Articles Tagged ‘scottish government - Brake the road safety charity’

9,000 preventable injuries in last two years as government stalls on tackling young driver crashes

Wednesday 25 March 2015

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

Today (25 March 2015) marks two years since the government promised to overhaul young driver rules to tackle the devastating toll of deaths and injuries involving young drivers on UK roads.

It has been estimated that almost 9,000 injuries, 866 of them deaths or serious injuries, could have been prevented in this time if the government had introduced a system of graduated driver licensing [1].

Brake, the road safety charity, has condemned the government’s failure to deliver progress, and urged politicians of all parties to commit to putting young driver safety high on the political agenda early in the new parliament.

Brake is calling for the introduction of graduated driver licensing, which includes a minimum learner period (usually 12 months) and a post-test novice period with restrictions to limit exposure to risk, like a late-night curfew and restrictions on carrying young passengers. Such systems are used successfully in other countries including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and many US states. It is estimated it could prevent 400 deaths and serious injuries a year in the UK [2].

Graduated driver licensing has widespread backing from experts and public alike. Brake recently (12 February 2015) joined other road safety experts, academics and insurers in signing an open letter in the British Medical Journal demanding action. More than two thirds (68%) of the public are in favour [3].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said:“Tackling young driver crashes is one of the biggest challenges in ending the misery of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Young drivers are greatly overrepresented in serious and fatal crashes, and very often it is young people themselves whose lives are lost or who suffer horrific injuries. It’s an epidemic that has to end, and we know that graduated driver licensing works in reducing these crashes.

“Evidence from other countries, the weight of expert opinion and the balance of public support are all behind graduated driver licensing. This government has continually kicked this issue into the long grass and failed to deliver its long-promised green paper on young driver safety. There is no excuse for the next government to repeat this failure to act.”

Brake campaigns for graduated driver licensing to stop young driver crashes through its too young to die campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #tooyoungtodie.

Read more about graduated driver licensing and facts on young driver crashes.

Notes for editors

Young driver crashes: the facts

  • Drivers aged 17-19 make up only 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 12% of fatal and serious crashes [4].
  • Drivers aged 16-19 are more than twice as likely to die in a crash as drivers aged 40-49 [5].
  • One in four 18-24 year olds (23%) crash within two years of passing their driving test [6].
  • Young male drivers are involved in many more crashes than young female drivers [7].

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] Graduated driver licensing: a regional analysis of potential casualty savings in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2014
[2] ibid
[3] Young driver safety: a public attitude survey, RAC Foundation, 2014
[4] New research highlights need for graduated driving licensing, Transport Research Laboratory, 2014
[5] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014, table RAS30025
[6] Young drivers at risk, The AA, 2012
[7] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014, table RAS30011

Brake comments on reported improvement in Scottish road safety

News from Brake
Wednesday, 13 June 2018
 
Transport Scotland has released provisional headline figures for road casualties reported to the police in Scotland in 2017 [1].
 
There was a total of 9,391 road casualties reported in Scotland 2017, 1,514 or 14% fewer than 2016 and the lowest number of casualties since records began in 1950.
  • 146 fatalities: 45 (or 24%) less than 2016
  • 1,580 seriously injured: 119 (or 7%) less than 2016
  • 7,665 slightly injured: 1,350 (or 15%) fewer than 2016

Commenting on the figures, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:

“These figures show encouraging progress in the safety of Scottish roads and this trend should hearten all road safety campaigners. Any reduction in casualties is to be welcomed, however, tragically 33 people are still killed or seriously injured on Scottish roads every week, so our work is far from done.”
 
“We urge the Government to build on this momentum and implement policies which will trigger the next step-change in road safety. We need safer speeds in towns and rural areas, we need Graduated Driver Licensing to protect novice drivers and we need far greater investment in cycling and walking infrastructure.”
 
“Brake’s vision is a world of zero road deaths and serious injuries and this can only be delivered through strong and bold leadership. Every road crash is preventable, tragic and causes devastation to the families of those affected. We owe it to them to ensure we learn from the lessons of the past and eliminate the tragedy of road death.”
 
[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 Scotland's 20mph Consultation

A proposal for a Bill to replace the current 30mph default speed limit on restricted roads with a 20mph limit. Consultation by Mark Ruskell MSP, Member for Mid Scotland and Fife

Response from Brake, the road safety charity, September 2017

5. Which of the following best expresses your view of the proposal to replace the current 30mph default speed limit on restricted roads with a 20mph limit?

Fully supportive.

Please explain the reasons for your response.

Brake fully supports changing Scotland’s current 30mph default speed limit on restricted roads to 20mph because it offers an opportunity to save lives, promote sustainable transport and improve the environment.

Excessive speed is a major contributory factor in road crashes, resulting in death and serious injury. In 2015, "travelling too fast for conditions" and "exceeding the speed limit" were contributory factors in 19% of fatal crashes and 11% of all reported road crashes in Scotland [1]. Excessive speed is also a significant problem for UK road traffic enforcement officers: in 2015-16 alone, 32% of Scottish motoring offences were classified as speeding offences (54,419 offences) [2].

At slower speeds, drivers have more time to identify potential hazards and take action to avoid them [3,4]. At 20mph, the average stopping distance is 12 metres, rising to 23 metres at 30mph according to the UK Highway Code [5], although new research from Brake/TRL suggests these distances are underestimated [6]. In addition, if a vehicle is travelling at a slower speed before a crash, the energy involved in the impact is much lower, and much less damage is caused by the crash [7].

As well as inflicting horrendous suffering, every road death is estimated to cost the economy £1.8 million [8]. Fewer casualties mean less strain on the NHS and emergency services, and less emotional and financial devastation for families [9]. A study in Wales suggested that introducing 20mph limits on roads classified as 30mph could prevent 6-10 road deaths and 1203-1978 casualties annually, saving an estimated £58-94 million per year in Welsh public health costs [10]. 

Reducing casualties isn’t the only public health benefit of a default 20mph limit. Slower traffic speed makes people feel safer, which encourages more walking and cycling. Surveys of public attitudes towards traffic speeds carried out in Edinburgh before and after the implementation of a 20mph limit, showed that the percentage of respondents expressing a level of concern for traffic speeds fell from 32% in the ‘before’ survey to 24% in the ‘after’ survey. Analysis of cyclists’ attitudes showed that they were significantly less likely to be concerned about traffic speeds after 20mph speed limits had been introduced [11]. In April 2013, the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group recommended the “widespread extension of 20mph speed limits as the default value in urban streets” to increase cycling [12].  More people walking and cycling means less motorised traffic on the roads and less pollution from vehicle emissions.

More walking and cycling means better health and prevention of illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, and greater savings for the taxpayer [13]. Lower speed limits can also help local businesses, especially in ailing town centres, by increasing footfall. In financial terms, the introduction of 20mph limits has widespread benefits and pays for itself many times over [14].

In short, there are numerous benefits to the introduction of a default 20mph limit where people live - including improved road safety, public health and sustainable transport, and less strain on the NHS and other public services.

Footnotes:

[1] In 2015, ‘travelling too fast for conditions’ and ‘exceeding the speed limit’ were contributory factors in 19% fatal crashes and 11% road crashes in Scotland (RRC Scotland 2015, Transport Scotland, 2016).
[2] Recorded crime in Scotland 2015-16, Scottish government, Group 7, 2016.
[3] Average road crashes could fall by 4-6% per 1mph reduction in vehicle speed [Taylor, M. C., et al., The effects of drivers’ speed on the frequency of road accidents, TRL, 2000].
[4] Transport Scotland, Good practice guide on 20mph speed restrictions, 2016
[5] Department for Transport, UK Highway Code Rule 126: stopping distances, updated 2017
[6] Cuerden, R., The mechanics of emergency braking, Brake & TRL, 2017 http://www.brake.org.uk/media-centre/1748-new-figures-show-highway-code-falls-short-on-stopping-distances
[7] Khorasani-Zavareh D. et al, Kinetic energy management in road traffic injury prevention: a call for action, 2015.
[8] Department for Transport, Reported road casualties GB: Annual report 2015, 2015, RAS60001
[9] Jones, S. & Brunt, H., Twenty miles per hour speed limits: a sustainable health solution to public health problems in Wales, British Medical Journal, 2017
[10] Jones, S. & Brunt, H., Twenty miles per hour speed limits: a sustainable health solution to public health problems in Wales, British Medical Journal, 2017
[11] City of Edinburgh Council, Before and After: Research into the implementation of 20mph speed limits in South Edinburgh, 2013
[12] All-party Parliamentary Cycling Group, Get Britain Cycling, 2013
[13] Department of Health, Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers, 2011
[14] Living Streets, The pedestrian pound: business case for better streets and places, 2015

6. Could the aims of the proposal be better delivered in another way (without a Bill in the Scottish Parliament?

No

Please explain the reasons for your response.

The Scottish Parliament is responsible for setting the country’s speed limits and must take a central leadership role if the full benefits of 20mph speed limits (as outlined in the response to question 5) are to be realised. According to the World Health Organization: “Responsible and accountable road safety leadership at country, state, provincial and city levels is vital to success” [1], while the OECD highlights the importance of leadership to achieve a paradigm shift towards a ‘safe systems’ approach to road safety [2].

Local authorities can use traffic regulation orders (TROs) to implement 20mph limits and zones [3], but the introduction and enforcement of 20mph speed limits has been described as ‘limited’, with many authorities said to lack the necessary resources and leadership to do so [4].

Evidence suggests that without central Government backing, the implementation of 20mph speed limits will be varied and inconsistent [4,5]. Without legislative support, the process for introducing 20mph limits and zones to urban areas is too complex and expensive for many local authorities [6]. Legislation is needed to simplify implementation of a default 20mph speed limit and to reduce costs and confusion for local officials and Transport Scotland [6].

Footnotes:

[1] WHO, Save LIVES: a road safety technical package, 2017
[2] International transport forum, Zero deaths and serious injuries: leading a paradigm shift to a safe system, OECD, 2016
[3] Parliament UK, Roads: traffic regulation orders (SN6013), 2014
[4] Steer Davies Gleave, Research into the effectiveness of 20mph speed limits and zones, London Borough of Merton, 2014
[5] Transport Scotland has already part-funded the City of Edinburgh council’s 20mph scheme that covers 80% of the roads in the city centre (City of Edinburgh Council, Before and After: Research into the implementation of 20mph speed limits in South Edinburgh, 2013)
[6] PACTS, Road safety since 2010,  2015 – indicates the need for consistent, government-led speed management policies instead of localised approach.

7. What do you think would be the main advantages, if any, of the proposal?

There are significant benefits to the proposal, outlined in our response to question 5, including improved road safety, public health and sustainable transport.

Towns, villages and other residential areas should be places where anyone can travel unimpeded in a safe and pleasant environment. The introduction of default 20mph speed limits helps create shared spaces that are healthier, greener and safer [1]. Lower speed limits encourage people to be more active, cycling and walking short journeys, and improving their fitness, health and wellbeing [2,3].

Speed is a significant contributor to road crashes, and reducing speed offers a major opportunity to reduce road deaths and serious injuries, especially among vulnerable road users including cyclists, pedestrians and children [4] [5].

Speeding traffic also has a negative impact on air quality, noise pollution levels and the ‘liveability’ of an area [6].

A 20mph speed limit suited to the local environment can result in smoother journeys with less vehicle idling, which contributes to air pollution; it’s important to cut unnecessary pollution in places where people live and work, including residential areas and near schools and hospitals [7].

Slower speeds can also benefit the economically disadvantaged as low-income housing is often located close to busy roads; slower traffic means more people can travel through their community without fear of the road [8].

Footnotes

[1] Baster, N. et al, Achieving safety, sustainability and health goals in transport, PACTS, 2015
[2] Public Health England, Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, 2016
[3] Jones, S., Brunt, H. 2017 Twenty miles per hour speed limits: a sustainable solution for public health problems in Wales, Journal of Epidemiology and Health, 10.
[4] Studies suggest that until the age of 14 children lack the cognitive reasoning to cross the road safely (Plumert, 2017).
[5] Cohen J, Boniface S, Watkins S. Health implications of transport planning, development and operations. J Transport Health, 2014;1:63–72
[6] TravelWest, Essential evidence: No 159 What could a switch from 30mph to 20mph achieve across a whole country’s population, 2017
[7] Transport and environment analysis group, An evaluation of the estimated impacts on vehicle emissions of a 20mph speed restriction in central London: final report, Imperial College London, 2013
[8] RoSPA, Social factors in road safety: policy paper, 2012

8. What do you think would be the main disadvantages, if any, of the proposal?

N/A

9. What measures do you think would be needed to maximise compliance with the new national speed limit on restricted roads? (Examples might include advertising, signage or police enforcement)

The Scottish Government should introduce this policy with an educational/awareness-raising advertising campaign, supported by a nuanced, evidence-based road safety strategy with targets to maximise driver compliance and road user safety [1-4]. A parallel crackdown on enforcement in selected 20mph areas, for example by police patrols and speed cameras is also required [5].

Footnotes

[1] WHO, Save LIVES: a road safety technical package, 2017
[2] International transport forum, Zero deaths and serious injuries: leading a paradigm shift to a safe system, OECD, 2016
[3] Ciaburro, T. & Spencer, J., Seizing the opportunity: safer roads, PACTS, 2017
[4] Brake, Inspire, inform, engage: Developing a pragmatic approach to road safety and sustainable transport interventions, 2017
[5] Owen et al., The effectiveness of average speed cameras in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2016.

Financial implication

10. Taking account of both the costs and potential savings, what financial impact would you expect the Bill to have on:

a). the Scottish Government:

Some increase in cost

b). Local authorities:

Broadly cost neutral

c). Motorists:

Broadly cost neutral

d). Other road users and members of the public:

Significant reduction in cost

e). Other public services (e.g. NHS, Fire and Rescue Services etc.)

Significant reduction in cost

Please explain the reasons for your response.

The Scottish Government: Could experience an increase in costs during the initial stages of implementing a default 20mph limit, as repeater signs are removed (or added for 30mph zones). In the long-run, however, the government stands to make significant savings by preventing road deaths and serious injury. Fatal crashes cost Scotland £332.8 million in 2015; crashes resulting in serious injuries cost £351.9 million; and in total road crashes cost Scotland £1,130.2 million in 2015 [1].

Local authorities:Could experience a slight increase in costs if they adapt the local road infrastructure to reflect the new limit or install speed cameras to enforce new speed limits [2]; however, local authorities will no longer have to spend money on repeater signs for 20mph zones [3] and the income generated from new speed cameras could be used to fund local road safety initiatives [4].

Motorists:A largely cost neutral group, although there are financial benefits of fewer crashes, more reliable journey times and associated costs [5].

Other road users:Could experience a significant reduction in cost. A smaller number of crashes means that fewer families are likely to experience the death of a salary-earning loved one in a road crash [6].

Public services: Reduction in costs due to fewer emergency services call-outs to attend road crashes and treat victims. Lower speed limits could also encourage more people to engage with public transport options, potentially increasing local funding for these services [7].

Footnotes

[1] Reported Road Casualties: Scotland 2015, Transport Scotland, 2016
[2] City of Edinburgh Council’s 20mph scheme covered 80% of the city and estimated to cost £2.2 million (City of Edinburgh Council, Objections to Traffic Regulation Order TRO/15/17 20mph Speed Limit – Various Roads, Edinburgh, Transport and environment committee, 2016)
[3] Statutory instruments 2016 No.362: Traffic signs, regulations and general directions 2016, gov.uk, 2016
[4] Owen et al., The effectiveness of average speed cameras in Great Britain, RAC Foundation, 2016
[5] Department for Transport, Accident and casualty costs, RAS60, 2016.
[6] Wedlock, E & Tapley, J., What works in supporting victims of crime: a rapid evidence assessment, 2016 
[7] Transport for London, Safe streets for London: The road safety action plan for London 2020, 2013

11. Do you believe there will be any other benefits to reducing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph?

Please refer to the responses to questions 5 and 7.

Equalities

12. What overall impact is the proposed Bill likely to have on equality, taking account of the following protected characteristics (under the Equality Act 2010): age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race and belief, sex, sexual orientation?

Slightly positive

Please explain the reasons for your response

There is a significant body of evidence worldwide suggesting that people in disadvantaged socioeconomic groups are more likely to be involved in a road crash [1]. The introduction of a lower default speed limit could help disadvantaged groups by increasing road safety generally in the places where they work and live [2].

In addition, safer roads in communities would help make shared spaces more accessible to those with disabilities or limited movement due to illness or age [3].

Footnotes

[1] WHO, Global status report on road safety: 2015, 2016
[2] Steinbach, R. et al., The impact of 20mph zones on inequalities in road casualties in London, British Medical Journal, 2011
[3] Living Streets, The pedestrian pound: business case for better streets and places, 2015

13. Could any negative impact of the Bill on equality be minimised or avoided?

We do not consider there to be any negative impact.

14. Do you consider that the proposed Bill can be delivered sustainably i.e. without having likely future disproportionate economic, social and/or environmental impacts?

Yes

Please explain the reasons for your response

The National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) has indicated that if 20mph speed limits are introduced incorrectly, there could be significant reduction in air quality [1]. But if changes are implemented responsibly and in line with an evidence-based strategy, we think that the benefits - in terms of improved road safety and encouraging people to take up more sustainable active travel, as outlined in our response to question 7 - outweigh the cost of implementing the Bill.

In both financial and environmental terms, the cost of installing new road signs will be offset to some degree by the reduced need for 20mph repeater signs [2]; this will also result in reduced local government costs and ‘decluttering’ of residential road space.

Footnotes

[1] NICE, Air Pollution: outdoor air quality and health, 2017.
[2] Statutory instruments 2016 No.362: Traffic signs, regulations and general directions 2016, gov.uk, 2016

General

15. Do you have any other comments or suggestions on the proposal to establish a 20mph default speed limit on restricted roads?

No

Brake supports Scottish proposals for default 20mph limit in built up areas

News from Brake
Thursday, 14 September 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, has today pledged its support for proposals put forward in Scotland for a default 20mph limit in built up areas. The charity has issued a consultation response to a members' bill proposed by Mark Ruskell MSP (Mid Scotland and Fife) for a lower speed limit.

Commenting on the proposals, Jason Wakeford, Brake's Director of Campaigns, said: "A default 20mph limit across built up areas in Scotland offers a golden opportunity to save lives, promote sustainable transport and improve the environment.

"Travelling at lower speeds drastically reduces the risk of death and serious injury and encourages more walking and cycling - relieving pressure on the NHS and other public services.

"We fully support Mark Ruskell's proposed bill and want to see more urban areas going 20 right across the UK."

[ENDS]

Brake's full consultation response can be accessed at: http://www.brake.org.uk/top-level/2-about-us/1766-brake-responds-to-scotland-s-20mph-consultation

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 urges decisive action as Scottish road deaths rise

Wednesday 17 June 2015

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

Brake, the road safety charity, is urging the Scottish Government to take decisive action to reverse an alarming rise in deaths on Scotland’s roads. Transport Scotland statistics released today show 200 people were killed in 2014, 16% more than in 2013. Serious injuries also increased by 1% to 1,694. The most vulnerable road users bore the brunt of the increase, with 18 more pedestrians killed than in 2013.

The increase in Scottish road casualties reflects a worrying trend across the UK. Statistics for the year ending September 2014, released in February this year, showed a 4% increase in deaths and serious injuries for Great Britain as a while.

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, said: “The statistics from Scotland reaffirm the grim fact that became apparent in February – road casualties across the UK are heading in the wrong direction, with many more senseless, preventable deaths and life-changing injuries. However, unlike other parts of the UK, Scotland has the power to act independently to tackle the problem. The Scottish Government has already taken strong, positive action by lowering the drink drive limit, but as this only came in towards the end of 2014, it is too early to see an effect.

“Holyrood has the power to do more, including setting a 20mph default urban speed limit across Scotland – the increase in pedestrian casualties has highlighted the importance of this to protecting people on foot and bike. The Scottish Government has also expressed its willingness to push for a graduated driver licensing pilot in Scotland to cut young driver crashes, a measure we urge them to pursue. By implementing these measures, we are hopeful that Scotland could turn the tide and set an example for the rest of the UK.”

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, 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.

Charity calls on First Minister to introduce drug drive law

News from Brake

16 March 2017 
news@brake.org.uk

As SNP launches its Spring conference, charity calls for zero-tolerance of drug-driving on Scotland’s roads

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the Scottish government to introduce a zero-tolerance policy for drug driving on the nation’s roads.

The call comes as the Scottish National Party opens its annual Spring Conference, in Aberdeen. In 2014, Scotland led the way by introducing a lower limit than the rest of the UK, for drunk-driving (50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The rest of the UK retains 80mg limit – higher than all other EU countries except Malta). Brake believes it is now time to take the next step to safe and sober drivers by introducing a similar drug driving law.

Drug driving is a major problem, hampering driver reaction time and encouraging dangerous behaviours that put the individual and other road users at risk.

The latest available UK figures, from 2015, show that 62 fatal crashes were a result of impairment by illicit drugs. In a survey, last year by Brake and Direct Line, 7% of respondents admitted to driving while under the influence of drugs, with over half doing so on a weekly basis.

In 2015, England and Wales introduced a zero tolerance drug driving ban, making it an offence to drive with certain controlled drugs (both illicit and some prescription-only drugs) but this law does not apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland.   

Since the drug driving ban was introduced, drug-driving arrests have soared in police forces across England and Wales. Between March 2015 and April 2016 almost 8,000 people were arrested for the offence and the number of convictions for careless driving under the influence of drugs also rose from 1,039 in 2014 to 1,490 in 2015.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, said: “As the governing party gathers in Aberdeen, I want to send the First Minister a clear message that her government needs to root out dangerous and potentially deadly driving by introducing a drug-driving law. There’s evidence that the law is working in the other nations of the UK and will work in Scotland.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Here’s Brake’s ‘fact checker’ on drug-driving at the wheel: http://www.brake.org.uk/info-and-resources/facts-advice-research/road-safety-facts/15-facts-a-resources/facts/482-drug-driving-an-overview

Brake’s advice on drug driving and taking legal medication

It’s not just illegal drugs that make you unsafe to drive. Some medicines, such as strong pain killers and anti-depressants, are extremely dangerous to drive on. Even over-the-counter medicines such as some hay fever medication can impair your driving.

When taking any medicine, always check the label to see if it will affect your ability to drive. If you are unsure, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Never drive if the label or a health professional says your driving might be affected or if you feel drowsy or slow.

If your medication can affect driving, stop driving, not your medication – make arrangements for alternative transport. Or if you need to continue driving, seek alternative medication. 

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. 

Department for Transport policy meeting, 9 January 2008

Cathy Keeler, Brake’s Head of Campaigns met Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP on 9 January 2008.

20mph limits and safety zones

The first issue discussed was the need for a default 20mph limit in built-up areas, with 20mph safety zones outside schools and in residential areas where children are likely to be out on foot and bicycles. These are key demands of Brake’s Watch Out, There’s A Kid About! campaign.

Cathy outlined the difficulties facing many communities struggling to get lower limits and other essential measures put in place to protect kids outside their schools and homes. Brake’s mascot, Zak the zebra, is working with some of these communities to highlight dangers on local roads and lobby for lower limits. Finding funding for safety measures such as 20mph limits and traffic-calming measures is a regular problem, but a few councils have also cited Government guidelines as a barrier to reducing limits in some locations where speeds are not already low.

Cathy pointed out that the Government does not monitor implementation of its guidelines on setting speed limits and there is no information collected centrally on how many 20mph limits and safety zones are in place. Similarly, there is no central information collected on whether local authorities have implemented Department for Transport (DfT) guidance on child road safety audits. These issues were highlighted by recent Department for Transport answers to Parliamentary Questions asked by MPs Mark Hunter and John Leech in October 2007 and January 2008. This means that the Government cannot analyse to what extent its guidance is being followed by local authorities or whether it is effectively improving safety.

Jim said that DfT had identified the gap in knowledge highlighted by the Parliamentary Questions and was at the early stages of planning research on the number of 20mph speed limits and safety zones in England and Wales. He invited Brake to contribute ideas for other local authority-led road safety measures that could be analysed as part of the same research and Cathy suggested: identifying how many schools have 20mph limits outside them; how many sites in England and Wales have variable 20mph limits (as have already been implemented outside the majority of schools in Scotland); and child road safety audits.

Young drivers

Cathy urged Jim to ensure that the long-promised consultation paper on the learning to drive process included the option of introducing a system of graduated driver licensing, with a minimum learning to drive period and restrictions on driving in particularly risky situations for novice drivers, as recommended by Parliament’s Transport Select Committee.

Jim said that DfT was open to all suggestions on this issue. It was still finalising the consultation paper and he hoped it would be published in February or March.

Reporting of at-work road crashes

Cathy raised concerns about under-reporting of at-work crashes, in particular when they involve cars or vans rather than commercial vehicles. Mike Fawcett, DfT’s head of road user safety policy said DfT was aware of the concern, but did not envisage changing the form used by police before the next scheduled review date. Cathy suggested further guidance for police officers using the forms could help improve the quality of data recorded.

Driver impairment

Mobile phones - Cathy flagged up research published by the University of Utah, showing that hands-free kits slow reaction and braking times. She urged Jim to review the evidence for banning hands-free mobile phones while driving.

Drink-driving - Cathy asked when the promised consultation on drink-driving would be published and whether it would be encouraging views on the current drink-drive limit. Jim responded that there was as yet no date for publication. He did not rule out the possibility of introducing a lower drink-drive limit, but said that DfT was of the view that the biggest potential road safety gains could come from improved enforcement of the limit.

Post-2010 strategy and targets

Cathy said Brake had been pleased to hear Jim stating in speeches that even one death on the road is one too many. She encouraged DfT to adopt an overarching ‘vision’ along these lines, similar to the Vision Zero approach adopted in Sweden. Jim said that DfT would be seeking the views of Brake and other stakeholders on developing a post-2010 road safety strategy and casualty reduction targets during 2008.

Dunfermline and West Fife MP wins national road safety award

13 January 2016 

news@brake.org.uk

 

Douglas Chapman, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, has been given the accolade of Parliamentarian of the Month for November, by the road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Group. The award recognises Douglas’ tireless road safety work in the community he represents, including campaigning for vital road crossing improvements in his constituency.

One of the community projects which Mr Chapman backed was to build a safe crossing to connect Hilton Garden City with Camdean. Residents were forced to cross a busy road, with many believing that this was far too dangerous. With the support of Mr Chapman, the council were able to ensure than planning permission was secured for a new footbridge.

Other successful projects that Douglas Chapman has been involved in include crossing improvements in Duloch and a campaign to improve access and safe crossing to Park Road primary school, to ensure that all children and families can get to and from their school safely. 

Mike Carr, Public affairs advisor, for Brake, said: “Douglas leads a dedicated campaigning team and he makes time to keep constituents fully informed. When it comes to preventing road related death and serious injury he has impressed Brake by leaving no stone unturned. His office support deserves a special mention – given the miles between his constituency and Westminster. I feel he has excelled during Road Safety Week in particular and the benefits will extend into the distant future”.

Accepting his award, Douglas Chapman, MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, said: "Road Safety Week in November was a great chance to promote the work of Brake and I am honoured to be recognised as their Parliamentarian of the Month.  My team here in West Fife have responded to constituent's road safety concerns and these issues have been taken up with our local council or the appropriate transport organisation to make our streets safer.

"The charity does crucial work to support families and individuals who have gone through the trauma of road death or serious injury but we should be constantly looking for ways to prevent road accidents rather than having to deal with the aftermath. I will continue working to improve road safety across the constituency and encourage constituents and communities to highlight any road safety concerns they may have so I can help."

[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.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or online.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.

Government funding renewed as demand for Brake’s support services for devastated road crash victims rises

Tuesday 15 July 2014

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

The Ministry of Justice has renewed its funding of Brake's support services for road crash victims until March 2016. The renewed funding recognises the vital importance of these services, which have experienced an increase in demand, particularly since reviewed police guidance in October spurred increased police referrals to Brake's helpline.

Brake provides UK-wide support to people bereaved and seriously injured by road crashes, with funding from the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, Scottish Government in Scotland, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and five corporate sponsors. Brake works closely with police forces and other practitioners, aiming to ensure support is available and proactively offered to all bereaved and seriously injured road crash victims.

Brake's services include a professionally-delivered helpline (0845 603 8572) and acclaimed support packs, both of which provide emotional comfort, information on wide-ranging practical matters and criminal justice system procedures, and signposting to further specialist support. The services have been developed and refined in consultation with experts and practitioners over many years to ensure they meet the acute and wide-ranging needs of those whose lives are turned upside down by road death or injury.

Funding from the Ministry of Justice's Victim and Witness General Fund allows Brake to continue providing its helpline service and support packs for bereaved victims of road crime in England and Wales. Additional support from long-running helpline sponsors Irwin Mitchell, Pannone, Lyons Davidson, Fentons, plus Digby Brown in Scotland, means the services can be offered indiscriminately to all bereaved and injured road crash victims, regardless of whether or not a crime has taken place.

Brake's packs have been provided to bereaved families automatically by police following all road deaths for more than a decade. Revised police guidance published in 2013 (Road policing APP 3.1) recommends police should make families aware of Brake's helpline. The revised guidance and the government's new Victims' Code, which says bereaved victims of road crime should be referred to specialist support, have spurred a 10% increase in helpline calls in the first half of 2014, up to almost 900 over the six month period. The helpline supports victims and practitioners working with them, relating to about 370 cases of road death and 85 cases of serious injury each year.

Practitioners can refer to Brake's helpline by: providing details to families and explaining what the helpline can offer; providing a victim's details to the helpline, with their permission, for the helpline to call them at a suitable time; and/or contacting the helpline directly for advice on helping a family. They can also refer to Brake's support literature online.

Brake also recently welcomed an extension of funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to support UK nationals bereaved by a road crash abroad through its helpline. This funding allows the continuation for a further six months of a service helping families cope with the doubly overwhelming impact of a sudden and violent bereavement in a foreign country, with the additional complications this entails.

Louise Macrae, support service manager, said: "Brake's support services are invaluable to people who have suffered the trauma of a sudden and violent road crash bereavement or serious injury. These events can leave people in an isolated, bewildering situation, for which specialist, professional support is an essential lifeline for dealing with both emotions and practicalities. Our support packs and helpline, delivered in partnership with police and other practitioners, provide critical, complementary emotional support and practical information and assistance, to an increasing number of families. Thanks to ongoing government funding and our sponsors, we can continue to work with police and other partners to offer these essential specialist services to any bereaved or seriously injured road crash victim in need of comfort, help and guidance."

Explore Brake's support services at www.brake.org.uk/support. Brake's helpline for bereaved and injured road crash victims can be reached on 0845 603 8570. Tweet us: @Brakecharity.

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.

Note to Editors (from the Ministry of Justice)
The Government's response to the consultation 'Getting it Right for Victims & Witnesses' acknowledged that more can be done to support victims of road traffic crime who meet the criteria for prioritisation but believed that support for victims of road traffic crime would best be commissioned locally.

In addition to the funding to Brake to support families bereaved by road traffic crime the MoJ intends to engage Police and Crime Commissioners to look at what more can be done to help support victims of road crime including what should / can be done at national level.

New figures show "major inconsistencies" in drug driving arrests

News from Brake
Thursday 27 July, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat has today released data on drug driving arrests since new drug driving laws came into effect in March 2015. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has said the wide regional variation in arrests point towards a "worrying" pattern of enforcement across England and Wales. Commenting on today's new figures, Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Driving under the influence of drugs is dangerous and totally irresponsible. The law in England and Wales, which campaigners including Brake helped bring about, has gone a long way to help tackle the problem but more needs to be done.

"The Government must make traffic policing a greater national priority, giving the police more resources to deal with drug driving throughout the year. More approved testing devices are also desperately needed; just two of the drugs listed as illegal under the law - cannabis and cocaine - can be tested for at the roadside. An approved kit to detect ecstasy/MDMA should be made a priority.

"Brake welcomes plans by the Scottish Government for new drug driving laws in 2019 and we urge Northern Ireland to follow suit as soon as possible. Those who drive in the UK under the influence of drugs have to get the message that they will be caught and face tough penalties."

[ENDS]

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.

New lower drink-drive limit in Scotland, welcomed by charity as a useful stepping stone to zero tolerance limit

Thursday 4 December 2014

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

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed the new lower drink drive limit in Scotland which comes into force on Friday (5 December). 

It’s estimated that Police Scotland stop over 80,000 vehicles each month, with around 20,000 offences detected every month.

The Scottish Government has introduced a lower limit of50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, coming into force on midnight, 5 December.It’s begun amulti-media campaign to raise awareness of the new law. The rest of the UK retains a 80mg limit – higher than all other EU countries except Malta.

Latest available UK figures, from 2012, show that 230 people were killed (one in eight road deaths) and 1,210 were seriously injured in crashes involving someone over the limit [1].It’s estimated a further 65 deaths are caused annually by drivers who have been drinking but are under the limit [2]. Drug driving is estimated to cause 200 deaths each year [3].

Brake is renewing calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, in line with evidence that even one drink dramatically increases crash risk [4], and to send a clear message it should be none for the road. A blood alcohol level of 20-50mg increases your likelihood of crashing three-fold [5].

Read about Brake’snot a drop, not a drag campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink and drug driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it. Drink and drug driving deaths and injuries are cruel and needless, ending and ruining lives and leaving traumatised families to pick up the pieces. If you’re driving home from celebrations this festive season, it’s vital you take your responsibility for people’s safety seriously, and stay completely off booze and drugs. It’s a fact that even small amounts of alcohol or drugs increase your risk of crashing.

We welcome the new lower limit in Scotland as a positive stepping stone towards zero tolerance.We are calling on the UK government to take action on drink driving. We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, sending out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable. The evidence shows that a tough approach helps prevent casualties.

The Scottish Government’s cabinet secretary for justice, Kenny MacAskill, said: “With the approval of Parliament, the new drink drive limit will come into force on December 5, making our roads safer and saving lives. We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone is informed about the new lower level.

“A persistent minority of people are still getting behind the wheel after drinking - the best approach is to have nothing at all, alcohol at any level impairs driving.

“This new law will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and hopefully reduce drink drive arrests and prosecutions, as we have already seen in the Republic of Ireland, where drivers adjusted their behaviour to take account of the lower limit.”

Facts
One in eight deaths on UK roads are caused by drink drivers over the current legal limit of 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood [6]. 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 [7]. This is because even very small amounts of alcohol affect drivers' reaction times, judgment and co-ordination [8]. 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].

Westminster rejected recommendations for a lower limit in the North Report into drink and drug driving and Transport Select Committee inquiry into the issue. We now have the highest drink drive limit in Europe, alongside Malta. Evidence is clear that lowering drink drive limits results in fewer casualties [10], even reducing ‘high-level’ drink driving [11].

Read more at www.brake.org.uk/facts.

Advice
Brake calls on drivers to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol – not a drop – and appeals to everyone to look out for friends and family by speaking out against drink driving.

There are plenty of alternatives to driving if you want to have a drink. Plan ahead for how you will get home by walking (if there's a safe route), taking public transport or booking a taxi. If you need to drive then decide on a designated driver who doesn't drink any alcohol at all, and make sure they stick to this.

Driving after drinking alcohol significantly increases your risk of crashing, potentially killing or injuring yourself, you passengers or someone else. Even if you feel sober after one drink, your reaction times will have slowed and your crash risk increased [12].

Don't drink if you are driving early the next morning. There's no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking, but it's longer than many people think. As a rough guide you should allow one hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for each unit consumed – but it could take longer, so you should always leave extra time to be safe. If you have to drive the next morning, limit yourself to no more than one or two drinks. If you have a lot to drink, you may be impaired for all of the following day.

Brake is calling on members of the public to play their part in making roads safer by signing Brake's Pledge at www.brake.org.uk/pledge, to make a personal commitment to use roads safely and sustainably, and help reduce the lives lost needlessly on our roads.

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] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[2] Reducing the BAC limit to 50mg – what can we expect to gain?, Professor Richard E Allsop, Centre for Transport Studies University College London (PACTS, 2005)
[3] Report of the review of drink and drug driving, Sir Peter North CBE QC, 2010
[4] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011
[5] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[6] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[7] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[8] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011
[9] National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2010. Review of effectiveness of laws limiting blood alcohol concentration levels to reduce alcohol-related road injuries and deaths, London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
[10] Research by Sheffield University, which examined casualty trends in England and Wales against the success of lowering the limit in other European Countries and Australia, estimated that lowering the limit to 50mg would save in the region of 77-168 deaths each year in England and Wales alone. (R Rafia, A Brennan, Modelling methods to estimate the potential impact of lowering the blood alcohol concentration limit from 80 mg/100 ml to 50 mg/100 ml in England and Wales, Report to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), University of Sheffield, 2010). Brake believes lowering the limit to 20mg is likely prevent even more deaths, given evidence showing the detrimental effects on driving of 20-50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. 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)
[11] Brooks C, Zaal D, Effects of a reduced alcohol limit for driving, Australia: Federal Office of Road Safety , 1993
[12] The relationship between serious injury and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in fatal motor vehicle accidents: BAC = 0.01% is associated with significantly more dangerous accidents than BAC = 0.00%, University of California at San Diego, 2011

Scottish Highlands and Islands MSP wins fifth road safety award

News from Brake
Monday 24 July, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

David Stewart, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has been given his second Scottish Road Safety Parliamentarian Award by the charity Brake and Digby Brown Solicitors. Previously he secured three other awards by the charity in partnership with Direct Line Insurance.

The award is part of a series which recognises the contribution of MSPs to improve road safety in their constituencies and across Scotland.

This year, the Highlands and Island MSP has championed the establishment of a Road Collision Investigation Branch, supporting calls from Brake, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety and others. Such a branch would help bring together the efforts of researchers, police, Crown office officials, local authorities and others to better learn the lessons from serious road crashes across the UK.

Mr Stewart has also, through the North of Scotland Driver Awareness Team which he founded in 2010, produced a series of powerful radio advertisements for its SMART campaign, Silent Mobiles Avoid Risk and Temptation.

The Highlands and Islands MSP is working on 'Pass Safely' - a campaign designed to educate drivers about the need to give space when overtaking cyclists - as well as publicity about the dangers on single track, rural roads. Mr Stewart is also supporting Brake's Road Safety Week, taking place between 20 and 26 November, which will this year focus on the issue of speeding.

Brake spokesman, Jason Wakeford, said: "David and his team deserve full recognition for their continued hard work to help improve road safety across the region. David's work has helped raise awareness of vital road safety issues, including the risks of using mobiles at the wheel, inadequate drug driving laws and the need for a Road Collision Investigation Branch. We are delighted to be giving an impressive fifth award to such a dedicated and passionate road safety campaigner."

Accepting his award, David Stewart MSP, said “I am delighted for all those involved in road safety related issues with me and in particular those working with me at the North of Scotland Driver Awareness Team. For the last seven years all we have strived to do is make a positive difference to road safety across the Highlands Islands and Moray. I would like to think we have done that, but we will not be complacent and will work with others to make our roads even 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 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.

Digby Brown Solicitors

Digby Brown Solicitors are Scotland’s largest personal injury practices with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkcaldy and Aberdeen. The firm have worked closely with Brake for a number of years, supporting their campaigns on road safety issues and sponsoring the Brake helpline in Scotland. Digby Brown won the Community Contribution Award at both the 2015 and 2014 Scottish Legal Awards in recognition of its work with a Brake and a range of charities throughout Scotland.

Sober enough to read this?

Charity appeals to drivers: not a drop, not a drag this festive season, as police crackdown starts

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on drivers to stay sober if driving over the Christmas period – not a drop, not a drag – or plan to get home by taxi or public transport, to prevent devastating casualties.

Brake is renewing calls for a zero tolerance drink drive limit of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, in line with evidence that even one drink dramatically increases crash risk and to send a clear message it should be none for the road. A blood alcohol level of 20-50mg increases your likelihood of crashing three-fold. The call comes on the back of a recent survey by Brake and Direct Line which showed that more than three-quarters of drivers thought the current drink-drive limit too high.

The Scottish Government introduced a lower limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, on 5th December 2014. The rest of the UK still retains a 80mg limit – higher than all other EU countries except Malta. Road Safety Scotland launched their drink-drive campaign this month.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “As a charity that supports bereaved and injured road crash victims, we witness the suffering that drink and drug driving inflict, and appeal to everyone to help put a stop to it. We support the message put out by the Scottish Government and think it applies to the whole of the UK. If you’re driving home from celebrations this festive season, it’s vital you take your responsibility for people’s safety seriously, and stay completely off booze and drugs. It’s a fact that even small amounts of alcohol or drugs increase your risk of crashing.

“We are calling on the Westminster government to take action on drink driving. We have the highest drink-drive limit in Europe, sending out the dreadful message that a drink or two before driving is acceptable. We welcome the lower limit in Scotland as a positive stepping stone towards zero tolerance. The evidence shows that a tough approach helps prevent casualties.”

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins from Police Scotland said: “Between December last year and January 2016, 452 drivers failed a breath test. It’s really disappointing that so many people were prepared to cause danger to others as well as themselves. “We are urging people to plan ahead during the party season. Think about how you’re going to get home - before you head out – and don’t forget about the journeys you’ll make the morning after. “The consequences of drink driving can be devastating and we will be particularly vigilant during the festive period to discourage anyone thinking about drinking and driving, so the best advice if you are planning to drink this Christmas is don’t risk it, don’t drink and drive.”

Notes to editors

Facts

  • In 2014, 240 people in Great Britain were killed in crashes where at least one driver was over the drink-drive limit, largely unchanged since 2011;
  • Fatalities involving at least one driver over the alcohol limit accounted for 13% of road deaths in 2014;
  • Serious injuries where at least one driver was over the limit dropped by 3% cent between 2013 and 2014, the third consecutive annual decrease;
  • 70% of drink-drive fatalities in 2014 were men, showing a worrying trend developing;
  • A quarter of all drink-drive deaths in 2014 resulted from crashes where the driver over the limit was 25-39;[1]
  • Between 2010 and 2013 for every four deaths in collisions involving a drink-drive offence, one more death happened in a collision at a lower blood alcohol level;
  • It is estimated that lowering the drink-drive limit in 2010 could have saved 25 lives and prevented 95 serious injuries between 2010 and 2013.[2]

Drink driving is still one of the biggest killers on our roads. In 2014, it is estimated that 13% of all road deaths in Great Britain resulted from crashes where the at least one driver was over the alcohol limit [3]. A further estimated 25 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the drink-drive limit, but who have significant amounts of alcohol in their blood [4].

The number of deaths involving a driver under the influence of alcohol was 240 in 2014. That figure has been consistently been reported since 2010 and this trend looks set to continue if the provisional estimate for the 2015 figures proves to be accurate (200-290 killed).[5]

These deaths, and the many more serious injuries, can be stopped if all drivers pledge to not drink any alcohol – not a drop – before driving. They can also be stopped by improving government policies. Evidence from around the world shows that taking steps such as lowering drink drive limits and stepping up police enforcement checks are highly effective in cutting drink-drive casualties.

Westminster rejected recommendations for a lower limit in the North Report into drink and drug driving and Transport Select Committee inquiry into the issue. We now have the highest drink drive limit in Europe, alongside Malta.

This month, the transport secretary, Chris Grayling caused outrage among campaigners and road safety groups when he said he would not consider lowering the drink-drive limit: “we ought not to penalise drivers for having one glass of wine”, he told the Daily Mail.

Latest Brake and Direct Line survey http://www.brake.org.uk/media-centre/1664-brake-survey-indicates-a-growing-public-demand-for-the-government-to-reduce-the-drink-drive-limit 

Read more at www.brake.org.uk/facts.

Advice

Brake calls on drivers to never drive after drinking any amount of alcohol – not a drop – and appeals to everyone to look out for friends and family by speaking out against drink driving.

There are plenty of alternatives to driving if you want to have a drink. Plan ahead for how you will get home by walking (if there's a safe route), taking public transport or booking a taxi. If you need to drive then decide on a designated driver who doesn't drink any alcohol at all, and make sure they stick to this.

Driving after drinking alcohol significantly increases your risk of crashing, potentially killing or injuring yourself, you passengers or someone else. Even if you feel sober after one drink, your reaction times will have slowed and your crash risk increased.

Don't drink if you are driving early the next morning. There's no way of knowing exactly how long it takes to sober up completely after drinking, but it's longer than many people think. As a rough guide you should allow one hour to absorb alcohol, plus at least one hour for each unit consumed – but it could take longer, so you should always leave extra time to be safe. If you have to drive the next morning, limit yourself to no more than one or two drinks. If you have a lot to drink, you may be impaired for all of the following day.

Brake is calling on members of the public to play their part in making roads safer by signing Brake’s Pledge at www.brake.org.uk/pledge, to make a personal commitment to use roads safely and sustainably, and help reduce the lives lost needlessly on our roads.

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 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.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995. It works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook or 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.

[1] DfT,Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

[2] Prof. R. Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015

[3] DfT,Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

[4] Prof. R. Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015

[5] DfT, Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016

 

Stirling MSP wins award for efforts to improve community road safety

Tuesday 21 July 2015

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

Bruce Crawford, MSP for Stirling, has been given the first ever Scottish Road Safety Parliamentarian Award by the charity Brake and Digby Brown Solicitors. The award is the first in a series that will recognise the contribution of MSPs to improving road safety in their constituencies and across Scotland. Bruce Crawford’s award recognises his work to introduce a20mph speed limit in the Stirling suburb of Cornton.

The Stirling MSP took the initiative by writing to 472 households in Cornton to gauge support for a permanent, area wide 20mph speed limit. More than a quarter of the residents he contacted responded, with 98% of them in favour of the move. In response, Stirling Council is now drawing up draft plans to introduce the 20mph limit, which it expects to implement within the current financial year.

20mph speed limits are becoming more and more widely recognised as one of the best ways to protect people on foot and bike, helping adults and children to walk and cycle in their communities, for their health and enjoyment, and for cheap and sustainable travel, without being put in danger. Brake campaigns for 20mph to be the norm across all towns, cities and villages through its GO 20 campaign.Find out more.

The response from Cornton is another demonstration of the immense support and demand for more widespread 20mph limits in communities, across Scotland and the UK.A survey by Brake in April 2014 found eight in 10 people (78%) in the UK think 20mph should be the norm around schools, on residential streets, and in village, town and city centres [1]. An estimated 14 million people in the UK now live in areas that have, or are in the process of implementing, 20mph limits [2].

Bruce Crawford’s work on 20mph limits in Stirling, and the positive community response, show it’s not just big iconic cities like Edinburgh where people want toGO 20. 20mph limits are in demand across Scotland, in communities large and small. That’s why Brake calls on the Scottish Government to lower the default urban speed limit to 20mph across the nation, as it also calls on Westminster to do across the UK.

The Stirling MSP has also been active on road safety issues in other areas of his constituency in the past, includingcampaigning alongside the community in Doune to stop the speed limit on the A84 being increased in 2013, andworking with Callander Primary School to improve safety for children in the area.

Brake is part of theGO 20 coalition campaign for a 20mph default urban speed limit, to cut road casualties and empower more people to walk and cycle in safety. Tweet us:@Brakecharity, #GO20

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer, Brake, the road safety charity, said: “MSPs have a hugely important role to play in making roads safer for their constituent, in their communities, and across Scotland. That’s why we’re delighted to start recognising MSPs for the work they do to champion and improve road safety, and encourage more of them to help make Scotland a trailblazer in UK road safety.

“Bruce Crawford is a worthy first winner of this award, by recognising the demand for 20mph speed limits to make streets safer in his constituency and helping to make them a reality. More and more, people are realising that 30mph isn’t fit for purpose in our communities: lower speeds are essential to free people from the fear and threat of fast traffic that often stops them exercising their right to healthy, cheap and sustainable travel. Hopefully, the Cornton scheme will be just the start, and we will see more 20mph limits rolled out across Stirling in the not too distant future.”

Accepting his award, Bruce Crawford, MSP for Stirling, said:“I am delighted to receive a Scottish Road Safety Parliamentarian Award for the work I have undertaken in my constituency in trying to improve community road safety.

“Road safety is something that I have spent much of my time as an MSP championing, working with communities across the Stirling constituency. I have been involved in campaigns in rural areas such as Balquhidder, Buchlyvie, Callander, Doune, Killin and Strathyre, calling for an improvement in road safety with speed reduction, better signage and zebra crossings.  

“When I surveyed my constituents in Cornton 98% of those who responded were in favour of introducing a 20mph limit around the school, something which Stirling Council could not ignore.

“It is fabulous to receive this award, however the credit should go to the active members of the respective communities who have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of road safety issues. I will continue to do all I can to work with my constituents to make our roads safer.”

Fraser Simpson, partner at Digby Brown Solicitors, added: “As personal injury lawyers, we see first-hand the devastating effect road traffic crashes have on victims and their families. All of us who use the roads can help make them safer and this type of leadership on local road safety issues makes an important contribution to achieving that."

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.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, orThe Brake Blog. 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.

Digby Brown Solicitors

Digby Brown Solicitors are Scotland’s largest personal injury practices with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkcaldy and Aberdeen. The firm have worked closely with Brake for a number of years, supporting their campaigns on road safety issues and sponsoring the Brake helpline in Scotland. Digby Brown won the Community Contribution Award at both the 2015 and 2014 Scottish Legal Awards in recognition of its work with a Brake and a range of charities throughout Scotland.

End notes

[1]Eight in 10 back 20mph limits as charity takes campaign to parliament, Brake, 2 April 2014

[2]http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/