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Vision Zero: road safety newsletter from Brake about global research and initiatives in road safety and sustainable transport.
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Global initiatives


European Commission issues final warning on air pollution

The European Commission has issued final warnings to Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom for their failure to address repeated breaches of the air pollution limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The Commission may take the matter to court if these countries do not implement appropriate measures to address their NO2 levels.

New online tool to compare worldwide transport performance

The International Transport Forum and OECD have published an online tool that enables the comparison of transport-related indicators for more than 50 countries. There are 19 indicators to choose from, including CO2 emissions, road safety measures and infrastructure investment.

The data can then be translated into different formats, such as ranking the data by country or presenting it as part of an interactive world map.

Vehicles

 
Action: UK Government sets out measures for the safe integration of driverless vehicles
The Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill (2017) sets out new insurance rules for self-driving cars. The changes will mean one insurance policy will cover both the driver and self-driving vehicle.

The Bill also seeks to facilitate the installation of electric charge points and hydrogen refuelling stations, to encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).
 

Drivers

 
Action: Young ambassador network launched in Cambodia
The AIP Foundation has launched the Young Ambassadors for Road Safety (YARS) network at three universities to promote safe driving behaviour among young people in Cambodia, and to support road safety enforcement initiatives around the campuses.

The scheme was developed in partnership with the Australian Direct Aid Programme and will involve students developing their own road safety initiatives.

Research: More research and enforcement of drug driving needed
A report by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has called on European governments to increase drug driving enforcement and invest more in researching current behaviours.

The report calls for zero tolerance for illicit psychoactive drugs and more research into the effects of common psychoactive drugs on driving behaviour to ensure that effective interventions are developed to match current behaviours.

Research: Drivers fail to associate themselves with dangerous driving behaviours
A recent study by the AAA Foundation, based on US road casualty statistics and the results of a nationwide driver survey, suggest that there is a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ driving culture in the USA.

Although respondents perceived dangerous driving behaviour, such as using the phone whilst at the wheel and speeding, as a threat to their own and others’ safety, they are failing to associate this risky behaviour with their own actions at the wheel.

Infrastructure


Action: Smartphone crossing points to be trialled in the Netherlands
A company in the Netherlands is trialling a new pedestrian crossing system designed to reduce the risk pedestrians face as a result of smartphone distraction.

The system, known as +LightLine, connects light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to a strip that can be placed in the road surface and connected to the traffic light installation. The strip changes colour to match the traffic signals. If a pedestrian is looking at their phone, this new system could help prevent them stepping out while the traffic is moving. A feature is also available to make the technology accessible to colour blind individuals.

Research: Reduction in speed limits reduces Swedish road fatalities
According to a review from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, about 17 lives per year have been saved on the Swedish road network due to altered speed limits, but the number of seriously injured remained largely unchanged.

In 2009, the speed limits were changed on 20,500 km of roads in Sweden on the basis of government-led research. Since then Sweden has experienced a reduction in fatalities on rural roads assigned a lower speed limit, although the same roads experienced no significant changes in the number of people seriously injured over the same period.

Road safety regulation, enforcement and criminal justice


Action: Calls for road collision investigation branch in UK
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has called on the UK government to create a road collision investigation branch.

Speakers at its latest conference discussed the benefits of introducing a new approach to crash investigation, informed by evidence-based analysis and supported by a single coordinated framework.

The UK currently has transport investigation branches dedicated to air, rail and marine incidents; these are all configured along a similar model that could be adapted to meet the needs of a road collision investigation branch.

Research: Intelligent crash-reporting systems recommended for safer roads
Intelligent crash-reporting systems and databases will be crucial to ensuring the accuracy of road safety research and the design of effective interventions, according to research from Loughborough University, UK.

At present our databases are facing quality issues relating to inaccuracies in location and time, difficulties in data linkage (e.g. with traffic data), severity misclassification, incomplete demographic information and inaccurate identification of contributory factors. Intelligent crash-reporting systems offer the opportunity to increase data reliability and help policy-makers introduce targeted road safety initiatives.

Raising awareness


The UN Global Road Safety Film Festival 2017 recently took place, with a focus on raising awareness of road safety issues and providing tools for education. The top three films focused on drink-driving and distracted driving.

The FIA Foundation has launched its #3500LIVES campaign, calling for political commitment and a properly resourced UN Fund for Road Safety to meet our 2030 sustainable development goals. The campaign unites political and religious leaders with celebrities from sport, film and music to raise awareness of the golden rules of the road.
For more information on Brake’s work, visit Brake’s websites in the UK and New Zealand at brake.org.uk and brake.org.nz
 
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