Virtual Reality: Road Safety

Since April 2015, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) has attended over 1,890 road traffic collisions (RTCs) where there have been 39 fatalities and 867 rescues with injuries. The Service will be embracing virtual reality (VR) technology to raise awareness of the dangers on our roads and the Fatal 5, with a focus on using a mobile phone while driving.

SWFRS has found that 22% of its RTCs in the last 18 months have been between the hours of 3pm and 5:59pm, with 246 of those incidents taking place on ‘A’ roads.

The 360° VR video gives drivers the most realistic experience of a road traffic collision from the front seat passenger's perspective, with users experiencing a full crash scene extrication. The technology incorporates 360° filming and is designed to show drivers the dangers of the roads and what can happen if things go wrong, especially when being distracted and using a mobile phone while driving.

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Driving for Work: Incident Reporting and Investigation

RoSPA has published a new and free to download 'Driving for Work: Incident Reporting and Investigation' guide. It offers simple advice for developing and implementing a comprehensive incident reporting and investigation policy.

Accidents are very costly in human and financial terms but, if investigated correctly, they also represent highly valuable safety learning opportunities. However, many factors can compromise good investigations, such as:

  • Only concentrating on immediate causes and not underlying root causes
  • A lack of understanding and skill by investigators
  • Not using structured methods to integrate evidence
  • A tendency to only seek to attribute blame
  • Only seeking evidence that satisfies preconceptions and stopping the investigation too soon
  • Failure to gather all the evidence (particularly poor interviewing techniques)
  • Fear of recrimination and traumatised victims and witnesses inhibiting openness
  • Not scaling investigations to the seriousness or learning potential of the accident or incident (investigating everything in the same way)
  • Poor communication of lessons learned
  • Failure to implement recommendations from the investigation

Therefore, organisations need to have a structured, methodical approach to accident, incident and near miss reporting and investigation, with the right policies, procedures and equipment in place to be ready and able to conduct thorough investigations, with staff who are appropriately trained to do so.

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Road Safety Week: A Programme of Activities

A programme of activities is taking place across Carmarthenshire during Road Safety Week.

The aim of the week – which is being held between November 21 and 27 - is to raise awareness of road safety issues, and in particular, what we can all do to make our roads safer and reduce the number of accidents.

The council’s road safety team has organised various events from free child car seat checks, to walk to school initiatives, young driver education and older driver refresher courses.

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Sean Morley Memorial Prize

Earlier this month, the final of the Sean Morley Award 2016 was held at the Palace of Westminster. The award, an initiative of the road safety charity AIRSO (The Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers), is open to undergraduates of UK universities and rewards exceptional projects and dissertations which have a road safety theme.

Sean Morley, a 20 year old History and Politics undergraduate at Aberystwyth University was killed on September 2nd 2012 when he was hit by a car as he made his way home on foot after a night out with friends.

The Memorial Prize aims to promote research into road safety by attracting talented graduates to the field. In addition, it is hoped that the prize will provide a mechanism through which those just beginning their careers can bring their ideas to the wider road safety community. Most importantly, however, the Sean Morley Memorial Prize celebrates the life of a remarkable young man, whose needless loss reminds us why continued efforts to make our roads safer are so important.

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Injured Horse Rider Urges Drivers to Slow Down

An event rider from the Newcastle Emlyn area is urging drivers to slow down and take care when they drive on rural roads, following an accident only five minutes from her home between the villages of Rhydlewis and Brongest last week.

It was originally thought that Sophie Spiteri had suffered a clot on the lung following her fall on the tarmac, but she came away with only minor injuries.

A knowledgeable horse woman, Sophie can be seen riding her retired race horses and youngsters daily around the country lanes of Brongest, the village where she lives. On her usual daily morning hack on her five-year-old thoroughbred gelding Gulliver, she was met by a white van, and Sophie says the driver made no attempt to stop.

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Government Confirms Plans to Double Mobile Phone Penalties

The Government has confirmed it is planning to double the penalties for those caught using a mobile phone while driving.

Announced today (8 Nov) as part of a response into a consultation on the issue, the move means that those found committing the offence will be docked six points and receive a £200 fine.

In January, the Government launched its consultation seeking views on proposals to increase penalty points and fixed penalty notice (FPN) levels for the offence.

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Campaign Targets Phone Use Behind the Wheel

A crackdown on drivers using mobile phones behind the wheel has been launched today, as part of a Gwent Police-led initiative.

The four police forces in Wales, led by Gwent Police and in partnership with Road Safety Wales, have launched the enforcement campaign, in a bid to clamp down on ‘distracted driving’ - said to be the single biggest cause of death and injuries on roads in 2016.

The campaign, which will run until Sunday 20 November, will urge all road users to ‘keep their eyes on the road’, with officers speaking to drivers about the dangers of using phones and being distracted.

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Nearly a Third of Tyres Replaced in Wales are Already Illegal

A recent survey, compiled by TyreSafe, of over 25,000 tyres as they were being replaced at Welsh tyre outlets, showed that 29.1% were illegal.

October has been Tyre Safety Month, and Road Safety Wales Partners have been highlighting the importance of tyres to safer motoring through social media. It has been disappointing to note that two recent police campaigns highlighted problems with tyres on a number of vehicles. Drivers who fail to comply with the regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre. Leaving your tyre checks until the MOT is due could be an expensive decision.

Motorists can help reduce the risks to themselves and other road users by carrying out tyre checks every month and before long journeys. The air pressure in each tyre should follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings, and tread depth should be well over the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm, roughly the same as the rim of a 20p piece. If a 20p piece is inserted into the tread and the rim is visible, the tyre may be illegal. However, professional advice is to replace your tyres ideally as soon as they reach 3mm. While checking tread depth, also look out for any lumps, bumps, signs of ageing or scuffing on the tyre which may indicate internal damage.

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