Safe Drivers and Vehicles

Cherry Allan's picture

New figures suggest more killer drivers are going unpunished

The number of drivers found guilty of any 'causing death' offence in England and Wales dropped by 11% between 2013 and 2014, even though the number of people killed on the roads has recently shown an upward trend.
Royal Courts of Justice

According to figures just released by the Ministry of Justice, 315 drivers were convicted of 'causing death' driving offences last year - an 11% fall compared with the 355 convictions for these offences in 2013.

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RhiaWeston's picture

An incomprehensible travesty of justice

Last week, an incomprehensible travesty of justice occurred in Kent. A driver who had sent and received 40 text messages whilst at the wheel and who then hit an 18-year-old cyclist on a straight stretch of road in broad daylight was cleared by a jury of causing the cyclist's death.
Daniel Squire was killed whilst training for an Ironman Triathlon

At Canterbury Crown Court on 20 March, 36-year-old Philip Sinden was cleared of causing the death of 18-year-old Daniel Squire on the A258 Dover Road on 7 September 2013.

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RhiaWeston's picture

We need road crash victims' rights

The insensitive treatment of Michael Mason's grieving family by the Metropolitan Police is representative of the experience of many road crash victims. CTC's Rhia Weston explains the need for the Victims Bill to enshrine the rights of those victimised by road crime.
Roger Geffen at Michael Mason vigil. Photo by Joe Dunckley

The Metropolitan Police’s very public to-ing and fro-ing in the Michael Mason case has appalled many people, so much so that the fundraising appeal launched by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund to start a private prosecution of the driver involved received over £6,000 in the 24 hours and has now reached £21,000

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Victoria Hazael's picture

Does the Driving Test need to change?

Over eight decades the Driving Test has undergone many changes but, as we know from bitter experience fighting for justice for cyclists at CTC, a minority of drivers do not understand how to drive safely near cyclists. That is why CTC's Victoria Hazael wants to see a few changes made to the test.
UK Driving Licence and paper copy with permission from DVLA

Eighty years ago this week, Mr Beene of Kensington, London was the first person to pass the practical driving test. Of course, the roads in the UK were very different in 1935 - there were just two million drivers, now there are 27 million. So, does the Driving Test equip motorists for driving in 2015? 

RhiaWeston's picture

Police U-turn on prosecution in Michael Mason case

Under pressure from Michael Mason's family's campaign for justice, the Metropolitan Police have backtracked on their decision not to pass the case file involving his death to the Crown Prosecution Service for review.
Michael Mason was killed cycling on Regent's Street, London
With support from the Cyclists' Defence Fund, the family of 70-year-old Michael Mason who was hit from behind by a driver on Regent Street on 25 February 2014, have been fighting for answers as to why the police did not inform the CPS of the case. Michael died on 14 March, 19 days after the incident. 
 

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RhiaWeston's picture

Victims and campaigners invited to justice manifesto launch

In the week when the Prime Minister expressed his support for the review of driving offences and penalties, victims of road crime and road safety campaigners are being invited to the House of Commons for the launch of a manifesto for better justice.
Parliament

The Government's driving offences and penalties review, announced in May 2014, is now truly under way - thanks in large measure to CTC's Road Justice campaign.

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Victoria Hazael's picture

Should children cycle on the pavement?

A police officer in Lincolnshire reportedly threatened to confiscate a four-year-old girl's bicycle because she was cycling on the pavement. CTC's Victoria Hazael explains where the law stands on children cycling on the pavement.
A four-year old girl cycling in the park

As a mum of a four-year-old who regularly cycles on the pavement, I must confess I was really shocked when I read the report in Grantham Journal, that four-year-old Sophie Lindley was stopped by Lincolnshire Police as she was cycling to school on the pavement.

Roger Geffen's picture

Lords debate lorry safety

A conference last week on cycle-lorry safety led to a useful debate in the House of Lords yesterday on the subject.
A construction lorry

The conference, held on Thursday 26 February, was organised by Transport for London’s 'Construction Logistics and Cycle Safety' (CLoCS) project and was the fourth progress event. Over 600 people attended it. 

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RhiaWeston's picture

Vigil to mark anniversary of Michael Mason’s death

To mark one year since Michael Mason was killed in a road crash in London, the campaign group Stop Killing Cyclists will hold a ride and vigil on Regent Street on Friday 13 March, with the support of the Cyclists' Defence Fund.
Michael Mason, who was killed cycling on Regent Street

Mick was hit from behind by a car on Regent Street on 25 February 2014, dying in hospital 19 days later. The ride and vigil will be held to remember Mick - and the many other people who have lost their lives on London’s roads and across the UK.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Traffic police and other enforcement agencies

More effective traffic policing is crucial for cyclists, and also helps tackle one of the biggest fears that many others have about taking up cycling in the first place - namely, bad driving...
Cyclist and police car
Headline Messages: 
  • A commitment from the police to tackle road crime plays a crucial role in protecting the public from bad driving.
  • The more traffic police there are and the more resources they have, the stronger the chance that bad drivers will be caught and brought to justice.
  • Well-trained traffic officers who investigate road collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians thoroughly can make all the difference to the likelihood of a successful prosecution. This, backed up by well-designed incident reporting systems and appropriate charging decisions, acts as a powerful deterrent against bad driving. 
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and other agencies with road safety responsibilities also have an important part to play in enforcing road traffic law, and are as reliant as the police on adequate resourcing and good training.
Key facts: 
  • In France, a ‘zero tolerance’ policy over speeding offences, and substantial investment in safety cameras and road traffic policing, saw road deaths drop by 43% (2001–2007). 45% of French drivers have said that ‘fear of punishment’ made them change their behaviour.
  • Fewer breath tests lead to more drink-drive casualties and more people driving over the limit.
  • Traffic police levels in England and Wales fell by 37% from 2002/3-2013/14, from almost 7,000 uniformed officers down to just 4,356. During this time, total policing levels fluctuated a little from year to year, but not nearly to this degree: police officers in March 2014 numbered about 3.5% less than in 2003.
  • In 2014, just 3.4% of all the police in England and Wales exercised traffic responsibilities; in 2013/14, they recorded about 59% fewer ‘dangerous driving’ crimes than in 2002/03.
  • Evidence suggests that offence history and being at fault in a road crash is clearly linked.
  • The Health and Safety Executive’s role extends to work-related road travel; around a quarter of all road casualties in Great Britain involve a driver/rider who is at work at the time (or their passenger(s)).
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Investing in roads policing is highly effective, not only for promoting road safety, but also in tackling other forms of crime. It should be prioritised by national government and included in all overarching policing strategies and plans (e.g. the Strategic Priority Requirement in England and Wales). This would strengthen the case for individual police forces throughout the UK and Police and Crime Commissioners (England and Wales) to give it the priority it deserves.    
  • Police and Crime Commissioners and local authority crime reduction/safety partnerships must prioritise speeding, dangerous driving and other road traffic offences as key issues to address.
  • The police should always refer serious injury collisions up to the prosecution service for a charging decision, not just those that result in a fatality. If they do not charge or decide not to refer the case, the police should be required to explain their decision systematically.
  • The police should avoid simply sending offending drivers on speed awareness or other remedial courses instead of prosecuting them.  Such courses should be available as court sanctions, not as an alternative to prosecution.
  • The police should be trained so that they understand the practical and legal issues facing cyclists and other non-motorised users.
  • Wherever possible, the police should respond to any reported collision involving a cyclist or pedestrian by:
    • Attending  the scene, taking statements and gathering evidence from witnesses;
    • Investigating incidents that result in very serious injury as thoroughly as those that result in death – the name of the College of Policing’s 'Investigating Road Deaths' manual should be changed, e.g. 'Investigating Road Crashes', to reflect the fact that it covers serious as well as fatal injuries;
    • Investigating reports of seriously bad or aggressive driving even when no injury occurs and allocating sufficient resources to do so – after all, such drivers are often involved in other criminal activity; 
    • Investigating and where possible charging motorists who fail to stop with ‘leaving the scene of the accident’.
  • The police should facilitate collision and ‘near miss’ reporting (e.g. via online systems)
  • The victims of road crashes involving unlawful driving should be entitled to the same support services that other victims of crime receive.
  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should take a more proactive line over work-related road safety and should receive adequate funds to do so.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
March 2015
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