UK Dft Road Safety Policy Upudate; Sept., 2022


The Road Safety Advisory Panel – chaired by the Road Safety Minister, David Jamieson – met for the seventh time on 29 January 2003. The meeting included reports on proposals for the first three-yearly review of the Road Safety Strategy, recent work of the RSAP Statistics sub-group, developments on the Child Road Safety Action Plan, work-related road safety, the Highways Agency’s road safety action plan, the European Road Assessment Programme, DfT publicity campaigns and road safety in Scotland and Wales. The next meeting is arranged for 30 October. The minutes of RSAP meetings and the papers presented are posted on the DfT website.

The Government’s Road Safety Strategy, Tomorrow’s Roads – Safer for Everyone, launched in March 2000, included a commitment to evaluate every three years’ progress in delivering the strategy and towards achieving the casualty reduction targets set for 2010. The first review is now underway – RoadSafe, in partnership with PACTS, will hold a conference in February 2004, ‘Targets 2010: No Room for Complacency’. This will review progress and look beyond these targets.


The Department’s child road safety action plan, Child Road Safety: Achieving the 2010 Target, was published in March 2003.

Pilot network of child pedestrian training schemes
Successful authorities for the third tranche of projects were notified by 31 July 2003. Co-ordinators should be in place by January 2004, and children’s training is expected to commence in the summer term.

Road safety education

In partnership with police and road safety officers, Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has been implementing its Schools Programme (Arrive Alive), which addresses driving and road safety issues for young people aged 15-17. DSA plans to deliver 6,000 presentations in 2003/04.
This program won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2002.

The ‘Get Across Road Safety’ booklets are now available in Bengali, Gujeraji, Punjabi, and Urdu.

Year 6 lesson plans for literacy hour will shortly be added to the school’s website. In addition, consideration is being given to adding languages later this year. New lesson plan material is being considered following the Education Show on 12 – 15 March 2003.


The School Travel Advisory Group (STAG) was set up to find ways to encourage walking, cycling, or taking the bus or train to school. The main recommendations of the STAG report are the provision of better travel facilities at schools, better and more affordable bus travel to school, better training for bus drivers, improved enforcement of speed, parking, and other traffic regulations, development of children’s skills, understanding and awareness needed to behave safely and responsibly in traffic, and raising driver awareness of safety issues.

The three Government Departments involved (DfT, DfES, and D.H.) are already taking forward a program of activities, including research, guidance, and support for local authorities and schools in response to the recommendations in the first STAG report. For example, the road safety strategy sets out a detailed program for improving child road safety. Guidance on complete local transport plans now also asks local authorities to include an integrated system for reducing car use and improving children’s safety on the journey to school, about STAG’s aim and proposals for monitoring progress. In addition, the funding announced in the local transport capital expenditure settlement in December 2002 (£1.6 billion) for 2003/04 will help local authorities to implement school travel-related initiatives.

In February 2001, the then DETR awarded local authority bursaries to fund 57 school travel plan co-ordinator posts and 17 joint school/workplace travel plan co-ordinator posts. In addition, DfT is now offering free site-specific consultancy advice to schools preparing school travel plans. STAG will continue to monitor progress on implementing the recommendations.


The new PSA target for the Department includes tackling the significantly higher incidence (of casualties) in disadvantaged communities.

As a result, on 25 October 2002, Mr. Spellar launched the Dealing with Disadvantage initiative in Greater Manchester. As a result, £17.6 million has been allocated over three years (from March 2003) to help authorities deal with road safety issues in their disadvantaged areas. Greater Manchester was chosen for the launch, as 10 of the worst leaders in the country for child pedestrian problems are in this area. In addition, the rate of child pedestrian casualties is at its highest in disadvantaged areas.

The Department is working with the councils to identify causes and tailor solutions to the problems. £12 million has been allocated to the Greater Manchester area to tackle these issues. This includes a central road safety team to develop innovative interventions. At the beginning of April, more general guidance was issued to local highway authorities as part of the APR guidance for the coming year. Four other sources were invited to participate in the initiative in August 2003.

A successful scheme in Hull has been identified by RoadSafe as a ‘best practice’ with a Prince Michael award this year.


The Government’s response to the Transport Select Committee, published last year, outlined the work currently being undertaken or planned to reduce the effects of inappropriate and excessive speed.

Rural areas remain a particular concern, and work is progressing to address this. For example, consultants are currently developing a framework to assess what speeds are appropriate and what rates are being driven on rural roads. In addition, a new Traffic Advisory Leaflet explicitly addressing the concerns about village speed limits is currently being prepared, and we expect it to be available in the Autumn.

In addition, we will be reviewing and updating the Department’s advice on setting local speed limits (Circular Roads 1/93). The work currently being done on rural speed management and advice on urban speed limits, such as 20mph zones, will be included, and we expect a first draft to be available in early 2004.


The program of research continues. An “Impairment Bulletin” is produced periodically to cover all research on alcohol drugs and fatigue, which would be more user-friendly than individual research project findings. Copies of the bulletin can be obtained from Joanna Asiedu, Road Safety Division, Telephone 020 7944 2038. Police forces continue to train officers in Drug Influence Recognition Techniques and Field Impairment Testing skills. The legislation was made in the Railway and Transport Safety Act 2003 to require drivers to provide samples for screening and participate in Field Impairment Testing at the roadside. However, before the police use mandatory Field Impairment Testing, a code of practice needs to be finalized. A roadside screening device is also being developed and will be introduced once it receives Type Approval from the Home Office.


The Road Safety Strategy recognizes that better driving skills and better driving behavior would make an enormous difference in helping to reduce the number of road casualties. The strategy, therefore, announced that the Government would introduce measures to:

• instill in young people the proper attitudes toward road safety and driving;
• encourage a more structured approach to learning to drive;
• raise the standard of driving instruction;
• keep the driving test up to date; and
• reduce the accident risk for the novice, older and professional drivers.

The Department works closely with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to deliver these commitments. DSA is liaising with the driver training industry about modernizing the arrangements for those wishing to become approved driving instructors (ADIs) and those already in the profession. The ADI theory test in the qualifying examination has been enhanced, with the question bank published, expanded, and a third distractor added. In addition, ADI appeals were transferred to the Transport Tribunal on 1 April 2002, and other enforcement/appeals powers came into effect from the same date.

RoadSafe responded to a consultation document on various measures to achieve the necessary driving experience published on 1 March 2002. The options which we supported included: A logbook to help structure training and to provide a syllabus; a critical period for that training; possibilities for a range of pre-test training measures and post-test restrictions; and the possible introduction of mandatory probationary “P” plates for novice drivers. A wide range of views was received from some 320 organizations and individuals. These are being carefully considered to announce the way forward later in the year. Everyone who submitted comments will be informed of the results of the consultation.

RoadSafe supports the changes to the practical driving test introduced on 1 September. These are part of a package of measures introduced by the European Commission in 2000. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how to carry out simple vehicle or machine checks. At the start of the test, candidates are asked two questions about the vehicle or machine checks they would carry out before driving or riding. For trials involving a trailer, the uncoupling/re-coupling exercise was revised – candidates have to park alongside the trailer and then move forward and re-couple. In addition, candidates for lorry tests are required to park in a simulated loading bay.

The hazard perception testing element, which RoadSafe has campaigned for, was introduced into the theory test in November 2002. The pass-mark was raised in planned stages throughout 2003, with the final increase on 1 September. A free information video explaining how the new theory test operates sent to all candidates for a period up until May 2003. The official training material, Roadsense, is available from high street outlets as a video/workbook package. Roadsense was made available in DVD format in June 2003.

For older drivers, the Department has issued new advice on safe driving “Drive on!” and encourages refresher courses. The advice is available on the Department’s website at: In addition, DSA launched its Arrive Alive Classic program in the spring of 2003. The program is aimed at those over the ’50s.


The Road Safety Minister, David Jamieson, announced on 24 June that driving while using a hand-held mobile phone would soon be a specific offense. The offense will come into force on 1 December 2003. The Department’s website contains a copy of the decision letter and a summary of the responses document.


The Road Safety Strategy announced that the HSE would set up a task group to consider reducing work-related road incidents. The Task Group published its report in November 2001, and the HSC has provided its advice on the recommendations. In addition, RoadSafe’s leading program supports DfT and HSE in taking forward a work program over the next 3- 5 years to reduce at-work road traffic incidents.

HSE issued new guidance on 17 September 2003 to help employers manage road risk. The direction “DRIVING AT WORK – Managing Work-Related Road Safety” is available on HSE’s website at:

DSA established a voluntary register of driving instructors specializing in fleet driver training in April 2002. This will be made mandatory when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.

DSA is also leading the U.K.’s involvement within the E.U. in developing a Training Directive aimed at compulsory initial training and periodic retraining of professional drivers of lorries, buses, minibusses, and coaches. Once the terms of the Directive are finalized, DSA will consult about how to transpose it into domestic law.


The latest Euro NCAP results, published in June 2003, included more vehicles achieving 4 and 5 stars for occupant protection.


The has confirmed its support for the European Commission’s proposal to introduce a directive covering pedestrian protection requirements in cars; the proposal is currently going through the E.U. co-decision procedure and is expected to be adopted by the council this Autumn.


The Government published its conclusions to the penalties review in July 2002. In light of this, it is intended to increase the maximum penalty for the offenses of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, Causing Death by Careless Driving when under the influence of Drink or Drugs, and Aggravated Vehicle Taking when a death results from 10 to 14 years imprisonment. These changes will be implemented using amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill, now before Parliament.


The Government announced in March 2002 that it had decided not to change the drink-drive legal limit (currently 80mg/100ml). The Government believes that alternative measures, particularly enforcement, and education through publicity, may be just as effective as a lower limit in reducing drinking and driving. It is planning, amongst other things, to strengthen police powers to enforce drink-drive laws, including provision for evidential roadside breath testing, extended publicity campaigns, the targeting specific groups, and a study into breath alcohol interlock devices (“alcolocks”) as a means of preventing re-offending.


The Government is looking at the structure of driving offenses the Road Traffic Acts provided for. RoadSafe is involved in the review looking at all aspects of impaired driving offenses, including dangerous and careless driving. Amongst other sources, the study will draw upon work already undertaken for DfT by the Transport Research Laboratory on how the police have used the “Dangerous Driving” offenses, the prosecution agencies, and the courts since their introduction in the Road Traffic Act 1991.


A package of measures improving moped and motorcycle training, testing, and licensing arrangements was implemented in February 2001. In January 2002, DSA produced a motorcycle What If video and workbook and gave copies to training organizations. The Agency has also created a leaflet for those returning to motorcycling after a break. In November 2002, the theory tests for all learner drivers and riders were updated and now include an exercise designed to assess hazard perception.

DSA continues working with the training industry to develop the training syllabus for pre-test riders and standards for motorcycle trainers. The Agency is also working with trainers and motorcycle manufacturers to improve the standard of post-test rider training.

A TV commercial and associated trade advertising asking drivers and riders to look out for each other was launched in May 2002.

DSA has consulted on arrangements to deliver a revised practical motorcycle test, including higher European driving test standards. The results of the consultation are expected before the end of the year.


Two High Court decisions in 2000 and 2002 confirmed that a motorized scooter similar to a child’s scooter but propelled by either an internal combustion engine or an electric motor is a motor vehicle within the meaning of Section 185 of the Road Traffic Act. To be used on the road, the car must comply with Construction and Use Regulations, be taxed and insured, and be subject to MOT requirements. In addition, the rider must hold a driving license and wear a motorcycle helmet.

The High Court decision in 2002 found that a motorized scooter fitted with small pedals did not fall into the electrically assisted pedal cycle category.


On 6 May 1999, the Government established an Advisory Group on Motorcycling. The Group brings together the Government, representatives of the industry, and those interested in the effects of motorcycling to discuss a range of issues that will assist the Department in developing well-informed policies. In addition, the AGM has set up Task Forces to consider research, vehicle safety and security, integration and traffic management, statistics, and environmental and fiscal issues. An Interim Report was published in April 2001. Copies are available from DFT at P.O. Box 236, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 7NB (Tel: 08701226 236; Fax: 0870 1226 237; The report is also available on the DfT website at . The Government has committed to determining its motorcycle strategy by 2004.


In 2002, following the publication of research on motorcyclists’ vision, the Department consulted on possible changes to the permitted level of tint in visors. Many responses were received from individual motorcyclists who favored dark stains, saying that they are the best way to reduce glare. At the same time, road safety organizations expressed concerns about risks to the safety of other vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians.

All the views and contributions from those who responded to the consultation were carefully considered. Essentially there were two disparate views, one for and one against dark visors, but in the end, a decision was taken to retain the current level of tint for bills at 50%.

It is hoped that technological solutions may provide the best way forward. Standards bodies have been urged to encourage their development so that visor designs lend themselves equally to both days and nighttime in the longer term.


The BMWC1 is a motorcycle produced by BMW that they claim does not require wearing a helmet. It is a motorcycle in the sense of two wheels and controls. But has certain features similar to a car. It has a seatbelt, and it has a roof. The rider is effectively within a cage. Several European countries have allowed a derogation from helmet-wearing. We and Sweden, the countries with the best road safety records, have not. VSE was not satisfied that the testing undertaken by BMW justified the claims and was in a dialogue with BMW about further testing. However, BMW withdrew from that dialogue, and we understand we are to cease model production. But other similar vehicles are coming onto the market.
Sure, BMWC1 owners have been riding without helmets. Recently we learned that the Bedfordshire police had lost a case heard at a Magistrates court. The case hinged upon interpreting the Motor Cycle (Protective Helmets) Regulations 1998. Regulation 4 applies the compulsory wearing of helmets when driving or riding “on” a motor bicycle. The challenge the magistrates have upheld is that the rider is “in” the vehicle and does not require a helmet.

The Department believes that riders of the C1 and similar vehicles must wear helmets. Interpretation of the law is a matter for the courts, and we note the contrary court ruling. However, the CPS has since appealed. We are awaiting the outcome of this and will be considering the implications.


Regulations requiring a bell to be fitted on all new adult pedal cycles at the point of sale will introduce a requirement for the brakes to be correctly adjusted, and provisions relating to the sale of bikes in kit form were laid before Parliament on 15 April 2003. They will come into force on 1 May 2004.


The Department is assessing the results of a proposal consultation to allow cyclists to use additional lamps to improve their conspicuity at night. The proposal is to enable flashing front and rear lamps to be used with steady lamps and to permit white or amber lights to be used on wheels and pedals.


A research review of the effectiveness of cycle helmets was published in November 2002 as Road Safety Research Report No.30. It concluded that cycle helmets effectively reduce the severity of brain and upper facial injuries for all ages, especially children.


Work on the CTC adult cycle training project is completed. It was launched at CTC’s cycle training conference on 12 May 2003.


The Department launched a cycle safety campaign for teenagers in May 2003. The campaign will encourage teenagers to wear cycle helmets. In addition, the campaign will include a new T.V. filler film, poster and leaflet, and a new teenage website.


The COI released a radio filler to make drivers more aware of horse riders in December 2001. In addition, a T.V. filler and a revised leaflet were launched at Badminton Horse Trials in May 2002.


Local authorities in England (outside London) submitted their first complete, five-year Local Transport Plans (LTPs) at the end of July 2000. Their third LTP Annual Progress Reports covering full LTPs were presented at the end of July 2003. In December 2002, Alistair Darling announced allocations for local authorities totaling £1.6 billion for provincial transport capital expenditure for 2003-2004. This was the third installment of the Department’s investment promise. It adds to the £1.36 billion and £1.58 billion announced in the last two financial years.

The Road Safety Strategy commits the Department to monitor local authority road safety performance. Investment monitoring forms were issued to all English LHAs in January, and full results will be presented to regional groups at meetings through the Summer and Autumn. RSD included in the Guidance on Full Local Transport Plans detail on the data required by the Department.


DfT is running a series of road safety demonstration projects to develop and test practical solutions to road safety problems in busy urban areas in partnership with selected local authorities.

The Gloucester Safer City project began in April 1996 and lasted five years until March 2001. It was recognized with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2000. Its objective was to reduce casualties in the City by at least one-third by April 2002 (compared with the baseline average for 1991 – 95). Funding of £5m was made available over the five years. A road hierarchy was developed, and a range of calming traffic techniques was used to manage traffic on appropriate routes, complemented by education, training, and publicity activity. The final project report will be published in September 2003, and the results so far are encouraging, with deaths and serious injuries down by 38 percent. The lessons from Gloucester Safer City have been assembled in the revised Guidelines for Urban Safety Management to be published in September 2003.

In May 2001, local highway authorities in England were invited to bid for inclusion in a demonstration project for Mixed Priority Routes. These roads often carry high traffic volumes but also support high levels of pedestrian activity. In addition to the casualty problems arising from these circumstances, these areas often create poor-quality environments where communities are severed, and pedestrians and cyclists feel threatened by the dominance of traffic. The project intends to develop and test the effectiveness of practical solutions in partnership with local highway authorities and develop a good practice guide to make available to all local authorities. DfT funding of up to £1m per scheme will be made available to cover the development and construction of the projects. The first five schemes are in Lambeth, Norwich, Manchester, Leamington Spa, and Crewe. The plans will likely be built during 2003 and 2004, following design work and public consultation, before and after monitoring will be carried out as part of the evaluation of the schemes. Five projects were announced in Hull, Liverpool, Oxford, St Albans, and Southwark in December 2002.

In July 2002, DfT launched an Inner City Safety Demonstration Project to show how an integrated, partnership approach to managing deprived inner city areas can reduce casualties and improve the quality of life for local people. In June 2003, it was announced that Birmingham City Council had been awarded the project. Grant funding of the order of £6 million will be made available over the six-year life of the project. The project will build upon the experiences from Gloucester Safer City. Still, it will go further, building partnerships for delivery from various local authority services such as education, health, and social care. Effective community involvement will also be critical in developing and delivering the strategy. Lessons learned from the project will form the basis of good practice guidance.


Road Casualties in Great Britain: Main Results:2002 was published on 26 June. A copy can be found in the statistics section of the DfT website. This was the first release of final 2002 figures and provided information on theseveral casualties by leading road user groups. There is also a table giving losses by severity by the police force. [Table missing. See the above URL]

The experimental quarterly series, which provides provisional estimates of personal injury road accidents and their casualties, have been published for the 3rd and 4th quarters. Estimates for the first quarter of 2003 estimates will be posted on 7 August, giving the total number of road casualties and accidents in the first quarter of 2002 and more detailed final figures estimates (of losses among different road user groups, road classes, and child casualties) fourth for the first quarter 2002. Third-quarter estimates were published on 6 February, and the 4th quarter figures will be online on 1 May.


The THINK! The road safety campaign was launched on 1 June 2000. T.V., radio, and poster advertising have encouraged everyone to ‘think!’ about how they use the road. In addition, many third parties have come on board to help us to promote road safety messages. Specific messages in national advertising have included drunk driving, speed, driver fatigue, mobile phones, rear seat belt wearing, and child road safety reminders Details of the Think! The campaign is on the Think! Website at
Activity in 2003.

The Think! The road safety campaign encourages all road users to be alert to their and others’ safety and will continue highlighting a range of key road safety messages. Advertising runs more or less continuously, and the Department continues to make available support materials and briefings to road safety officers, police forces, and others running regional and local activities. In addition, many companies in the private sector are involved in promoting Think! Road safety messages, and we shall continue to encourage further action.
Child road safety.

A new T.V. advert featuring the popular hedgehog characters was launched in August 2003 to remind children that even familiar roads can be dangerous. In addition, advice for parents and teachers has been available, including Getting Across Road Safety, since the beginning of 2003. The leaflets are also in dual-language versions, including Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, and Gujerati.

Free school lesson plans and teaching materials tied with the national curriculum for primary and secondary key stages and reflecting road safety topics are available.

Teenage Pedestrian Road Safety

12 to 16-year-olds are at greater risk as pedestrians than any other age group. Cinema advertising aimed at getting them to recognize and pay more attention to this risk is running this year. The advert is also being shown on teenage T.V. channels. An outdoor poster campaign in the graphical style of computer games was running in September 2003.


Speed remains a crucial issue. Driving too fast is a factor in at least a third of road traffic fatalities. We continue to address this with Think! Slow Down T.V. and radio advertising throughout the year as indicated in the Think! Calendar.

Driver Fatigue

The Department launched its fatigue advertising in August 2000, following research from Loughborough Sleep Research Unit which indicated that as many as 300 deaths a year might result from drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Regular Radio advertising throughout the spring and summer has helped to raise the profile of this message. Truckback advertising has also been used to reinforce the news throughout the country.


“Now you see him. Now you don’t” advertising ran for the August bank holiday period when motorbikes are traditionally on the road in more significant numbers. Another campaign element is aimed at riders of high-powered bikes who crash without another vehicle involved – probably due to high speeds. Leaflets and posters are available on this.

Drink Driving

Drink driving is a year-round issue. T.V. advertising launched in October 2002 has run since then. The Department also ‘sponsored’ the Great Britain Rugby Football League for the 2002-03 season, gaining significant visibility for the drink-drive message, particularly in televised matches. Support materials continue to be developed for the campaign. Radio is also being run and will target early-morning drinkers during November’s last two weeks of the Rugby World Cup. In addition, there will be an activity to generate publicity in December to support the radio and T.V. being aired in the run-up to Christmas.

Seat Belts

The seat belt campaign has been successful in increasing wearing rates. However, there is still a long way to go, particularly with adults. Four out of every ten adults still do not wear a seat belt when in the back of a car. 9 out of 10 drivers in built-up areas wear seat belts. Reminder advertising continued in 2003. A new T.V. film and support materials have been produced to run from September 2003. An interactive website to show what can happen during a crash if you are not wearing a seatbelt was also launched in tandem with the new T.V. ad.

Mobile phones and driving

Radio advertising has been the primary medium for alerting the public to the hazards of using a mobile phone while driving. Further advertising is in development to support the proposed new legislation.

Drugs and driving

In June, the Department launched a website to inform about the effects of drugs on driving. This has been promoted through targeted advertising on websites and at music festivals during the summer.

Police and road safety officer involvement

Support for road safety messages locally and well-publicized police enforcement campaigns have been critical factors in getting road safety messages across in the community and on the road. See Think! magazine for examples. The Publicity team contributes to a quarterly newsletter to help keep police officers informed of campaign planning. In addition, a website for Road Safety Officers has been launched to keep them up to date on Think! Campaigns.

Child Car Seats

A new child car seat campaign addresses that parents often do not know what seat to use, how to fit it, and when to change to a different type of seat. A new poster that will appear in mother and baby washrooms in motorway service stations and out-of-town shopping centers has been developed. In addition, new ads will appear in women’s press, parenting titles, and T.V. listings magazines.

Think! Involvement in sport

Following last year’s successful tie-up with the G.B. rugby league team, the DfT has signed up for the 2003-2004 season. In addition to a high level of visibility of Think! Reminders at G.B. matches, the contract offers opportunities for RSOs to use team members in local road safety promotions. An agreement has also been made with the Football League to provide local road safety promotion opportunities.

Best Practice Conference

The DfT held a conference at the Millennium Conference Centre in London on 27 June 2003 to share best practices in promoting road safety.

Publicity Program

A provisional campaign calendar giving current and future advertising plans is available on Think! Campaign website.