As the conservative party chooses a new leader, something that will result in a new Prime Minister of the UK, both candidates have weighed in with their views on transport policy. For her part, Liz Truss has said she is willing to look at making motorway speed limits “advisory”.
The latest figures from the Department for Transport in its annual Reported Road Casualties Great Britain report show the number of people killed or seriously injured in tyre-related incidents fell to 158 from 162. Slight injuries were also down meaning the total number of casualties was 876, its lowest level recorded. Following the welcome but slight decrease in casualties caused by tyre-related incidents in 2016, TyreSafe is urging drivers and stakeholders to continue their efforts, not become complacent. Indeed, Scottish figures were significantly worse than 12 months ago.
Owing to the fact that TyreSafe now has over 100 active members (many of which are large and/or influential businesses in their respective areas), the organisation is better placed than ever to effect change and there certainly seems to have been progress towards the association’s goal of changing hearts and minds in relation to tyres. As Stuart Jackson said during his presentation at the recent TyreSafe annual briefing, “let’s not talk about it being a commodity, it is a safety critical product”.
Yesterday, 9 July 2015, TyreSafe held its annual industry briefing at the National Motorcycle Museum near Solihull. During the event TyreSafe announced the fun, shall we say “suggestive” theme for this year’s Tyre Safety Month and presented case studies of previous Tyre Safety Month activities alongside an update from Highways England’s Stuart Lovatt. However, as interesting as this was, the results of TyreSafe’s most recent tread depth survey, showing that there are potentially up to 10 million illegal and dangerous tyres on Britain’s roads – around 27 per cent of the whole market – really stood out.
Following on from the news that WheelRight is piloting a few pressure check system at Keele services on the M6, Tyres & Accessories considers what the potential is for a networked tyre monitoring system. As unusual as an external tyre pressure monitoring system is, the obvious question with WheelRight is not “how does it work?”, but rather “why are they doing this?” Of course, the Keele pressure bay trial offers a good bit of safety awareness, but there is a business case too. From T&A’s point of view the most interesting answer to our own question is two-fold -retail networks and big data.
WheelRight and the Highways Agency are trialling a drive-over tyre pressure measuring system at Keele Services between junctions 15 and 16 of the M6 (southbound) in what is thought to be a world first. The pilot scheme, which is running in association with motorway services firm Welcome Break, centres on a novel system that measures tyre pressure without any on-board equipment and without drivers having to leave their vehicles.
It has been reported that the government is set for further expenditure on speed cameras for the motorway network. Currently the cameras, which are positioned on the M25 and use digital technology, are designed to catch motorists breaking the 70 mph speed limit.
A £15 million investment by the Highways Agency will add thousands of new chargepoints at key locations across the UK’s road network and is set to be completed by 2020.
It will mean that 95 per cent of the time, motorists will be no more than 20 miles from a chargepoint. Wherever feasible these will be rapid chargers, which are capable of charging an electric vehicle to 80 per cent of capacity in less than 30 minutes.
Breakdowns and crashes are amongst the best reasons for using motorway hard shoulders. However, not everyone pulls over for the best reasons. According to the Highways Agency, wheeler-dealers trading cars, people picking flowers, and a driver who thought the “fire” notification on their dashboard display meant their car was ablaze – instead of the name of the Adele track they were listening to are all examples of less than ideal uses of our beloved tarmac.
Over two thirds of motorists want the Government to apply the brakes to plans to lower speeds limits on the motorway according to a new poll by Motorpoint. A web-based survey by the car supermarket chain found 78.1 per cent of drivers opposed proposals announced earlier this year to restrict speeds on a section of the M1 to 60mph. Over 4,100 people participated in the poll on the company’s website – www.motorpoint.co.uk/.
Half of all road markings on England’s highways are so worn that they need replacing immediately or need to be scheduled for replacement now, according to a survey of nearly 4,000km of the country’s roads. LifeLines England, a report based on the survey carried out by the Road Safety Markings Association, and published today (13 March), found that 52 per cent of markings on motorways, 42 per cent on dual carriageways, and 48 per cent on single carriageways all need replacing immediately or need to be scheduled for replacement now. The survey, the most comprehensive published of its kind, also shows that just 16 per cent of markings on England’s motorways and 13 per cent on single carriageways make the “excellent” grade.
The Highways Agency took top honours at the recent TyreSafe awards for its efforts in raising public awareness of tyre safety issues. The ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award was presented as part of the first ever TyreSafe Awards, which celebrated the activities and achievements of a wide range of businesses and organisations in encouraging better tyre care and maintenance. It seems the introduction of the “Safe Tyres Save Lives” message on motorway matrix signs across the UK made a real impact.
Motorists are set to benefit from a more effective road network and will have a greater say in how their roads operate. Turning the Highways Agency into a government-owned company will improve efficiency and reduce running costs, with taxpayers expected to benefit from savings of at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.