Road Safety News

PACTS’ conference will focus on ‘safer vehicles’

Wednesday 13th April 2016


A conference organised by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) during June 2016 will highlight innovation and good practice in the design and operation of safer vehicles.

Safer Vehicles 2016 will feature national and international experts on vehicle safety who will identify opportunities to promote the development and uptake of safer vehicles through public policy at UK, EC and international level.

The conference will cover HGVs, buses, cars and motorcycles with an emphasis on reducing vulnerable road user casualties. It is being held in partnership with Highways England, TfL, Thatcham Research, Global NCAP, RoadSafe, ETSC and iSAFER.

Confirmed speakers include David Ward, Global NCAP; Richard Cuerden, TRL; Lilli Matson, TfL; Dr Joanna White, Highways England; Antonio Avenoso, ETSC; Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research; and Tricia Hayes, DfT.

 Safer Vehicles 2016 will be held on 14 June at the QEII Centre in central London. Click here for more information or to book to attend. 


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Safer vehicles are a problem, not a solution. Risk compensation is something we should all be aware of in road safety. Add in things like stronger roll over protection leads to reduced visibility, and that the failure of any one of many "safety aids" can put drivers in a position beyond their experience or ability levels, and things can get messy.

As others have said, safer people is the key, and I say people, not just drivers. Pedestrians need to be educated to not just step out looking at their phone, cyclists need to be educated that no matter how bright their clothing, bad positioning can make them invisible and so forth.
steve, watford

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I was shot down in flames for essentially suggesting that safety, or not, is primarily in the hands of the humans. Such feedback is quite staggering considering that if drivers were paying enough attention in most cases they would not actually need many of the so called safety devices, because they would not get involved in the incident in the first place. But the really staggering bit is that feedback comes from people who one presumes are pro-active in road safety. The other side of the coin is that relying on so called safety features for ones safety is, in reality, a fool's paradise. Ultimately in the vast majority of cases it still comes down to the human element which decides whether or not a person gets involved in crashes. If I understand him correctly Hugh makes the point is a more subtle way. Good for him.

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Hugh, those are very valid and important questions that I hope will be addressed on the day. PACTS is not trying to define all the safety parameters but to enable an informed debate about what is going on, where things are headed and how they could/should change.
David Davies, London

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Does 'safer vehicles' - in the context of this conference - mean with respect to the occupants thereof in the event of a collision, or is it with respect to others, outside of the vehicle, with whom the vehicle may make contact?

Is the emphasis to be on making vehicles safer in a way which reduces the likelihood of the collision in the first place i.e. pro-active, or is it reactive i.e an acceptance that collisions are inevitable but the consequences could be lessened?
Hugh Jones

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Many of the speakers, eg TfL and ETSC, will focus on safety for VRUS. User groups are not the only ones who understand the "how" issues". We will also be announcing a specific motorcycle safety speaker soon, once confirmed. Users (both VRUs and car occupants) will be able to question/ challenge speakers from the floor. Do come!
David Davies

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To paraphrase, it was once said that perhaps the greatest safety feature would be a spike in the centre of the steering wheel. I'll go with that. It follows that most of the so called features on features should more suitably be called 'damage limitation devices'. And if one really wants to be blunt and crude, idiot gizmos. Nottingham University Psychology department some years ago apparently did some research which showed that the more 'safety features' you added and the more you isolated the driver from the environment, and that quieter vehicles give a different perception of speed. They found that the greater the number of safety features the more risks drivers tend to make. In workshops and and training sessions which I did I showed a slide of a Model T Ford and said that was a safer vehicle than almost any you will find on the roads. (Pause for effect). The reason being there was no human in it.

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I agree with Rod King in that - "there is no-one who actually represents vulnerable road users!" For myself that is motorcyclists - there are representives of organisations etc that tell us from high what we should be doing!
Trevor Baird - France

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re-Bob's comment and the (so far) 5 disagrees - are the 'disagrees' because he is factually wrong about the in-built ecall system ruling or..what exactly? I can't see anything wrong with a proposed system which might call the emergency services automatically in the event of a collision. Do some think the injured should have to do it themselves manually?
Hugh Jones

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One thing that will be an advantage is the EU ruling that from March 2018 all cars will be required to be manufactured with an inbuilt ecall system so in the event of collision it will automatically send messages to the emergency services.
R.Craven Blackpool

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I would argue that we already have safe vehicles (and roads for that matter) - unfortunately what we appear not to have, are individuals competent enough to be allowed to drive them safely.

How about a conference focussing on 'safer drivers' instead - or have the authorities resigned themselves to that being a lost cause now?
Hugh Jones

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Hmmm. I notice that there is no-one who actually represents vulnerable road users!
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (5) | Disagree (11)

One way of "reducing vulnerable road user casualties" would be to enforce the law on 'bull-bars' on the front of vehicles. Non-approved bull-bar designs are still to be seen as after market fitments on newer vehicles even though unapproved designs became illegal in May 2007.
Pat, Wales

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