Brake Road Safety Week

Brake launches national Road Safety Week

Brake’s annual Road Safety Week is now underway, with this year’s theme being ‘Step Up for Safe Streets’.

To coincide with the event, which runs from November 18th to 24th 2019, the charity has published research showing that one in three adults has experienced a collision or near-miss with a vehicle on a UK road in the past year.

Shocking casualty figures

In addition, there is a death or serious injury on a British road every 20 minutes, which Brake says contributes to the highways feeling less safe and puts people off walking or cycling.

To combat this, Brake is running a programme of events for businesses, community groups and schoolchildren that aims to help them adopt solutions to lower the number of casualties on the roads.

These include 20mph speed limits in urban areas, in-built vehicle technology to prevent speeding and segregated cycle lanes.

Everyone in the country is being encouraged to consider how they might make the roads safer places to be, with this year’s sponsors being Specsavers and Kwik Fit.

Director of campaigns for Brake Joshua Harris said: “These findings paint an alarming picture of the danger on our roads. We shouldn’t have to accept this level of risk as part of our daily lives and so we are calling on everyone to ‘Step Up’ for Road Safety Week.”

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “This is an excellent event that has been running since 1997 and always puts forward a welcome and timely message. We would also encourage all road users to ‘Step Up’ so no one has to feel under threat on our roads.”

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Driving in the dark

Drivers may be risking safety on dark journeys

With the clocks having gone back, many people will now be making more of their car journeys in the dark.

However, new research shows some may be risking their own safety and that of other road users as they take these trips.

 

Driving when tired

According to a poll of 2,055 motorists by motorway services firm Roadchef, 32 per cent admitted to regularly getting behind the wheel in the dark while tired.

Furthermore, 42 per cent said they don’t always stop for a break on longer night-time journeys, with 51 per cent instead relying on rolling the windows down to keep them alert and 45 per cent resorting to loud music.

Spokesperson for road safety charity Brake Samuel Nahk said: “As the nights get longer, it is vital that drivers are fully aware of the dangers of driving in the dark, and that driving tired can be fatal.”

The RAC warns that reduced light in the autumn and winter can increase melatonin levels in human beings, resulting in more tiredness than usual. It recommends always stopping for a break should drowsiness occur and perhaps taking an advanced driving course to gain more experience of driving in the dark.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Evening and night-time trips may be unavoidable if you’re driving for business, but it’s essential to keep safety at the top of the agenda. If you feel tired, always stop to recharge your batteries. It’s as simple as that.”

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Drink Driving

GEM responds to increase in drink-drive fatalities

New figures published by the Department for Transport have highlighted an increase in the number of people killed on the UK’s roads as a result of drink-driving.

Responding to the data, GEM Motoring Assist believes more now needs to be done to tackle this blight on society.

GEM calls for change

Overall, the latest government data estimates a total of 250 people lost their lives last year in incidents where one driver was over the legal alcohol limit. This represents a nine per cent increase from 2016.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “It is very disturbing that there has been an increase in the number of people killed in drink-drive collisions.

“We know that to detect and deter drink-drivers – as with all high-risk offenders – there needs to be adequate enforcement. But roads policing officer numbers have reduced considerably.”

As such, GEM is calling for a reduction in the legal limit from 80 to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, as well as reinvigorating campaigns to highlight the dangers of alcohol and investing in more officers to patrol and police the problem up and down the country.

It is hoped that by taking a much tougher and direct stance on drink-driving, future years will see a welcome decrease in deaths.

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Drinking and driving is never something to be proud of. Motorists who get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol run the risk of killing themselves or others.”

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Longman Junction Improvement scheme

£1m groundwork contract awarded for Longman Junction Improvement scheme

Transport Scotland has awarded a new £1 million contract to support groundworks for the delivery of enhancements to the A9/A82 Longman Junction.

Work at the site will begin in October and is expected to last for approximately eight weeks.

Another step in the right direction

Soil Engineering Geoservices has been awarded the contract and will be carrying out in-depth ground investigations as part of the latest phase of the project.

Cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson said: “Having let the public see and comment on the preferred option for the scheme in June, we are continuing to push forward with the design of the preferred option in greater detail, with a view to publishing draft orders next year.

“These ground investigations will provide the detailed information needed to help inform the ongoing development and assessment of the preferred option.”

A representative for Transport Scotland added that road users and members of the local community will be kept fully informed about the progress of this project.

All traffic management will also be fully monitored and engineers will endeavour to keep levels of disruption to a minimum.

Ellie Baker, brand manager at FCS Scotland, adds: “It may cause a little disruption in the weeks and months to come, but the results of this ambitious scheme will mean travellers and the local community around the junction will benefit greatly in the years ahead.”