UK

Opinion : Brexit can seriously damage your health

Opinion : Brexit can seriously damage your health

By David Ward, Executive President of the Towards Zero Foundation, an ETSC member Brexit is not just damaging the British economy; it can now seriously damage your health too. From July 6th proven life-saving technologies such as autonomous emergency braking and intelligent speed assistance will be a mandatory fitment for new model passenger cars and commercial vehicles across the EU. The General Safety Regulation (GSR) will be phased in over a number of years and eventually apply to all new vehicles on European roads. […]

UK government advised to introduce mandatory helmets and a minimum age of 16 for e-scooters

UK government advised to introduce mandatory helmets and a minimum age of 16 for e-scooters

ETSC’s member PACTS has set out its recommendations for private e-scooter use in case of legalisation by the UK government, following a nine-month research project involving hospitals, police, NGOs and industry representatives. Rented e-scooters are currently legal in many UK cities, but private use is prohibited despite up to a million of the vehicles having been imported to the UK in recent years.  E-scooters are legal to buy – but their use is limited, in theory, to private land.  In practice most users are […]

UK law commissions say manufacturers should be responsible for self-driving car crashes

UK law commissions say manufacturers should be responsible for self-driving car crashes

A new report from the UK’s independent law commissions recommends introducing a new Automated Vehicles Act, to regulate vehicles that can drive themselves. It also recommends drawing a clear distinction between features which just assist drivers, such as Tesla’s Autopilot, and those that are fully self-driving. Under the law commissions’ proposals, when a car is authorised by a regulatory agency as having “self-driving features” and those features are in-use, the person in the driving seat would no longer be responsible for how the car […]

UK puts vulnerable road users first in new highway code

UK puts vulnerable road users first in new highway code

The introduction section of the UK Highway Code has been updated to include new rules concerning a revised ‘hierarchy of road users’. The hierarchy places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy, but “it does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly”. The approach is similar to the inverse pyramid of road safety priority ETSC has promoted for urban mobility for many years, which puts pedestrians and cyclists at the top, […]

UK government may launch a road collision investigation authority

UK government may launch a road collision investigation authority

A new “investigation branch” dedicated to learning lessons from road traffic collisions, including those involving self-driving vehicles, could be established under plans unveiled by the UK government last month. The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on proposals to set up a Road Collision Investigation Branch (RCIB), which would operate much like the similar independent bodies that already exist for air, maritime and rail collisions. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in the UK has been operating since 1915, while the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) and Rail […]

UK weakens HGV driver testing requirements

UK weakens HGV driver testing requirements

The UK government has announced changes to HGV driving tests that have been criticised by the national haulage industry association as a ‘risk to road safety’. The move is an attempt to speed-up recruitment of new lorry drivers in response to an ongoing shortage across Europe, but one that has been compounded in the UK because of Brexit. Under the new plans, drivers will no longer have to pass two separate tests to move from a non-articulated to an articulated lorry.  The requirement for […]

Paris moves to 30 km/h across the city, as Brussels hails safety gains

Paris moves to 30 km/h across the city, as Brussels hails safety gains

The French capital has introduced Europe’s largest 30 km/h zone, covering the entire city for the first time with the exception of several main roads, such as the Champs Elysée and the main ring road. 30 km/h limits already covered two thirds of the city, but the zone has now been extended in a further bid to reduce collisions, noise and pollution.  The southern city of Montpellier also introduced a city-wide 30 km/h limit on 1 August. The changes in France came as officials […]

UK will allow automated driving on motorways this year

UK will allow automated driving on motorways this year

The UK is set to be the first European country to permit vehicles to be operated using a form of automated driving made possible by so-called automated lane keeping systems (ALKS), following an agreement on the specifications for ALKS at the UNECE in Geneva last summer. ALKS systems can be operated at up to 60 km/h on separated highways where pedestrians and cyclists are prohibited (e.g. motorways).  The systems have been designed as a comfort feature for driving in heavy traffic where vehicles are […]

How will the future UK-EU relationship impact road safety?

How will the future UK-EU relationship impact road safety?

The transition period is over and a deal has been done.  What will the implications be for road safety regulation and cooperation now that the UK has left the EU and a new trade deal has been signed? The biggest changes are where no agreement was reached and/or EU rules no longer apply to the UK. The EU legislation on cross-border enforcement of traffic offences no longer applies, meaning the UK is not able to easily follow-up on traffic penalties such as speeding tickets […]

Belgian-UK study: positive messages encourage safer driver behaviour more than fear tactics

Belgian-UK study: positive messages encourage safer driver behaviour more than fear tactics

A new study has shown that films demonstrating responsible behaviour could lead to young drivers taking fewer risks on the road than if they only saw videos aimed at provoking fear of accidents. Over one million people are killed in road accidents each year and drivers below the age of 25 account for nearly half of road deaths. Dr Yaniv Hanoch, Associate Professor of Risk Management at the University of Southampton, said: “Governments around the world have adopted a plethora of interventions aimed at […]

Drink-driving enforcement in the UK cut by almost two-thirds since 2009

Drink-driving enforcement in the UK cut by almost two-thirds since 2009

The UK’s system of preventing drink-driving is no longer adequate, according to a report by ETSC’s member the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), which calls for a comprehensive review. The report, which combines data analysis with in-depth interviews with drink-drivers, found:  Drink driving is still one of the biggest causes of road deaths; In the last decade 240 people have been killed each year where a driver was over the limit; Nearly one in five (17%) drink-drive offences is committed by a […]

UK government will only buy five star Euro NCAP-rated cars

UK government will only buy five star Euro NCAP-rated cars

New mandatory public procurement guidelines issued by the UK government require central government departments and their related organisations to purchase vehicles with a minimum of a valid five star Euro NCAP safety rating. The welcome move is the first European national government-wide procurement policy that ETSC is aware of that requires the five star rating.  A 2017 ETSC report on work-related road safety highlighted the examples of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency and the Swedish Transport Administration who both set the five-star standard for […]

New report looks at deadliest vehicle types

New report looks at deadliest vehicle types

Most people who die on the roads are much more likely to be killed in a car, or by a car, than any other mode. By contrast, pedestrians and cyclists are rarely involved in collisions that result in the death of other road users. These are the conclusions of a new report from ETSC’s UK member PACTS. Per mile travelled, vans and light goods vehicles are involved in more deaths of other road users than any other vehicle type, more even than HGVs. Motorcycles […]

Insurers warn over risks of hands-off automated driving on UK roads

Insurers warn over risks of hands-off automated driving on UK roads

Thatcham Research and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) are urging the UK government to revise its plans to introduce Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) onto UK roads in early 2021 because “it will put road users’ lives at risk”. The organisations say the government should undertake further work to ensure road safety is fully considered before introducing Automated Lane Keeping Systems. The concerns are raised as both the functionality of ALKS technology and the regulations under which they will operate will mean that […]

UK to close loophole and prevent all handheld phone use while driving

UK to close loophole and prevent all handheld phone use while driving

The UK government will change the law next year to ensure all handheld use of a mobile phone while driving is banned.  Under current law, making phone calls and sending text messages while holding a phone are prohibited, but many of the other functions carried out on modern smartphones are not.  The new legal change, expected next year, will close the loophole, but will still allow hands-free use of phones.   Research has shown that hands-free use of phones can be as distracting as using […]

New ITF report on urban road safety best practice

New ITF report on urban road safety best practice

A new report from the OECD’s International Transport Forum (ITF) presents seven case studies of cities that are implementing data-driven road safety policies. It highlights relevant experiences aimed at reducing the number of traffic casualties and protecting vulnerable road users in cities. The case studies from Barcelona, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Fortaleza, London, New York and Rotterdam illustrate the diverse approaches to better understand road crashes and to prevent road traffic deaths and serious injuries. https://www.itf-oecd.org/best-practice-urban-road-safety

Scotland consults on 2030 road safety strategy

Scotland consults on 2030 road safety strategy

The Scottish government is consulting on a new road safety strategy for 2030 to achieve the target of cutting  road deaths by 50% by 2030 in line with UN and EU targets.  The Scottish government says a “step change in road safety delivery” will be needed, and has published a draft framework for consultation. The UK government currently does not have an overall road safety target, although the nations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have set targets, along with cities including London and […]

UK position on driving hours and digital tachographs criticised

UK position on driving hours and digital tachographs criticised

The EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has criticised the UK government for refusing to accept EU rules on working time and digital tachographs for UK lorries driving in EU Member States.   He was speaking following the latest Brexit negotiations round earlier this month.  Mr Barnier said allowing UK drivers to follow different rules would undermine the single market and be unfair to EU Member States.  He underlined that the rules were important for road safety.

UK and Netherlands go in different directions on e-scooters

UK and Netherlands go in different directions on e-scooters

Two European countries that have so far prohibited e-scooters are taking very different approaches to permitting their use. Earlier this summer, the UK government cut short a public consultation on e-scooters and brought forward trials of rental schemes as part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic and worries over increased car use and reduced use of public transport.  The privately operated rental schemes in the UK trial mirror those set up in a number of countries in recent years.   ETSC’s UK member PACTS […]

UK launches major cycling policy shift with £2bn investment

UK launches major cycling policy shift with £2bn investment

Thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for everyone and bikes available on prescription will be rolled out under new plans to overhaul cycling and walking in England launched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July. The new plan aims to build on the significant increase in the number of people cycling during the pandemic. It sets out a long term vision to increase active travel and “embed the benefits of walking and cycling into how we live, work and get […]

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