Transport CommitteeWritten evidence from Colin Clarke

1. General

The 2010 GB road accident fatality rate was approximately 30 per million population and much lower than some countries, eg USA about 110. Refining road safety by targeting issues is probably required. The framework could list safety issue in order of importance.

2. Local Solutions

The road safety approach taken provides for local solutions and this may sound acceptable but drivers and visitors from across the UK and the world may not have encountered these local solutions before. It is far better to have simple solutions that people are familiar with rather than local solutions that may reflect local interests. Local solutions should be to national standards and standards monitored. In this way if an accident involves say a slip road and the design could be to a higher standard, then it can be applied. Local solutions should be the last resort.

3. Design Standards

High quality national designs and standards that are easily accessed should be available for viewing, both in detail design and video. The range of benefits and disadvantages should be fully detailed. Local requirements can then be matched to the best safety and user-friendly solution.

4. Lower Drink Drive Limit

Lowering the drink drive limit to 0.05 should be a priority. In 2008 GB drink drive fatalities and seriously injured were approximately 430 and 1630. The stricter limit would save many lives and serious injuries. Suggestion, anyone blowing in the “range” of between 0.06 and 0.08 should face a 14-day driving ban and fine. A second offence a one month ban and increased fine.

There is strong evidence that someone’s ability to drive is affected if they have any alcohol in their blood. Drivers with a BAC of between 0.02 and 0.05 have at least a three times greater risk of dying in a vehicle crash. This risk increases to at least six times with a BAC between 0.05 and 0.08, and to 11 times with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.10.

5. “80” mph Proposal

Proposal to increase motorway speed limit to 80 mph is unsound. A DfT report, “New Direction in Speed Management” March 2000. ... ne2001.pdf
page 26/49 section 162 details all the negative aspects of speed, higher accident risk and high pollution.
page 46/49 refers to speed and injury severity. It says the probability of a fatal accident is related to the 4 power of the speed. Comparing 70 to 80 mph shows a 70% increase as below.

70 to 4 power, 24.01 million
80 to 4 power, 40.96 million (70% higher.)

In 2009 more than 35,000 people were killed and more than 1,500,000 injured in road accidents in the European Union. Statistically for every fatal accident there are a further four accidents that lead to permanent disabilities, 10 that cause serious injuries and 40 that cause slight injuries. The social cost of road accidents is estimated at EUR 130 billion per year. ... stance.htm

Stopping distances

Speed (mph)








Thinking Distance (m)








Braking Distance (m)








Total Stop Distance (m)








Thinking distance is based on about 0.67 sec reaction time, in practice this may be more than 1+ second. It is possible that a car’s stopping distance could be 130m at 80 mph. ... ne2001.pdf
page 12/49, Section 38, says if the average speed goes up 1 mph, accidents increase by 19%
part 162 makes the important safety point about speed differentials.
Part 141 states there is a case for reducing national speed limits and keeping the limit of 70 mph for better quality roads.

6. Minimum Passing ClearanceCyclists

Having a minimum passing clearance for cyclists should be a priority. A minimum passing clearance could be better than nothing.

The Governments consultation on road safety contained a suggestion on page 7. http://www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffi .../#comments
Colin Clarke May 27, 2011
The Highway Code says “give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car, see Rules 211–215”—some drivers may give 0.5m clearance to parked cars and probably do in low speed circumstances.
Requiring motorists to provide at least 1.2m clearance when passing cyclists, would be setting a legal minimum, making drivers think about giving sufficient clearance to cyclists.
Setting a legal minimum would be better than not having one.

7. London

Accident data for London shows it needs to make changes quickly, 25 mph limit for the congestion zone, long or heavy vehicles prohibited, major improvements are needed.


Heavy good vehicles extended details below:


e-petition at: .

Stop the trials of Longer Lorries.

The Government has allowed a 10-year trial of longer lorries leading to increased safety concerns and making urban traffic flow more difficult. The Government gave the go-ahead for a trial of longer semi-trailer vehicles—up to 18.55m (60ft) long.

The longer lorries will make it more difficult for other traffic to enter the flow of traffic at slip roads and cause concern when overtaking cyclists. The DfT’s own analysis found that the threat from certain slow manoeuvres could increase by as much as 9%. Cyclists are particularly at risk from lorries engaged in such manoeuvres, which from 2005 to 2009, accounted for 40% of fatal cycle crashes involving an articulated lorry.

The longer lorries are not suited to the smaller towns and villages across the UK and the claims made for their benefit are in question. HGVs have double the accident rate of light goods vehicles in urban areas. The trials should be stopped and alternative approaches more suitable to the UK, considered.

8.2 ... 6–2011.htm

Government accused of misleading public on road safety threat of longer lorries.


Deaths of cyclists in London 1985–92: the hazards of road traffic, BMJ.

“In inner London, in relation to their traffic volume, heavy goods vehicles are estimated to cause 30 times as many cyclists’ deaths as cars.”

8.4 t_0206.pdf RoSPA

In 2004, 367 collisions between HGVs and cyclists resulted in 22 riders being killed, 79 seriously injured and a further 262 injured. Although only 2% of cyclist casualties occurred in collisions with HGVs, this resulted in 22% of cyclist deaths.


Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) make up 3% of the EU vehicle fleet, but give rise to 14% of fatal collisions, amounting to more than 4,000 annual fatalities in the 27 Member States of the European Union. ... anguage=EN


A coalition of organisations including CTC, Friends of the Earth, Sustrans, Road Peace and Living Streets have produced a joint statement on the issue of using rail transport for freight rather than lorries. ... 6–2011.htm

8.7 ... t-cyclists
Experts call for ban on HGVs in Britain’s cities to protect cyclists
Heavy goods vehicles involved in 43% of London’s cycling deaths.


Lorries already account for over half the cyclist fatalities in Greater London, and it’s feared the new monster trucks are likely to be involved in even more crashes.


http://www.accident-compensation-inform ... ident.html

HGVs account for only 8% of collisions on trunk roads, accidents involving these vehicles account for 26% of all trunk road casualties.

Phillip Hammond has had many business interests including house building and property, manufacturing, healthcare and oil and gas
I just want to ask you finally about this whole question of MPs with second jobs. You have had outside business interests haven’t you?

I have, yes.


TRL report PPR 285 page 150 (168/332) shows that the accident rate for the existing longer draw bar combination, (18.75m length permitted) is three to four times higher than most other types of HGV vehicles. -study.pdf

8.12 HGV Braking Aspects

Assuming slow driving conditions, the braking distance for fully loaded HGV’s is longer than for cars. ... stems.aspx RoSPA

Appendix 1
Iveco tractor and trailer Laden* 42 tonnes (ABS) braking distance 27.00m
(Note slight incline, dry conditions)

The Highway Code refers to braking distances of 14m at 30 mph, plus thinking distance of 9m, total 23m. The above information shows for a 42 ton loaded vehicle a braking distance of 27m, assuming an extra 9m for thinking, total 36m. One question to consider is in slower driving condition does the risk proportionally increase due to the difference in stopping distance from cars to HGVs?
When cars are braking hard due to whatever reason, if HGVs (loaded) are close behind then there is an added risk of collision. ... ochure.pdf Truck information provided

The Stralis AS3 and AS Super3 boast optional cutting-edge on-board devices. The concealed satellite navigation system, for example, is intuitive and shows the fastest way to reach any destination. The vehicle also offers state-of-the-art active safety features. The 4x2 tractor range, for example, can be fitted with an ESP (Electronic Stability Control) system. This device guarantees stability under any driving condition controlling vehicle movement without driver intervention thereby making the vehicle easier to manage under emergency situations. The Iveco Research and Development Centre has worked tirelessly to create a large range of systems to support the driver, which may be combined with the ESP. Hill Holder, a device available on versions with EuroTronic gearboxes see pg 15, allows easy, safe hill starts under all gradient and load conditions by preventing the vehicle from rolling back for a few seconds during hill starts. Lane Departure Warning System, an optional feature that acoustically notifies the driver when the vehicle strays from the lane without the directional indicators being operated. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) helps the driver to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front by automatically operating in sequence the engine brake, the Intarder and the service brake. For missions over arduous routes, the Stralis AS3 and AS Super3 may be equipped with a second-generation ZF Intarder.

One question to consider is will the sales material provided with HGVs reflect the overall safety aspects or give drivers a false sense of security? It should be telling drivers about their braking/stopping distance compared with other vehicles, loaded and unloaded and for various driving conditions. Probably the Highway Code should also be providing this information.

With the LGVs being allowed they will carry more goods, plus their basic weight is increased due to the extensions plus steering for rear wheels, if provided. There stopping distances in various weather conditions should be detailed as part of the public consultation and discussion. Clearly the longer lorries trials should be stopped and all of these aspects investigated. The weight limit of 44 tons is the same as before but the average weight in practice will probably be higher.

Below is part of one TRL report:

Increases in weight need to be accompanied with increases in brake torque capacity (Fancher and Campbell, 2002). If it is assumed that a B-double or a road train has the same ultimate braking performance as a standard tractor and semi-trailer combination (for this example a deceleration of 6m/s² has been used) then a longer response time results in a significant increase in stopping distance. Figure 50 shows that if a standard vehicle has a reaction time of 0.6 seconds (ie it reached a deceleration of 6m/s² in 0.6seconds) then it would stop (from an initial speed of 50mile/h) in 47.6m.

The B-double is not part of the changes for longer lorries but it shows lorries with about twice the stopping distance of cars are running around, Highway Code 23 m for cars stopping distance (30mph—roughly 48km/hr). Each HGV type vehicle should have stopping distance information displayed in the cab, loaded and unloaded.

Test results—Stopping distances, date


30 mph



Fully loaded








results based on

Stability testing may be more complicated and the longer trailers may detract in some aspects, braking hard and not in a straight line.

8.13 Semi trailer braking problem

The gross weight limit, 44 tons, unit + trailer, the unit is know weight and therefore the maximum semi trailer weight can also be matched to suit. One safety improvement is to provide in cab information data on the unit, empty trailer and full load, braking distances for various speeds, information from the Highway Code for cars could also be provided for comparison. This would be guide information for the driver, so they would be aware if following a car or empty HGV, these could stop in a much shorter distance than a fully loaded HGV.

The Highway Codes states leave 2 seconds at least between the vehicle in front and assuming 50 mph, 80 km/hr 22.2m/s, 44 m would be required. For long semi trailers they should leave at least two to three vehicle lengths to comply with the Code. Drivers being too close to the vehicle in front, obstructing their view, put cyclists at risk. A combined approach of information and enforcement should improve safety regarding braking problems.

8.14 HGVs passing cyclists

The nearside mirrors tend to be five to six feet from the driver and in some circumstances do not provide a good view. Having sensors to detect motion along the trailer side and having low powered side lighting on the indicator side come on at the same time as the indicator. If the vehicle is indicating a left turn, the extra lights would come on, cyclists would know by both the signal and extra lights coming on that the vehicle is turning left and the extra lights could help the driver see a cyclist on the inside. Combined with a minimum passing clearance as per item 6 above, should lead to fewer accidents.

9. “50 mph” National Speed Limit for Rural Single Carriageway Roads

The national limit of 60 mph for single carriageway roads—non built-up areas—could be reduced to 50 mph unless signed otherwise. In 2008 more than 400 fatalities occurred on “B” and other rural roads. Current 60 mph limit is too high and does not provide sufficient incentive to slow down on these roads. If some sections of “B” roads warrant the higher 60 mph limit, exemptions could be permitted, subject to meeting specific criteria. Some countries already have a 50 limit (80 km/hr). Enforcement of speed limits should generally be by mobile units without warning or indication of their locations.

10. Police

There are issue with the UK Police and how they interact, and attitude with the public. As an example, in Canterbury there was a restriction on using a T-junction for two hours in a day. Two signs on a busy road comprised about 12 words and an additional sign referring to another matter was located together. The Police issued tickets for turning into the junction, regardless of if the driver was local or a visitor. It is clearly unsafe to try and read three signs, two comprising 12+ words, when driving on a busy road in rush hour traffic with tight lane widths. Allowing the police powers to issue penalty tickets may be needed, speeding for example, but some safeguards for the public are also needed. Contesting issues via the courts is too expensive and has its issues. Improvements to address concerns about the police should be a priority.

11. Cycle Helmets

Cycle helmets—suitable warning should be provided with either their promotion, in the Highway Code or with any promotional or sales material eg:

(a)Helmets are designed for low speed impacts and they may not provide sufficient protection in many accident situations.

(b)Children should not wear helmets in playgrounds or when climbing trees. The helmet can snag and the strap can asphyxiate them. Several deaths have been recorded.

(c)Some research evidence suggests that helmets may increase the accident rate by 14%1,2 and extra care may be advised.

(d)The consumer magazine Which?3 independently tested 24 helmets and reported that only nine passed all tests and therefore even new helmets may not be reliable.

(e)The UK’s National Children’s Bureau (NCB) provided a detailed review in 20054 stating “the case for helmets is far from sound”, “the benefits of helmets need further investigation before even a policy supporting promotion can be unequivocally supported” and “the case has not yet been convincingly made for compulsory use or promotion of cycle helmets.”

12. Parking Restrictions

Parking restrictions at junction locations should be a higher priority so that viewing is clear.

13. General Conclusions

The Government’s strategic framework for road safety has weaknesses and fails to provide sufficient detail in important areas. The “local approach” is weak in taking the focus away from higher national standards with consistent high levels of road safety. More power to the police may be open to abuse in some circumstances. A more careful detailed approach to issues is needed. The trial of longer lorries should be stopped. Issues regarding cyclists and HGV type vehicles need new requirements and enforcement. The 80 mph speed limit proposal for motorways is the wrong approach for improved road safety. Funding for cycle paths alongside major roads, benefiting both cyclists and pedestrians, should take priority over expensive projects with little safety benefits, eg HS2.


1 Erke A, Elvik R, Making Vision Zero real: Preventing Pedestrian Accidents And Making Them Less Severe, Oslo June 2007. page 28 ... 7-nett.pdf

2 Robinson DL; Head injuries and bicycle helmet laws; Accid Anal Prev, 28, 4: p 463–475, 1996

3 Consumers Association, Which?; Get a head start, p 28–31, October, UK, 1998 ( a British consumer protection organisation).

4 Gill T, Cycling and Children and Young People—A review, National Children’s Bureau, 2005.

November 2011

Prepared 18th July 2012