January 2014 Newsletter


One in five drivers is over 65

DVLA has released the figures on driving licence data in December 2013. There are more than seven million drivers over the age of 65 on the UK’s roads.

The number of drivers over 65 reached 7,191,192 in November 2013. This makes up for 19 per cent of all drivers with full driving licences. This number in November 2012 was 15,603,794 representing 41.5% of all drivers with full driving licences. The decrease in the number of drivers over 65 was very high (almost 8.5 million drivers). The figures also show that 195 drivers are 100 years old or over, 33 more than in 2012.

Thirteen per cent of drivers aged 65 or over have points on their licence. The age group most likely to have points on their licence is 42 year-olds (10%). Young drivers contribute with 8%.

In 2013, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen were the ones with the highest percentage of drivers with full driving licences (20.5%, 16.2% and 10.7% respectively) in Scotland.

To access the datasets, please go to Driving Licence data webpage.

Time for older drivers to retire from driving

Many people reduce their driving voluntarily as their abilities decline. But at some point, the elderly might become unsafe to themselves and other motorists.

Some of the signs that it might be time to retire from driving are:

  • Slow response times.
  • Inability to fully turn to check blind spots.
  • Running stop signs.
  • Motorists honking at them frequently.
  • A hesitation or reluctance to drive.
  • Cognitive dysfunction, such as getting lost or calling for help.
  • Repeat fender benders, dings, or paint scrapes on the car.

Half of men are nodding off at wheel

According to a survey by Brake and insurance company Direct Line, Nearly half of male drivers have admitted nodding off at the wheel, meaning they have been asleep briefly, risking appalling crashes.

Brake warns that tiredness kills 300 people on UK roads every year.

The survey shows that:

  • One in three drivers overall (31%) admit ‘head-nodding’ at the wheel – nearly half (45%) of male drivers and one in five (22%) female drivers.
  • One in 14 drivers overall (7%) admit actually ‘falling asleep’ at the wheel – 14% of male drivers and 2% of female drivers.
  • Almost half (49%) of drivers admit driving after less than five hours’ sleep – not nearly enough for safe driving. Again, this is more common among men (55%) than women (45%).

Read the survey report here.

End to foreign language driving tests

At the current licensing system, the new drivers can choose the theory tests (cars and motorcycles) in up to 19 different languages. They can also request interpreters on both, theory and practical tests.

However, in the current system the potential road safety implications, cost of translations and risk of fraud are high, being these the main reasons that led The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to carry out a consultation on a series of proposals reviewing the level of foreign language support available to candidates in 2013.

By ensuring the candidates will be tested in English or Welsh will help ensure that all drivers have the right skills to use UK roads in a safe and responsible way. All new drivers, from 7th April 2014 will be able to understand traffic updates or emergency information when they pass their test.

In addition, the risk of fraud will be reduced by stopping interpreters from indicating the correct answers to theory test questions and there will be savings as there will be no need to hire interpreters/translators.

Candidates with dyslexia or other reading difficulties will still be able to take their theory test with an English or Welsh language voiceover.

Candidates who are deaf or have hearing difficulties will still be able to:

  • take their theory test in British sign language (BSL)
  • take a BSL interpreter with them on their practical test

For more information click here.

To read the full consultation click here.


Edinburgh to have 20 mph speed limit

EDINBURGH is to become the first city in Scotland to impose a 20 mph speed limit across its streets. Edinburgh Council is considering a 20mph network for the city centre, main shopping streets and residential areas, as part of its new Local Transport Strategy 2014-2019.

The limit is to be rolled out by April 2017 on all residential streets, main shopping areas, city centre streets, and roads with high levels of pedestrian and cyclist activity.

The plan follows a successful pilot in the Marchmont, Grange and Prestonfield areas of the city last year.

The main argument of those who are in favour of the new limit is that it will reduce the number of accidents. However, groups who are against argue that there will be an increase on pollution, costs and there is no evidence that lowering the current limits will reduce the number of accidents.

Driving in flood water

According to a joint Environment Agency and AA survey, more than half (54%) of UK drivers would endanger themselves and their vehicles by driving through moving flood water.

The research of 21,165 AA members, carried out by Populus, also revealed that more than a quarter (27%) of respondents would drive through moving flood water deeper than 30cm, which is enough to move a car.

The Environment Agency and the AA strongly advise not entering flood water that is moving or more than 10cm deep.
The survey found that:

more than two-fifths (42%) of drivers would blindly follow the vehicle in front if it had crossed a flooded road successfully;

the equivalent of 680,000 drivers would ignore a ‘road closed’ warning sign and drive down a flooded road rather than take a short detour – this is dangerous, an offence and insurers could reject any flood damage claim;

people aged between 55 and 64 are most likely to risk driving through the deepest flowing flood water (up to 34cm);

men would attempt to drive through deeper water (up to 34cm) than women (up to 27cm); and

Read more about the research at AA website.

THINK! Road Safety Survey 2013

THINK! July 2013 Annual Survey carried out with people 16+ in July 2013 covered among others:

  • General attitudes towards road safety, and its perceived importance in relation to other social issues;
  • Attitudes towards driving, and influences on driving behaviour;
  • Driving and road safety behaviour among different users, including the prevalence of dangerous driving behaviour.

The results show that drink driving was regarded as being the most important issue to address in terms of road safety followed by speeding (38% and with a similar proportion the use of mobile phones without a hands-free kit (37%).

Three in ten participants thought that texting whilst driving was the most important issue (29%), similar percentage of participants thought drug driving was most important (28%).

There has been an increase in the perceived importance of cycling safety (from 6% in November 2011 to 10% in July 2013), suggesting this is moving up the agenda.

For most other issues there has been a general decrease in 2013, due to the addition of new statements.

Motorcycle accidents remain the issue seen to be least important, a pattern which has been seen since tracking began.

To read the full report, click here.


Government approves low-level lights to boost cyclists’ safety

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond has announced that new low-level traffic lights designed for cyclists have been authorised for use following safety trials.

During the track based trials of the system, more than 80% of cyclists favoured the use of low-level signals.

The system works by repeating the signal displayed on main traffic lights at the eye level of cyclists.

The system will be piloted at 12 sites in London. It is expected that the cyclists will have improved and clearer signals to ensure they have the information they need at junctions. Department for Transport is also considering the approval of the use of these lights to provide an “early start” for cyclists.

For more information click here.

New Cycle Path in Scotland

Transport Minister Keith Brown today announced £750,000 worth of funding towards a new cycle path from Strathyre to Kingshouse.

The funding will be allocated to Sustrans Scotland who will work with the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and Forestry Commission Scotland to construct the 3.5km cycle path.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park will also provide match funding for the new path between the two villages.

Click here for more information.


Motorcyclists’ casualties in Scotland

The average number of motorcyclists killed in Scottish roads from 2008-2012 was 42. In 2012, this number was reduced by 50% (21 fatal accidents).

The number of deaths in non built-up areas (roads with a speed limit of more than 40mph) is 6 times higher than in. built-up areas (roads with a speed limit of 40mph or less).

According to Road Safety Scotland, the two age groups showing the most worrying trends are under 21s and the 36-55 year-olds.

Data on under 21-year-olds:

  • 2/3 are involved in accidents (about 66%) on roads in roads with speed limits of up 40mph.
  • 4 out of 5 (80%) are riding a bike of 125cc or less.
  • 1 in 3 accidents (about 33%) involved no other vehicle.

Data on 35-55 year olds:

  • 6 out of 10 (60%) are on non built up roads (i.e. with a speed limit of more than 40 mph)
  • 2 out of 3 ( about 66%) are on a motorbike of more than 125cc
  • 1 in 3 accidents (about 33%) involved no other vehicle

For more information go to Road Safety Scotland website.

To access the datasets, click here.


We’re clueless about testing our car tyres

Under or over-inflated tyres can cause a dangerous loss of grip and stability when cornering or braking and are also much more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout. Under-inflation reduces the life of the tyre by as much as 25% and fuel economy by up to 5%, while over-inflated tyres are more susceptible to damage caused by potholes or debris.

The latest figures from the Department for Transport revealed that 194 drivers were killed or seriously injured in the UK in 2012 as a result of an accident caused by an illegal, defective or under-inflated tyre. They were also a factor in more than 1,100 road casualties in the UK during 2011.

According to new research from Halfords Autocentres, a third of motorists (32%) still believe that kicking a car tyre will help reveal if it is properly inflated. More men than women attempt to test tyres by kicking them – with 42% compared to 30% of confessing to the habit.

Nearly a quarter of drivers (24%) also admitted they did not know how to check if their tyre tread was legal, which might be an explanation on the reasons why two thirds of them (60.5%) have skidded on UK roads during the winter, whilst one in eight (12%) did not know what type of spare wheel or puncture repair kit they had.

Only 14% of UK drivers considered fitting winter tyres that do not harden at low temperatures and provide greater grip during colder months of the year – compared with 27% of French and 85% of German motorists.

Mega trucks could enter Britain under EU plans

Ultra-long lorries weighing up to 60 tonnes could be allowed into Britain despite fears they will pose a danger to cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers.

Trucks up to 82ft long - 21ft longer than the largest currently on British roads - could be allowed under EU proposals, the Campaign for Better Transport has said.

Draft legislation being considered by the European Parliament would permit lorries weighing up to 60 tonnes and longer than two double decker buses to cross borders for the first time.

Transport groups are concerned the vehicles could pose a threat to pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers, particularly on minor and urban roads.

EU has released a study that provides an analysis of the current evidence on Longer and Heavier Vehicles (LHVs) and the potential impact of allowing the use of these 'Megatrucks' throughout the EU - as is the case in Finland and Sweden which already permit LHVs in normal traffic. It rests on a literature review of prominent research in this field, as well as case studies looking into the experiences of LHVs in the five Member States in which they are either allowed or tested. In addition to this, it analyses available statistical data and considers the impact of 'Megatrucks' in relation to EU objectives on road safety and greenhouse gas emissions.

To access the full report, go to European Parliament webpage.

FREE ScORSA A3 Desk notepads with 2014 calendars and A6 driver notepads

The Scottish Occupational Road Safety Alliance (ScORSA) still has a number of A3 desk pads and A6 note pads, featuring road safety messages, to give away free of charge.

The pads are designed for small and medium-sized firms but have relevance to anyone who drives for work purposes or manages those who drive for work purposes. They remind managers of their responsibilities in terms of health and safety legislation and ask them to consider safety issues relating to the journey, the vehicle and the driver. The A3 desk pads include a 2014 calendar.

The pads are available in bulk to organisations across Scotland. Email us place an order. For more information about ScORSA, please visit our website.