Network News Update No.3

Click here to download the 3rd bi-monthly Network News Update for Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group.

Highlights this month include:

  • A new fact sheet on Mobility Scooters & Public Transport.
  • EU insurance decision
  • Speed limiters for mobility scooters
  • Smart Motorways & Older Drivers
  • Round-up of our achievements to date

The News Update will be available bi-monthly in addition to occasional networking meetings at a central Kent location.

We will warmly welcome your contributions to the News Updates, we not only want them to create awareness around senior road safety issues for drivers, passengers, pedestrians or mobility scooter users, but to be a catalyst for discussion and action.

In The Headlines

Click here to download the full bi-monthly Network News Update for Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group.

MOBILITY SCOOTER DEATHS:

The latest official figures are still those of 2016 and 14 fatalities. In a two month late summer period no less than six deaths in Central England alone are to be found on the internet, plus notes of two separate coroners writing to the Minister highlighting concerns and trends.

There can be little doubt the rise from one fatality in 2012 to 14 in 2016 will be reflected again with sharp increases for 2017 and 2018. Despite
many calls for improved legislation and training over the last decade no changes are imminent; everything revolves around moral obligation and voluntary initiatives but at huge cost to those involved in incidents.

DEMENTIA and OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS (Diagnosed or Pre Diagnosis):

A recurring feature of our work has been questions from family and friends worried about drivers whose ability is questionable. In many cases they have taken responsible and far reaching steps to try to mitigate untoward events but nagging doubts remain. ‘Still Safe to Drive’ videos and S.E. Driveability are invaluable sources of help to pass on. The following examples illustrate catastrophe when things go horribly wrong.

M40 DEATH CRASH:

Mid October witnessed three fatalities in a crash on the M40 during daylight hours. A Subaru Forester towing a caravan was travelling South in lane three on the Northbound carriageway and had done so for 5 miles. Dash-cam footage revealed numerous vehicles having to take emergency evasive action prior to the head on crash – the 80 year old driver and passenger of the Subaru and the 30 year old in the other vehicle killed. The Subaru was foreign registered.

Clearly wrong to pre judge circumstance but the Subaru was on the wrong carriageway in lane three whereas you might have expected lane one if mistakenly driving on the wrong side of the road, it had travelled five miles against on-coming traffic, the driver, 80 years old, and been involved in another police attended accident in the run up to this accident. The big question again around age related factors, medical episodes and possible early warning factors.

BUS CRASH FATALITIES – DRIVER DEMENTIA:

In the last edition of ‘news update’ we highlighted the case of a then 75 year old bus driver working 70+ hours weeks; he also had an appalling driving record over the previous 3 years prior to the fatal crash and effectively the bus company failed to act and in the judges words put driver shortage ahead of any other factors. The bus company has now been fined £2.3 MILLION, the driver now subject to a medical supervision order imposed since he was/is now unfit to stand trial.

It is likely this case will have major ramifications. Although not diagnosed with dementia at the time of the accident there had been a catalogue of warnings which were not acted on; also a question about the mandatory annual PCV medical. This case highlights with all the warning signs if a referral had been made to the Midland counterparts of S.E. Driveability a tragedy may well have been avoided; acknowledging pre dementia diagnosis indicators and acting with due diligence are paramount.

Network News Update No. 1

Click here to download the first bi-monthly Network News Update for Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group.

The News Update will be available bi-monthly in addition to three networking meetings per year at a central Kent location.

We will warmly welcome your contributions to the News Updates, we not only want them to create awareness around senior road safety issues for drivers, passengers, pedestrians or mobility scooter users, but to be a catalyst for discussion and action.

In the Headlines

Click here to download the full bi-monthly Network News Update for Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group.

77 YEAR OLD DEATH CRASH:  Though not in Kent, currently reported in the press the case of a 77 year old Coventry bus driver, working for a national company, who ploughed into a supermarket killing a 7 year old boy and grandmother three years ago. A ‘trial of evidence’ has now taken place in the absence of the driver who had been judged unfit with a diagnosis of dementia to stand trial.

It transpires he had received around 24 warning letters about his driving, there was concern raised by an undercover inspector who said his driving did not meet initial training standards, 4 previous accidents in recent years plus working excessive hours prior to the accident.  The bus company have pleaded guilty to Health and Safety offences.  A sad case by all standards, and shows that ‘self-regulation’ as to fitness to drive has failed, maybe friends / family were not aware or could not intervene, ‘statutory regulation’ and common sense appeared to have failed on the part of the Company.

Comment: This case is one of many high profile cases involving senior drivers that demonstrates vigilance and action is needed by all. No doubt there are many more lesser but nevertheless serious incidents – where age and declining health and ability may be salient factors. There has to be a balance between safety of all road users, drivers or pedestrians and equally important an individual’s independence and mobility.

EYESIGHT – Driver Aged 87 Driving Wrong Way on A3:  Currently DVSA have an eyesight campaign focused on the requirement for drivers to be able to read a number plate at 20 metres; GEM Motoring Assist through their charitable arm ‘Still Safe to Drive’ have organised a petition calling for much stricter eyesight rules for drivers. Three police forces are implementing eyesight checks for all drivers stopped. All of these initiatives stem from growing concerns from incidents occurring with drivers subsequently found to have deficient eyesight for driving.

One recently reported case study featured an 87 year driver driving the wrong way on the A3 causing a police car to take evasive action – in the roadside test the drivers eyesight proved to be well under half of the minimum required standard. The question also arises around mobility scooter users who routinely use public roads but are not subject to any regulations, assessment, health checks including no licensing or compulsory insurance.

CASE STUDY – MOBILITY SCOOTERS: On holiday recently in Yorkshire the regional TV news program Look North featured an editorial about a mobility scooter accident.  An 85 year old lady appearing otherwise as a very fit and healthy lady had been hit by a mobility scooter whilst walking on the pavement suffering leg trauma albeit no broken bones. She had now been immobile since, been treated at hospital a further four times and now has a leg infection; because of her age and an older body’s healing process her chances of full recovery are probably no better than 50/50.

The mobility scooter rider was uninsured and as a result of this there is the probability of a civil claim and the added trauma for all it will bring. Interestingly the editorial went on to show clips of a South Yorkshire Police mobility scooter training initiative run in conjunction with a local mobility scooter retailer.
Comment; with estimated sales of mobility scooters of 80,000 units per year there has and continues to be considerable concern regarding accidents, inappropriate and dangerous use, and lack of regulation.

Launch Meeting October 2018

Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group
Inaugural Launch and Presentation

Wednesday 24th October 2018 at 2.15pm
Registration / light refreshments from 1.45pm

Kent and Medway Road Safety Experience
Marconi Way, Rochester, ME1 2XQ.
(Close proximity to M2 and M20 motorways.)

By kind permission of KFRS – Kent and Medway Road Safety Experience.

Main presentation

Rob Heard, Founder ‘The Older Driver’s Forum’ Hampshire –
an innovative project for ‘keeping older motorists on the road
safely for longer’.

Rob is a serving police officer and in 2014 he and the Forum were awarded by ACPO the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Road Safety’ award. Rob is also the national police lead for older driver’s road safety and member of several influential committee’s and advisory groups.

Short Supporting Presentations Relevant to Road Safety

  • Independence and mobility
  • Dementia
  • Mobility Scooters / powered wheelchairs

We have scheduled the presentations to conclude around 4.00pm
following which there will be the opportunity for informal networking,
or alternatively the opportunity to have a conducted tour of the Road
Safety Experience kindly offered by Kent Fire and Rescue Service Staff.

NOTE: This is an open invitation for you, and / or colleagues to attend this inaugural meeting, however we would appreciate if you would confirm if attending.

The Focus Group will meet three times a year at a central location in Kent, there will also be a bi-monthly ‘networking’ newsletter; there is no membership subscription.

New Website Launched

Senior Road Safety Kent Focus Group is proud to announce the launch of its new website.

The site brings together 3 years of research. There is a wealth of practical information for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and mobility scooter users.

Details of upcoming events by the Senior Road Safety Kent Focus Group will be posted on the site.