walking Bus, coordinated by Brake, the road safety charity. They will be calling on drivers to help protect children on foot in their communities by slowing down to 20mph around schools, homes and shops. 

Across the UK, more than 120,000 kids from 600 schools will be simultaneously marching for road safety: saying yes to safe walking, and no to fast traffic. They will be trying to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest walking bus, set at 119,697 through the same event in 2009.

Each week on Northern Ireland's roads, four children are knocked down and hurt while on foot [1].

Brake is calling on drivers across Northern Ireland to help prevent tragedies, and make roads safer for children to walk to school and get out and about in their neighbourhood, by pledging to slow down to 20mph in communities. This is the compassionate, socially responsible way to drive, giving you time to react and brake in an emergency, such as if a child suddenly steps out (see facts below). Drivers can make Brake's Pledge at www.brake.org.uk/pledge.

Brake is also calling for more 20mph limits, and other measures to protect people on foot, to make towns and villages safer, greener, healthier and more family-friendly. Brake is calling on the government to encourage and enable more local authorities to implement widespread 20mph limits, and appealing to councils to make this progressive step. Communities concerned about children's safety can report their concerns and get advice on campaigning for road safety at www.brake.org.uk/zak-the-zebra.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, says: "The Giant Walking Bus is all about schools, kids and communities saying yes to safe walking – because children should be able to walk in their own neighbourhoods without being endangered. Too many children suffer due to fast traffic in their area, whether it's stopping them getting out and about and enjoying being a kid, or worse, suffering a terrible injury or even being killed. But we can do something about this. Drivers everywhere can help make roads safer for children by pledging to slow down to 20mph or below around schools, homes and shops, or avoiding driving altogether if possible, especially for short journeys. It's a simple commitment that can make a huge difference, helping to create safer, greener, more family-friendly communities."

For interviews with Brake or a list of participating schools contact news@brake.org.uk

About Giant Walking Bus

Giant Walking Bus is an annual event coordinated by Brake, with primary school children around the UK walking simultaneously in a supervised group around their school or on a nearby route, while learning about and promoting safe walking. Schools get free road safety resources and can choose to raise funds for Brake. In the run up and on the day, kids can learn about traffic pollution, danger and transport choices and create their own placards and posters. The children also aim to raise thousands of pounds for Brake's work supporting families bereaved or injured by a road crash and campaigning for safer roads for everyone.

Brake's calls to government

Brake wants to see the urban default speed limit reduced from 30mph to 20mph, to enable people to walk and cycle safely in their community across the country. In the meantime, Brake calls on the government to enable, encourage and fund more local authorities to implement town, village and city-wide 20mph limits, alongside other measures to protect people on foot and bicycle, like safe pavements, paths and crossings.

Brake is also appealing to local authorities everywhere to prioritise the safety and health of local people by taking steps to make walking and cycling safer, like implementing widespread 20mph limits.

Read more about Brake's Slower speeds save lives campaign.

Facts about children's safety on roads

Across the UK, 28 children were killed and 1,677 were seriously injured on foot in 2010 [2]. While child road casualties in the UK have fallen in the past decade, year-on-year we have made less progress than many other European countries [3]. Our child pedestrian death rate remains higher than 10 other EU countries, and three times higher than Finland's [4]. So while the UK has the second lowest road death rate in the EU, we have a relatively poor record for protecting children, and could do much more to prevent these devastating casualties.

Traffic is the biggest non-medical cause of death for UK children [5], and the poorest children are most at risk: children in the lowest socio-economic group are more than four times more likely to be killed on foot than those in the highest group. See a reportmapping the parts of the UK where children are most at risk [6].

A recent survey by Brake and Churchill highlighted parents' fears for children's safety on roads: 90% said children were endangered by fast traffic in their area, and 74% said they would walk more if local roads were safer [7].

Slowing down to 20mph in communities is critical in protecting children and other vulnerable road users, because it gives drivers a far better chance of stopping in time in an emergency. At 20mph, if a child suddenly steps out three car lengths ahead, you should just be able to stop in time. At 30mph, you would barely have time to hit the brakes, and would hit the child at 27mph, with a significant chance of seriously maiming or killing them.

20mph limits have been shown to be highly effective in improving safety, especially for children on foot. For example, see research on the impact of 20mph zones in London and Hull, an initial evaluation of city-wide 20mph limits in Portsmouth, and research into 30km/h limits (about 19mph) in the Netherlands.

About Brake

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 65 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents: they are man-made, preventable, violent events that devastate lives. Brake does not use the term accidents because it undermines work to tackle needless casualties and causes insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by road death or injury.

End notes:

[1] 225 children age 0-15 year-old were killed or injured as pedestrians in 2010 in Northern Ireland (1 death, 57 serious injuries and 167 slight injuries); figures obtained by Brake from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, May 2012
[2] Statistics for 0-15 year-old pedestrians provided to Brake by the Department for Transport (for England, Wales and Scotland) and Police Service of Northern Ireland (for Northern Ireland), May 2012
[3] Reducing child deaths on European Roads, ETSC PIN Flash 12, 2009, 
[4] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2010, Department for Transport 2011
[5] Deaths by age, sex and selected underlying cause, 2010 registrations: England and Wales, Office for National Statistics; Table 6.4 Deaths, by sex, age and cause, 2010 registrations, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency; Table 6.4 Deaths, by sex, age and cause, Vital Events Reference Tables 2010, General Register Office for Scotland
[6] A study into resident risk of children on roads in Great Britain 2004-08, Road Safety Analysis, 2010
[7] Survey of 1,000 parents of children under 16 conducted by Redshift research on behalf of Brake and Churchill Car Insurance in March 2012