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Paper 14th May 2003 - LGRAS(03)3

LGRAS (03) 3 - SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE ROAD SAFETY RESEARCH PROJECTS

1 Introduction

1.1 This paper reports on:

(a) a forthcoming project that is particularly relevant to STATS 19 data;

(b) two current projects that may be of interest to Members of the Group;

(c) road safety projects published or completed since the June 2002 meeting;

(d) some other forthcoming projects.

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

Janet Ruiz

Social Research

Scottish Executive

Area 2-C

Victoria Quay

Edinburgh EH6 6QQ

Tel: 0131 244 0377

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

1.3 This paper is 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 5.

2 Extent and Severity of Cycle Accidents in Scotland

2.1 Cycling is an important component of travel patterns accounting for about two per cent of all traffic, yet in Great Britain cyclists were the only road user group whose death rate increased sharply during the 1990s(*). Road accident statistics show that the total number of pedal cycle casualties in 2001 was 917 in Scotland of which 309 were child casualties. The child pedal cycle casualties included 56 fatalities and serious injuries, four of whom died. Published road accident statistics, based on the STATS 19 form used by police to record a road traffic accident, only records the status of the road user at the time of the accident, ie pedestrian, cyclist, driver, passenger etc. However, 'textual' information retained by the police records the circumstances of the accident in more detail. Recently a voluntary trial of a proposed national system for recording information about Accident Causation has been undertaken by police forces in Fife and Central Region, whose STATS 19 returns contain supplementary information on contributing factors to accidents.

* "Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Road Accidents in Great Britain, the Casualty Report", London DETR 1998

2.2 To explore this issue in more depth, the Scottish Executive wishes to commission research into the circumstances of pedal cycle accidents. The results of this research will assist the National Cycling strategy to promote cycling as a leisure activity and as a means of transport and assist the Scottish Road Safety Campaign to increase cycle safety towards reducing cycling casualties. It is intended that the research will identify gaps in empirical research on pedal cycle casualties by comparing hospital Accident & Emergency statistics with STATS 19 information.

2.3 The main aim of the research is to establish the extent of cycle accidents both on and off road involving children and adults, in a selected case study area in Scotland. Further objectives are:

  • To carry out a literature review of existing published statistics and data on cycle casualties, including police and medical data
  • To compare hospital accident and emergency statistics on cycle casualties with STATS 19 information and establish the extent of any gap
  • To establish how many cycle accidents occur off road compared with on road, and identify any pattern emerging on the type of accident, the location and the nature of the injury occurring; information collected by the trial of the Accident Causation system in the Central and Fife areas will also be examined in this regard
  • To estimate the total number of cycle accidents for Scotland as a whole, using the case study data as a basis

2.4 At present the Scottish Executive has no knowledge about the number of cycle accidents which occur off road, to children or to adults, or to the number of cycle accidents which occur on road but are not reported to the police and therefore are not integral to STATS 19 data. This research will involve a literature review of existing published statistics and data on cycle casualties, including medical and police data. The study will examine all reported (to hospital and to police) cycle accidents for all adults and children aged 5-15 years, occurring in the Lothian and Borders area of Scotland between May and October 2003. Five hospitals will participate in this research and collect data relating to all casualties presenting as a consequence of a bicycle accident, whether occurring on or off road. Hospitals will be provided with forms to be completed for all bicycle casualties presenting within the previous 24 hours.

2.5 Data from STATS 19 accident statistics (including textual information where relevant) will be examined for the same period for the Lothian and Borders area and pro-formas matched with STATS 19 casualty data This data will be provided by the Scottish Executive. There were 275 pedal cyclist casualties in 2001 in the Lothian and Borders area (including 181 aged over 16 yrs, 60 aged 10-15 yrs and 32 aged 5-9 yrs) , and this provides an indication of the number of STATS 19 forms requiring to be accessed over a shorter 6 month period. The areas of Central and Fife are at present participating in a trial of an Accident Causation Coding system, recording the causation factors of accidents - information from this pilot on bicycle accidents will be accessed by the contractor in order to obtain supplementary information on the type and cause of bicycle accidents occurring.

3. Current road safety projects

3.1 Child Pedestrian Training - a Scottish Assessment

Currently, 100 child pedestrian training schemes in England & Wales are being evaluated. In Scotland, a total of 12 authorities will instigate child pedestrian training in schools - co-ordinators for 6 of the authorities are already in post. This research will evaluate the 12 Scottish authority areas and will focus on the effectiveness of the pilot training on casualty reduction, determine the impact on schools, communities and volunteers, assess the cost effectiveness of the schemes and identify the most effective ways of establishing and sustaining the scheme.

3.2 Before and After Monitoring of Safe Routes to Schools/Stations Projects

This project aims to assess what benefits are brought about by investment in safe routes to schools and safe routes to stations, project funded from the current round of Cycling Walking and Safer Streets grants. Before and after monitoring of the sites will be carried out and the study will examine what changes are brought about by the schemes, identify where they might be improved and quantify the overall benefits of the investment.

4. Road safety research reports published or completed since the previous meeting of the Group (June 2002)

4.1 The Speeding Driver

This research followed up previous studies in 1991, 1994 and 1996 on the causes and consequences of speeding. The study found that over the last decade, speed in town has fallen, but there have been increases in drivers reporting excess speed in 70 mph zones. Drivers' attitudes to speed limits has remained unchanged but there has been a substantial rise in support for engineering measures to reduce speed in residential areas. Across several road types, drivers in the 21-29 age group were the most likely to speed. The study identifies that speeders have a higher likelihood of crash involvement - those who had been caught speeding had double the incidence of recent accident involvement.

4.2 Evaluation of Drug Driving TV Ad

This study evaluated a recent TV advert aimed at discouraging people from driving under the influence of drugs. The evaluation found that awareness of advertising and publicity on drug driving was high, understanding of the advert was generally good and many participants found the advert informative. The research also found that the advert was particularly successful in reaching the 17-24yr old target group. However, it was found that the overall impact of the advert was undermined by doubts about the credibility of the enforcement message (many participants expressed doubt that drivers in Scotland would be stopped by the police or that the tests would detect many drug users) and that some aspects of the style and content of the advert may have had limited impact on younger drivers.

4.3 Seat Belt Wearing: A Second Study of Compliance

This research established the current rate of compliance with seatbelt wearing legislation and whether there has been any significant change since 1997 when the first study was carried out. The research also established the current extent of use of hand held mobile telephones by drivers of cars and vans in Scotland. The research found that 88.6% of all vehicle occupants were wearing an appropriate restraint, a 2.2% increase since 1997; current rates include 95% for drivers, 91% for front seat passengers and 78% for rear seat passengers. Overall, there was little change in seat belt usage since 1997; however rear seat belt use rose from 71% to 78% and the compliance rate for children under five reduced from 95% to 87%. Only 1% of drivers were observed to be using hand held mobile phones.

4.4 Foolsspeed

The Foolsspeed campaign, designed around a psychological model of behaviour, was a 5 year campaign designed to reduce the use of inappropriate and excessive speed on Scotland's roads. The campaign began in November 1998 with the introduction of the Foolsspeed logo in tv advertising, and publicity materials. The adverts had a strong theoretical underpinning and deliberately avoided using graphic, fear-arousing imagery. The campaign was directed at the general driving population but a key sub-group for the campaign was drivers with a known tendency to speed eg 25-44 year old males in social classes ABC1. The evaluation found that the campaign elements generated high levels of awareness. All three adverts were liked, felt to be easy to understand and not to 'talk down' to the audience. Respondents who were frequent speeders were more likely than infrequent speeders to indicate that the ads made them 'feel bad' about how they drove, and that they drove too fast. Attitudes towards speeding became significantly more negative over the course of the campaign. The evaluation concluded that the campaign appears to have been effective in changing attitudes regarding speeding.

4.5 Management of Work-related Road Safety

This research was carried out to establish the extent of work-related road safety practices and policies in organisations in Scotland in order to highlight examples of good practice - 1000 organisations were surveyed to identify the extent to which road safety is considered a health and safety issue. 44% of organisations had less than 10% of their workforce driving as part of their job, a third had between 10% and 50% with driving responsibilities and 13% stated that at least half of their workforce drove as part of their job. Travel by peripatetic/professional/sales staff was the most typical driving activity. Of work-related accidents that had occurred during the past 3 years, the majority of organisations had experienced a maximum of 10 accidents; however 3% claimed to have had 50 or more accidents. 64% of organisations claimed to have a policy relating to safe driving procedures; the most common procedure was driver training, followed by a written policy statement and then driver assessments. The most common benefit was meeting a moral duty to employees and public, followed by reducing insurance premiums and improving overall performance. A third of organisations indicated that accident prevention policies produced effective results and only 5% reported that the procedures had not worked well. Findings from the research, a model of good practice and full case studies are included in a full report published by the Health and Safety Executive.

4.6 Evaluation of the West Lothian Driver Improvement Scheme

Research was commissioned to evaluate a pilot Driver Improvement Scheme introduced in West Lothian in 1998, along with assessment of other schemes operating in the UK to inform consideration of the future of Driver Improvement Schemes in Scotland. National research suggests that Driver Improvement is an effective way of addressing the driving behaviour of those charged with Section 3 offences. Respondents in the West Lothian pilot were positive about the scheme, suggesting that driver improvement schemes in Scotland would be both practical and desirable. The research found that the model operated in England and Wales could be applied in Scotland without fundamental alteration to the methods used to implement it; the research identified that some aspects of both the England and Wales and the West Lothian pilot could be improved but these were minor. Three models of provision for a Driver Improvement Scheme in Scotland were identified - a single national provider;

local providers serving each of the Procurator Fiscal or police force areas; or a free market, with a range of providers offering driving improvement training.

5. Forthcoming projects

5.1 Evaluation of drink drive campaign

This research will test awareness of the drink drive campaign held in the summer and festive seasons of 2002 and will explore drivers' attitudes towards the campaign and whether it has an impact on driving behaviour. The research will inform the Scottish Road Safety Campaign on the success/appropriate targeting of drink drive campaigns.

5.2 Modal change and casualty targets

Cutting Killed or Seriously Injured casualties by 40% is an important government road safety objective. Changes in mode choice will impact on the ability to achieve targets and this needs to be a key factor in designing actions to cut casualties. The research will model the effects of mode change as targeted in local transport plans in terms of casualty numbers, taking into account exposure and risks relating to each mode.

5.3 Parental Attitudes to Road Safety Education

One of the recommendations for the implementation of a strategy for road safety education is the greater involvement of parents in the delivery of Road Safety Education. However, there is a lack of information on the current attitudes of Scottish parents to Road Safety Education for their children. This research would survey parents of 5-18 year olds, covering key periods relating to pedestrian safety, the transition between primary and secondary and the pre/young driver period. The outcome will inform the development of initiatives designed to involve parents in road safety education delivery.

5.4 Linking Road Safety to Sustainable Community Regeneration

This project will examine the potential for inter-agency working across a range of public and private sector agencies, along with local communities, to develop an accredited approach to community safety. The study will review current examples of good practice and from this develop guidelines which could be used in community regeneration projects.