This study concluded that talking on a hands-free phone can be just as distracting for a driver as a hand-held mobile. The research shows that drivers who are engaged in conversations that spark their visual imagination are much less able to spot and react to potential hazards. The study also concluded that when asked about a subject that required them to visualise it, participants focussed on a smaller area of the road ahead and failed to see hazards, even when they looked directly at them. The researchers suggest this shows conversations may use more of the brain’s visual processing resources than previously understood. They suggest that having a conversation which requires a driver to use their visual imagination creates competition for the brain’s processing capacity. As a result, they conclude that drivers miss road hazards that they might otherwise have spotted. Methodology The effects of imagery-induced distraction on hazard perception and eye movements were investigated in two simulated driving experiments. Experiment 1: 60 participants viewed and responded to 2 driving films containing hazards. Group 1 completed the task without distraction; group 2 completed a concurrent imagery inducing telephone task; group 3 completed a non imagery inducing telephone task. Experiment 2: eye-tracking data were collected from 46 participants while they reacted to hazards presented in 16 films of driving scenes. 8 films contained hazards presented in either central or peripheral vision and 8 contained no hazards. Half of the participants performed a concurrent imagery-inducing task. Results Compared to undistracted participants, dual-taskers were slower to respond to hazards; detected fewer hazards; committed more “looked but failed to see” errors; and demonstrated “visual tunnelling”. Telephone conversations may interfere with driving performance because the two tasks compete for similar processing resources, due to the imagery-evoking aspects of phone use.
The study was conducted by the University of Sussex
The 2016 THINK! summer drink drive campaign comprises two bursts of activity – one timed to coincide with the 2016 European Football Championship (EUROS), followed by social media activity in July-August for which THINK! will be enlisting the support of a number of sporting icons.
The EUROS campaign features a re-run of the #ButAlive ads which formed the basis of the 2015 THINK! festive drink drive campaign.
#ButAlive targets men aged 17-34 years and compares the devastating consequences of drink driving with the positive result of saying ‘no’ – staying alive.
The campaign is based on research which showed that young male drivers are often confused by the legal limit, and therefore set their own limit of ‘a couple’ of drinks before driving.
As they did not consider their behaviour to be drink driving, the previous THINK! campaign message, ‘don’t drink and drive’, was perceived as irrelevant by them.
#ButAlive sets out to shake confidence in the belief that it is safe to drive after a couple of drinks, using the message: ‘A second drink could double your chance of being in a fatal collision’.
Evaluation following the Christmas #ButAlive campaign showed a decline in the perceived safety of driving after one and two drinks; and an increase in the proportion of young men ‘strongly agreeing’ you could be a drink driver after two drinks. Perceived prevalence and social unacceptability of driving after one drink remained unchanged.
THINK! says the results show that #ButAlive ‘had a positive impact’.
The EURO 2016 campaign includes a re-run of the #ButAlive adverts on TV, radio and catch up TV – along with new content for social media relating to drink driving, football and ‘the morning after’.
The campaign will focus on the morning after England and Wales’ midweek matches on Thursday 16 and Monday 20 June.
Thank you to Road Safety GB for this information.
This statistical bulletin shows that 84% of car drivers and 83% of LGV drivers exceeded a 20mph speed limit during 2015.
The bulletin also reveals that 20mph roads had the lowest level of speed limit compliance in 2015. 16% of car drivers broke a 20mph limit by more than 10mph, while 31% exceeded the limit by between 5-10mph. 30mph limits were the second most flaunted, with 52% of car drivers exceeding the limit during 2015.
The bulletin presents estimates of traffic speeds in free flowing conditions on roads in Great Britain. The DfT says the statistics provide insight into the speeds at which drivers choose to travel and their compliance with speed limits.
The estimates are based on speed data collected from a sample of the DfT’s automatic traffic counters (ATCs), excluding locations where external factors might restrict driver behaviour (junctions, hills, sharp bends and speed enforcement cameras etc).
Despite the figures for 20 and 30mph limits, the bulletin says that since 2011 the percentage of vehicles exceeding the speed limit has generally declined. It also shows that average free flow speeds for all vehicle types across each road type have remained broadly stable.
On motorways, 46% of both cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) exceeded the speed limit (70 mph), a small and steady decrease from 2011, when the figure was at 49% for both vehicle types.
Of all road types, national speed limit single carriageways had the highest level of speed limit compliance, with 92% of cars not exceeding the 60mph limit.
44% of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) exceeded the speed limit on 30 mph roads, while on motorways 99% of HGVs complied with the 60mph limit.
The bulletin also gives details of collisions where ‘exceeding the speed limit’ was reported as a contributory factor.
In 2014, for all accidents, 2.5% of vehicles had exceeding the speed limit as a contributory factor allocated, while for fatal collisions this rose to 9.7%.
The report also reveals that there were 743,000 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued for speed limit offences in England and Wales in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 4%.
FPNs for speed limit offences accounted for 73% of all motoring FPNs in 2014, with the majority (90%) detected by speed cameras.
In 2015, more than 1.2m drivers attended a speed awareness course in the UK. The bulletin says attendance has increased year on year since 2011 ‘due to more police forces joining the scheme, and not solely due to more offences being committed’.For more information contact:
Download the bulletin from the GOV.UK website
Thank you to the road safety knowledge centre for this update.
The Government should not proceed with motorway 'all lane running' schemes while major safety concerns exist, the Transport Committee concluded.
In its report on the issue published on 30 June the Transport Committee says that while Highways England may ‘consider the matter settled’, the Transport Committee believes that ‘the argument has not been won’.
Under 'all lane running' the motorway hard shoulder is used as a live lane of traffic. Previously, the hard shoulder has only been used at peak times or to deal with congestion.
The Transport Committee rejects the Government’s notion that this is an ‘incremental change’ and a ‘logical extension of previous schemes’.
Instead, it concludes that the permanent loss of the hard shoulder in all lane running schemes is a ‘radical change and an unacceptable price to pay for such improvements’.For more information contact:
Download the report from the parliament.uk website
Thank you to the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
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DVSA has launched a consultation on changes to the driving test today (Thursday 14 July).
DVSA wants to make sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently in modern driving conditions.
The changes are to:
Find out how to take part