Examination of Witnesses (Questions 80
WEDNESDAY 10 JANUARY 2001
MR D BIZLEY,
MR P ATKINSON
80. Do you have average times that it takes
you to get there to remove that obstacle, if it is an obstacle?
(Mr Bizley) Yes, in fact we have agreements with the
police. The AA/RAC/Green Flag and the Association of Chief Police
Officers have agreements so that on motorways and high speed dual
carriageways we would expect to get there in 30 minutes or less.
Nationally across the country, across the 2.4 million breakdowns
per annum which we attend on all sorts of roads, we average 40
81. In a way then you have a very seminal part
in this. You are saying that a large percentage of these breakdowns
are removed by the private sector.
(Mr Bizley) Yes; the vast majority.
82. You still feel that it is appropriate that
the Highways Agency itself might supplement that by removing vehicles
themselves to these safe havens.
(Mr Bizley) There is a very close linkage between
the risk to the motorist and the period they are stranded at the
side of the road. The hard shoulder is actually an extremely dangerous
place. Many people think of it as a safe haven, but there are
some 250 people killed or injured on hard shoulders each year
and therefore speed is of the essence. The advantage of a dedicated
service of the type we are talking about is that through the use
of CCTV and other detection means you can very rapidly get a vehicle
there to remove it. If each organisation individually were trying
to do that, then the economics simply would not stand up. If there
is a single organisation which is simply picking up the vehicle,
removing it to a place of safety, then there is sufficient demand
for that to be well utilised as an asset.
83. Although the Chairman will not allow me
an extra question at this point, I should like to seek your views
before you go on the way in which the Highways Agency's objective
of reducing traffic congestion, which is part of its remit, might
be assisted by any kind of information which you could input to
that because I think that is a very important part of examining
what these agencies can and cannot do to improve the speed of
traffic on our motorways. But I may not be allowed to ask you
that at this stage.
(Mr Bizley) There are obviously several strands to
the strategy of the Highways Agency and we have had a number of
discussions with them over a number of years on the issue of traffic
control where we have input RAC experience and indeed other organisations
have done the same thing.
84. Are you continuing to do that?
(Mr Bizley) We are continuing to do that.
85. ADI tests. Are they a real burden?
(Mr Atkinson) They are.
(Mr Cameron) Again, waiting times cause problems.
86. How long?
(Mr Cameron) They vary dramatically dependent on what
manpower the Agency has.
87. Is it a burden?
(Mr Cameron) Yes.
Chairman: Gentlemen, thank you very much. You
have been very tolerant.