Volvo Cars to launch UK’s largest and most ambitious autonomous driving trial

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, is to begin the UK’s most ambitious autonomous driving trial next year to speed up the introduction of a technology that promises to massively reduce car accidents as well as free up congested roads and save drivers valuable time.

The Swedish company, whose name has been synonymous with automotive safety ever since it invented the three-point seatbelt in 1959, is pioneering the development of autonomous driving (AD) systems globally as part of its commitment that no one will be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by the year 2020.

“Autonomous driving represents a leap forward in car safety,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved.”

Mr Samuelsson will make his comments at a seminar sponsored by Volvo and Thatcham, the insurance industry’s research organisation, in London on May 3 entitled ‘A Future with Autonomous Driving Cars – Implications for the Insurance Industry’ at the America Conference Centre in London.

 

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Police across Europe prepare for latest speed enforcement marathon

POLICE OFFICERS across Europe are preparing for their latest “Speed Marathon”, taking place from 0600 on Thursday 21 April to 0600 on Friday 22 April. The 24-hour initiative forms part of TISPOL’s week-long speed enforcement operation, running from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 April.

The Speed Marathon concept was devised two years ago in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, members of the public have once again been invited to vote on the locations where they would like speed enforcement measures to take place.

TISPOL President Aidan Reid comments: “Our forthcoming speed enforcement activity is all about prevention. We want drivers to think about the speeds they choose; speeds which are both legal and appropriate for the conditions. By doing so, they will be reducing the risks they face and the risks they pose to other road users.

“That’s why we encourage participating countries and police forces to publish information about the precise locations of speed checkpoints in advance. We want to get into the heads of drivers, not their purses.

“Illegal and/or inappropriate speed is the single biggest factor fatal road collisions. That’s why police officers take action against drivers who fail to comply with speed limits. The 24-hour speed marathon is one component in our strategy for reducing casualties, and making Europe’s roads safer.”

Quick facts about last year’s speed marathon:

  • In Germany, 13,000 officers were involved at 7,000 speed checkpoints, most requested by members of the public.
  • Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland conducted joint speed checks and border security controls along the ‘Via Baltica’.
  • In Serbia, 1,000 officers were involved in speed controls during the marathon.
  • A total of 90 speed checkpoints in Cyprus were chosen for the marathon.

Road deaths in the EU increased slightly in 2015

indexThe number of road deaths in the EU increased slightly in 2015, according to new figures released by the European Commission.

The figures, published on on 31 March, show that during 2015 there were 26,000 deaths, up from 25,900 in 2014, and back to the same number recorded in 2013.

In addition, the Commission estimates that 135,000 people were seriously injured, with the ‘social cost’ of road fatalities and injuries predicted to be ‘at least €100bn’.

The EU has called the ‘stagnation’ in progress ‘alarming’.

The average fatality rate across the EU in 2015 was 51.5 road deaths per 1m inhabitants, a rate which has remained largely unchanged in the past two years. In the UK, that rate reduced by 1%, while Ireland saw a 15% fall. At 27%, the biggest increase was in Cyprus.

2015 was the first time since 2011, when the Commission set out its Road Safety Programme, that the number of fatalities rose across the EU. The programme aims to cut road deaths in Europe by half between 2011 and 2020.

The commission says the slowdown, which follows a significant reduction of 8% in 2012 and 2013, is due to several contributing factors including a ‘higher interaction between unprotected and motorised road users’.

Violeta Bulc, EU commissioner for transport, said: “We have achieved impressive results in reducing road fatalities over the last decades but the current stagnation is alarming.

“If Europe is to reach its objective of halving road fatalities by 2020, much more needs to be done. I invite Member States to step up efforts in terms of enforcement and campaigning.

“This may have a cost, but it is nothing compared to the €100 billion social cost of road fatalities and injuries.

“Technology and innovation are increasingly shaping the future of road safety. In the medium to long term, connected and automated driving, for instance, has great potential in helping to avoid crashes, and we are working hard to put the right framework in place.”

In response to the figures, the European Transport  Safety Council (ETSC) is demanding ‘urgent action’ from the Commission to introduce new road safety policy measures.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC said: “Last year, the European Commission described the poor progress on road safety as a ‘wake-up call’.

“But 12 months later, four critical policy measures have been delayed. We hope that the announcement of today’s even more worrying figures will finally lead to some more concerted action.”

The FIA is calling for renewed efforts with regard to protecting vulnerable road users and addressing emerging risk factors such as the ‘increased distraction of traffic participants’.

Jacob Bangsgaard, FIA Region I Director General, said: “New challenges, such as driver distraction, are emerging today that are linked to a broader use of technology and should be addressed in their own right.

UKGRS can provide a European e-leaning driver assessment and training programme to help organisations reduce their exposure to road risks.  Please call us on +44 (0) 844 704 5244 for further information.

See our SHP online catalogue

UKGRS now have a profile on the Safety & Health Practitioners site, to view our products, services and catalogue please click here

UKGRS are once agin exhibiting at the Safety & Health Expo held at London’s Excel June 21 – 23, visit our stand (P1750) next to the Fleet Safety Forum.

 

 

Alcohol remains the ‘biggest impairment to driving’

Road Safety GB informs us that a new report written and published on behalf of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport (PACTS) has confirmed that alcohol is the biggest impairment to drivers.

Fit to Drive?, produced by a team of road safety academics and experts*, examines the law as it stands, factors affecting fitness to drive, and gaps that need to be addressed.

Among its key findings is a suggestion that lowering the legal drink drive limit to 50mg/100ml could save an estimated 25 lives and prevent 95 serious injuries annually.

The report also recommends that the DfT and Home Office should focus on ‘type approval’ of roadside evidential breath testing equipment to ‘save police time’, and says that higher levels of enforcement would act as a deterrent to drink drivers.

Interestingly, the report also suggests that widespread breath-testing following crashes could lead to alcohol being over-attributed as the key factor leading to a collision.

The report also calls for wider use of alcolocks by fleet operators and in the rehabilitation of previous drink-drive offenders.

With regard to drug driving, the report cites a ‘zero tolerance approach to illicit drugs which is political rather than road safety based’. It says the incidence of illicit drugs in both fatal and non-fatal crashes is around 6%.

With regard to driver fatigue, the report says it is now ‘widely accepted that fatigue is a major contributory factor particularly in the early hours of the morning and on long distance journeys on major roads or motorways’. The authors call for Highways England and other strategic road authorities to ‘consider design treatments that can break up the monotony of long-distance driving’.

With regard to eyesight, the report says there is ‘no strong evidence that deficiencies in eyesight present a major road safety risk’. However, the authors go on to say with an ageing population, eyesight is likely to increase as a risk factor, and that ‘current procedures are not sufficient to identify those with inadequate eyesight’.

On mental or physical illness or disability – including brain injury, Parkinson’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis and stroke – the report says many of these conditions are age-related and set to increase with an ageing population in the next 20 years. It also says ‘evidence points to an increase in collision involvement rates among older drivers’.

With no single set of tests to assess fitness to drive currently available, the report calls for the government to fund research into developing a ‘clinically viable desk based assessment of driving safety’.

In circumstances where someone is advised to stop driving, the report says they should be ‘supported with alternatives to maintain mobility and avoid social exclusion’ – and suggests that autonomous cars may have a role to play in supporting the safer mobility of people with cognitive impairment.

Professor Oliver Carsten, lead author of the report, said: “Short-term factors based on personal behaviour such as alcohol and drug use are widely known to affect fitness to drive.

“However, there are long-term factors such as physical or cognitive impairment that account for 6 per cent of all fatal crashes, while fatigue is a factor in 3%.”

On fitness to drive, he added: “The EU Directive on fitness to drive includes the requirement to consult with “authorised medical opinion” to obtain expert judgement on many of the factors. We have to ask: how that expert judgement is to be obtained and who is qualified to give it?”

David Davies, executive director of PACTS, said: “The Government has recently published its road safety statement reaffirming its aims to reduce death and injury on the road.

“This report highlights where improvements are to be made and we hope that all relevant departments and agencies collaborate to act on its recommendations.”

*Fit to Drive? is written by Oliver Carsten, professor of transport studies at Leeds University; Dan Campsall, director of Road Safety Analysis; Nicola Christie, senior lecturer at UCL; and Rob Tunbridge, independent research professional on behalf of the PACTS Road User Behaviour Working Party.

For information on our dedicated Driving Drugs & Alcohol training module please contact us at info@ukgrs or call on 0844 704 5244.

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Meet us at the Safety & Health Expo 2016, Excel, London

SHE Expo 2016 joint logoUKGRS are pleased to announce that we will, once again, be exhibiting at the Safety & Health Expo at London’s Excel this year.

You are welcome to come and meet us for a chat and to see the state-of-the-art global online driver assessment & training solution we offer.  You will find us at stand P1750 right be the entrance to the Driver Safety Arena.

The show gets extremely busy, there is so much to see, so please feel free to make an appointment.

Call us on 01452 347332 or email info@ukgrs.com.

See you there!

Culpable Knowledge

Freight company knew of poor risk assessment prior to worker’s death.

A Cheshire-based haulage firm was warned of its lacking risk assessment one month before an employee was killed by an out of control vehicle, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found.

Freight First must pay £90,000 in fines after a runaway lorry ploughed into employee Tony Schulze on 22 January 2011, crushing him to death.

Schulze, who was not normally tasked with driving articulated vehicles and had no training for coupling lorries, was working at the weekend parking trailers in the yard so they would be ready for pick-ups and deliveries on Monday morning.

As he released the brakes on one of the trailers to attach it to a lorry cab, it rolled forward. Schulze ran past the trailer and in front of the cab in a bid to jump through the open door but he was crushed between the door and cab frame when the HGV hit another vehicle. He died at the scene, despite co-workers’ attempts to save him.

In addition to the lack of training, there was no safe system of work for the coupling and uncoupling of vehicles, nor was there a written procedure for the work, according to the HSE. The cab’s handbrake also was not applied. Freight First’s generic risk assessment, prepared in May 2010, did not address connecting cabs to trailers and failed to identify the risk of runaway vehicles. An external health and safety adviser had highlighted the insufficient risk assessment to the company in December 2010, though no action was taken.

Freight First was fined £90,000 at Liverpool Crown Court and ordered to pay £67,500 in costs after it was found guilty of a breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

“If Mr Schulze had pulled the park button on the trailer when it started to move then it would have activated the trailer brakes. However there is no evidence to prove that Mr Schulze had received training on coupling the HGVs, so may well not have known this,” said HSE inspector Adam McMahon after the hearing.

 

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New Corporate Manslaughter Sentencing Guidelines

New Corporate Manslaughter Sentencing Guidelines came into force yesterday.

The new guidelines are intended to improve sentence consistency and help sentencers to deal appropriately with offences which previously only had piecemeal guidance (such as for non-fatal health and safety offences and those committed by individuals).

Organisations breaching Health & Safety regulations face a fine of between £50 and £10 Million, whilst corporate manslaughter fines are between £180,000 and £20 Million.

To get a copy of the Sentencing Council’s document Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences Definitive Guideline send an email to info@ukgrs.com

Complimentary logon to our comprehensive Global Online Driver Assessment & Training Programme

Complimentary logon to our comprehensive Global Online Driver Assessment & Training Programme

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CLICK HERE to Access Complimentary Information

You may be an organisation that engages or employees personnel who drive as part of their work. If so you surely appreciate the need to apply the principles of health and safety to this aspect of their work, in the same way as other areas of their employment.

This online programme allows your drivers to undertake a comprehensive driver risk assessment and receive bespoke training modules immediately delivered to their curriculum to help mitigate any identified risk.

Content is localised with regard to HD video footage, road safety legislation and language for the end users country, currently encompassing 70 countries in over 100 languages.

If you would like to take the opportunity to review this approach to managing the safety of your drivers please Click Here to access the form in which you can provide contact details and general information so that we can provide you with your personal logon details.

 

Once you have indicated how you would like to review the programme we will forward the information to you. Please access the programme and feel free to use the complimentary family logon.

We will be in touch shortly to gather your views on the programme, however please feel free to contact us in the meantime if you have any questions.

info@ukgrs.com

www.uk-global-roadsafety.com

 

Regards

UKGRS Management

Road Safety – Everyone’s Business

Road Safety GB supports call for drivers to have regular eye tests

Eye TestRoad Safety GB is supporting a leading ophthalmologist who has urged drivers to ensure they have a clear view of the road as winter weather reduces visibility and increases risk.

David Teenan, UK medical director at Optical Express, says that longer nights, low sun and treacherous weather can significantly impede the sight of drivers – causing temporary blindness in some cases.

Optical Express cites a report published in 2012 by the insurer RSA which estimated that 2,900 casualties annually are caused by drivers with poor vision.

David Teenan said: “Good sight is essential for safe driving, especially in the winter months when the weather brings unique vision challenges.

“Visual acuity and contrast are compromised when there is too little light during dull, overcast days or too much light from low winter sun. If drivers can’t see clearly they risk not only their own lives but those of other road users and pedestrians.”

Mr Teenan, who is a fellow of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, added: “There are many simple things that drivers can do to improve their view of the road, such as keeping their windscreens clean and using their vehicle’s sun visors, but it is essential that drivers also undergo regular eye tests to ensure they can see clearly. Changes in eyesight are gradual and it is possible to lose up to 40% of your vision without noticing.

“Most adults should have their eyes tested once every two years but older drivers need to take greater care. As eyesight problems become more prevalent when we get older the vision of older drivers is more likely to be impaired.”

Iain Temperton, Road Safety GB’s director of communications, said: “It is essential that drivers have their eyesight checked on a regular basis and if required wear corrective lenses to ensure their safety and that of other road users.

“It’s also really important to make sure that the screen wash is topped up and windscreens, windows and lights are clean and free from frost or snow.”
– See more at: http://www.roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/4780.html#sthash.DENQxPhM.dpuf