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Paper 8th October 2001 - LGRAS(01)2


This paper reports on:

1. two projects (one completed and one about to begin) that are particularly relevant to STATS 19 data

2. recently published road safety research projects

3. current road safety research

4. road safety projects which are still to be commissioned.

Further information about any of these projects may be obtained from:

Janet Ruiz

Central Research Unit

Scottish Executive

Area 2-J

Victoria Quay

Edinburgh EH6 6QQ

Tel: 0131 244 0377

e-mail: janet.ruiz@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Members of the Group are invited to consider and discuss the points in Section 1 of the paper. The other sections are primarily for information: Members of the Group are, of course, welcome to comment on, or ask questions about, any of the projects mentioned in Sections 2 to 4.

1(a). Tourist Road Accidents in Rural Scotland (published August 2001)

The main aim of this research project was to investigate the extent and type of tourist road accidents in rural tourist areas of Scotland, and place them within the context of all road accidents. The research focused on three tourist rural areas - Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute and Highland - and the STATS 19 data for the years 1999 and 2000, including the new postcode fields, were examined to establish the extent of foreign (in particular), UK visitor and local driver accidents in these areas.

A summary of the main results is given in the "Research Findings" note, a copy of which is included with the papers for the meeting. Several points are especially relevant to the road accident statistics. In particular, Members of the Group may wish to note that:

  • the researchers made considerable use of the STATS 19 data;
  • the driver postcode field was very important, as it was used to identify foreign drivers and non-local UK drivers (taken as those more than 40 km "as the crow flies" from home);
  • the new data showed that the majority of accidents in every Police Force area involved only local drivers - but about a quarter or more of accidents in the Northern and Dumfries & Galloway areas involved only non-local drivers;
  • analysis of the STATS 19 data and the plain language descriptions for Northern accidents revealed that there were differences between local drivers, UK visitor drivers and foreign drivers in the types of accidents in which they appeared to be at fault -
  • the majority of accidents caused by foreign drivers arose from their unfamiliarity with driving on the left hand side of the road
  • accidents caused by UK visitor drivers may reflect their lack of driving and overtaking experience on rural single carriageway roads
  • local drivers who had caused an accident were most likely to have lost control or to have been driving too fast.

The report noted that there was a marked improvement in the completion of the driver postcode field in 2000 compared with 1999. We are grateful to Police Forces for the work that they have done to achieve this. The report then suggested that further studies using the postcode information could include the identification, by local roads authorities, of locations and routes where there are clusters of accidents involving foreign drivers or non-local UK drivers. Members of the Group representing local roads authorities are invited to consider this.

Finally, the report recommended that the Scottish Executive continue to encourage the police to use the STATS 19 postcode fields. Members of the Group representing Police Forces are asked to continue to supply postcodes, and those with below-average percentages of completed postcodes are asked to consider how improvements might be made.

1(b). Child Casualties en route to/from School

This research project was commissioned in August 2001 and should be completed by Spring 2002. The main aim of the project is to establish the extent of the problem of child pedestrian casualties related to a bus journey to or from school (whether by contract bus or public service bus) and the circumstances in which these accidents occur. The project will:

  • determine the number of child pedestrian accidents en route to/from school, and examine the proportion in which the child had just alighted from, or was about to board, a bus;
  • ascertain whether more accidents happen to children alighting or about to board a contract bus compared with a public service bus (anecdotal evidence suggests that this is the case);
  • establish whether there is any pattern in the nature of such accidents, eg crossing the road beside a parked bus, crossing near the bus stop and not at a pedestrian crossing, running to catch the bus, running to school after alighting from the bus etc.
  • compare the types of accidents involving primary and secondary school children.

STATS 19 data for 1999 and 2000 will be analysed. The STATS 19 data will be matched using the accident reference to the plain language descriptions kept by police forces. The Scottish Executive will provide the STATS 19 references for accidents involving school age children occurring on days and at times when they would be expected to be travelling to/from school, and the contractors will visit, or liaise with, the police authorities to retrieve the relevant plain language descriptions in whatever format they are available.

At present, there is a 'school pupil casualty' identifier on the STATS 19 record, but it is not used for any regularly-published statistics. It is unclear whether this variable does identify all casualties who were pupils en route to/from school, and no other type of casualty. Therefore, this identifier will be included in the files provided to the contractor, who will compare it with the information in the plain language descriptions and establish whether or not the 'school pupil casualty' identifier was coded correctly.

The research results will indicate the extent to which children are involved in accidents related to boarding, or alighting from, a bus on the way to/from school, and will compare the types of accidents by primary and secondary school, and by sex. This information will help to target any future campaign on safety and travel to school.

Members of the Group, particularly those representing Police Forces, are invited to note this research project, and, if they wish, raise any points or questions on it.

2. Recently Published Road Safety Research

  • Pedestrian Perceptions of Road Crossing Facilities

Central Research Unit Report and Research Findings No 92

  • 20mph Speed Reduction Initiative

Central Research Unit Report and Research Findings No 104

  • Recreational Drugs and Driving: A Prevalence Study
  • Recreational Drugs and Driving: A Qualitative Study

Central Research Unit Reports and Research Findings No 102

  • Sharing Road Space: Drivers and Cyclists as Equal Road Users

Central Research Unit Report and Research Findings No 111

  • The New Driver Project

Central Research Unit Report and Research Findings No 120

3. Current Road Safety Research

Driver Behaviour Strategy - Evaluation of 'Foolspeed' Campaign

This research, which was commissioned to evaluate the effectiveness of the 'Foolsspeed' campaign, has been extended to evaluate the next and last tranche of Foolsspeed adverts. The research will be completed by the end of this year and the results will be published.

Evaluation of Scottish Home Zones

This study will evaluate the effectiveness of 4 Home Zone case studies in Scotland (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Highland). Although each case study is distinct, the general objectives will be to compare the before and after situation in each scheme using measures such as traffic flow, speed, pollution, noise, travel patterns, parking, drivers' and residents' views and activities; monitor the development of each scheme including the type and extent of consultation by the local authority; assess the transferability of traffic management measures to other Home Zone schemes; and assess whether the benefits of Home Zones can be achieved within the existing legal framework.

Evaluation of Driver Improvement Scheme: West Lothian

The main aim of this study is to evaluate (retrospectively) the pilot West Lothian scheme, particularly in terms of its operational and administrative aspects. The evaluation will assess whether the West Lothian pilot can provide a model scheme as an alternative to prosecution for Section 3 driving offences within the Scottish justice system, and make recommendations for a national scheme for Scotland.

Road Safety Initiatives in Deprived Areas

This work is reviewing the extent of community road safety based initiatives in Scotland, carrying out 15 case studies of such initiatives and will provide guidance on good practice for community organisations in deprived areas.

Promoting Road Safety Culture in Organisations

This is a joint project with the Health and Safety Executive. The Scottish component will include the compilation of an inventory of organisations in Scotland with active road safety policies for driving employees, and 6 Scottish case studies to explore what works well and what does not, with a view to developing guidance on good practice. The study will produce a separate report covering the situation in Scotland.

Drink Driving in Scotland

This study will establish the prevalence of drink driving (similar to the method used in the Drug Driving survey) by carrying out a national survey of 1000 drivers in Scotland, with a particular focus on rural areas. The study will identify the characteristics of drivers who admit to drinking and driving in order to build up a profile of the drink driver. Using qualitative methods, the study will also explore in more depth what motivates drivers to drink and drive, their views towards laws and enforcement on drink driving, and why drivers choose NOT to drink and drive.

4. Projects still to be commissioned

The Speeding Driver

This project will be commissioned in 2001. The main aims of the project will be:

  • to update earlier work to establish whether the nature of speeding and attitudes towards speeding have changed in light of anti-speeding campaigns;
  • to establish the type of speeding drivers who are involved in accidents;
  • to explore speeding drivers' attitudes in depth, particularly those involved in accidents.

It is envisaged that the research will involve a repeat of previous surveys including a household interview with over 1,000 drivers, secondary analysis of police records on speeding, and in depth interviews with speeding drivers involved in an accident. The results will inform the Scottish Road Safety Campaign and the police on attitudes to speeding and the success of various prevention measures such as traffic calming, speed cameras, radar guns, publicity campaigns etc.