Road Safety News

Question Time 2017 – line up now complete

Tuesday 17th October 2017


The line up for Question Time at National Conference 2017 includes the justice manager for a national charity for road crash victims and a lawyer who uses ‘legal loopholes’ to keep his clients driving.

Question Time is always one of the highlights of the National Road Safety Conference, which this year is being held in Manchester on 14-15 November. 29s people have registered to attend and the final number looks set to match or surpass the 309 who were in Bristol for the 2016 conference.

The 2017 Question Time panel comprises five individuals with a broad spectrum of road safety involvement.

Matt Staton will represent the road safety profession on the panel. As road safety team leader at Cambridgeshire County Council, Matt leads a team of professionals involved in researching, developing and implementing road safety education activities for all ages across Cambridgeshire.

Dr Shaun Helman, a cognitive psychologist who has been involved in researching road safety and driver behaviour for the last 15 years, will provide an academic perspective. Shaun, who is head of transport psychology at the Transport Research Laboratory, is particularly interested in the links between driver behaviour and safety outcomes such as collisions and injuries, and in high-risk groups such as young and novice drivers, those driving for work, and motorcyclists.

Robert Gifford is chief executive of the Road Safety Trust, which has already supported 11 projects to the tune of to just over £1m  -making it the leading independent funder of projects of this type. Prior to this, Robert spent 18 years as executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS).

Amy Aeron-Thomas is the advocacy and justice manager for RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims. Amy’s work focuses on challenging the complacency in the justice system towards road danger and the discrimination faced by road crash victims.

As head of Just Motor Law, a specialist division of Kirwans, Frank Rogers represents individuals and companies facing prosecution for driving offences throughout England and Wales. An expert in motoring offences and road traffic law, Frank advises on technical defences and legal loopholes to present robust and effective legal arguments to the Court to keep his clients driving.

The Question Time session will once again be chaired by Nick Rawlings, editor of Road Safety News.

2017 National Road Safety Conference
The 2017 National Road Safety Conference is being held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport on 14-15 November and is co-sponsored by Colas, Jenoptik Traffic Solutions UK and Insure The Box.

The main conference agenda includes sessions focussing on: behavioural change techniques (BCTs); public health, sustainability and active travel; driverless cars; Question Time; and topical topics.

In addition to the main agenda and Fringe, the programme also includes 'Pick my brains', an optional session at the end of day one.

More than 300 people have already registered to attend and less than a handful of residential delegate places remain available, so anyone thinking of attending is advised to book as soon as possible.

Click here to register to attend, or for more information contact Sally Bartrum (delegate registration and exhibition) or Nick Rawlings (speakers and agenda) on 01379 650112. 

Categories: RSGB News, Events.



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Hugh, let's not forget too that an acquittal due to a legal technicality is an acquittal due to the responsible authority failing to correctly observe the checks and balances put in place to help prevent innocent motorists from being wrongly convicted. And that might just be a good reason to start bringing to justice those who negligently or maliciously bring forward cases which subsequently fail on such technicalities.
Charles, England

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If the lawyer in question is turning up to advise on such loopholes and highlight possible flaws in prosecution cases to help keep offenders and possibly his future clients off the road rather than keeping them on the road - then fine, it's very nice of him and it'll all help keep our roads safer in the long run. If that's why he was invited, then I take it all back.

Let's not forget though, that acquittal in court due to a technicality or legal loophole does not mean a serious motoring offence was not, as a matter of fact, committed.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Hugh, there are other legitimate 'legal loopholes' too - those handed on a plate to the defence as a result of the incompetence and the ineptitude of those charged with implementing the road safety laws and regulations. If a motorist is accused of committing a technical offence then of course all the technical prerequisites specified in the definition of that offence need to have been fully satisfied. So if signage is wrong or equipment not correctly certified or operators not correctly trained or documentation not correctly issued, or whatever, then clearly the charge cannot stick. You could go further and say that potentially there is an attempt to pervert the course of justice if such a charge is brought knowingly or even merely incompetently. And why do motorists have to worry about the integrity of the charges being brought against them anyway? Surely the onus should be on the authorities to prove, for each and every charge, that every one of the associated technical requirements have been correctly complied with.
Charles, England

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I don't think it is the actual law itself and the way in which it is expressed in statute that is at fault and where therefore there could be legitimate 'legal loopholes', it is, as Alan has intimated, methods used in Court by the defence to cast unreasonable doubt, 'excuses' used to make the offence seem less serious and pleas (the old standby: charity work) to try and keep the offenders driving - as this lawyer has claimed. I don't see these as 'legal loopholes', but methods to selfishly undermine the efforts of the authorities using the law to deal with offenders whose actions are a threat to other road users.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Alan, my example of the drink-driver was perhaps a bit too restrictive? I am not happy where in a case there is evidence that actions were taken which would result in an offence being committed but a "procedural error" precludes a successful prosecution. However in a reasonable society it is up to the law makers and enforcers to get it right.
Nick, Lancashire

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Thanks Alan..we need another voice of reason.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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You say "...The type of cases which I do not like are when someone has clearly been over the alcohol limit when driving but due to an error in processing the case they avoid prosecution."

I think similarly of speeding cases, do you?

Some "loophole lawyers" construct their own loopholes and confuse lay magistrates; this is not a loophole but is taking advantage of overloaded courts and CPS; the construction is often dishonest and does not serve road safety. Perhaps ask Mr Rogers about that.

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I do agree with your last sentence Nick! Sometimes I do wonder if it puts people off commenting. Still, it's nice to have the daily reassurance that I am in fact, not a robot.
Not a robot.
Not a robot.
Not a robot.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Yes a balanced discussion is obviously always better. Not sure that all people that are represented by "loophole lawyers" are always as dangerous as you imply. Our family car had its number plate cloned for a while and we kept getting knocks on the our door from the police wanting to know what my dad had been up to. Fortunately they believed my Dad's story (evidence) otherwise we would have probably needed a lawyer to defend us. Take a look at the Kirwans' website and see what type of cases they defend. Quite interesting reading some of the case studies. The type of cases which I do not like are when someone has clearly been over the alcohol limit when driving but due to an error in processing the case they avoid prosecution. However the law has to be whiter than white and I agree with Pat that the law needs to be right. The art is in making sure that law and common sense are the same thing perhaps? Very difficult to do.

PS I'm not sure this I am not a robot stuff if worth the bother to post things!
Nick, Lancashire

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In that case Nick, shouldn't there also be representatives present from the CPS, the Police or the Home Office who might reasonably be interested in how their efforts to prosecute offenders, see their efforts thwarted by a motoring offence lawyer, whose claim is to try and keep offenders on the road, possibly to cause more harm?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Only by engaging with people and organisations with whose policies and actions you don't agree can any hope be entertained that they would begin to even consider changing their views. I do not like the sound of "legal loopholes" but would want to understand them and have the chance to prevent evidence (if there is any) that their actions cause detriment others. Open minds required for progress.
Nick, Lancashire

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Not really sure what the different views expressed could be - perhaps some of Mr Rogers fortunate clients could come along as well and 'exchange views' with some of the unfortunate crash victims referred to?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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The whole point of a debate is to have different views represented. I think having someone with Frank Rogers' expertise particularly with Amy Aeron-Thomas also on the panel representing the views of victims opens up an excellent opportunity for questions relating to the justice framework in place for road traffic offences. I for one am looking forward to it.
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

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My comment was prompted by the opening paragraph: "The line up........includes the justice manager for a national charity for road crash victims and a lawyer who uses ‘legal loopholes’ to keep his clients driving". Was that deliberately phrased to be provocative? Perhaps Pat is right and the lawyer is simply coming along to eagerly tell the conference about some of the legal loopholes he's found, so they can be corrected and more offenders can be kept off the road, rather than on it. Don't see any legislators on the panel though.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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If the law has loopholes, then change the law to close them. And next time you want a new motoring law, employ a better legislator. Ex-Poachers often make the best gamekeepers. The same principle applies to many industries.
Pat, Wales

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In my view, having "..a lawyer who uses ‘legal loopholes’ to keep his clients driving..." doesn't sit well, in a conference whose remit is still - I hope - collision prevention and safety on the roads.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (11)