Peter W Jones MInstP; Road Traffic Accidents

January 17, 2011

Edit  19/04/12

For more recent material, concerning the inadequate qualifications of most Police Road Traffic Accident Investigators, see my blog

www.westmidlandspoliceauthority.wordpress.com 

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October 4, 2009
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INDEX OF PARAGRAPHS

1   RAILWAY FREIGHT

2  BATH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND OTHER ITEMS

3  RAC FOUNDATION

4  THE INSTITUTE OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENT INVES TIGATORS

5   NICK  HERBERT   POLICING  MINISTER

6   HOC  SELECT COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT

 

PARAGRAPH 1    RAILWAY FREIGHT 

MOST  RAIL  LINES  ARE  UNDERUSED  AT   NIGHT.

  LONG  DISTANCE   FREIGHT  SHOULD  GO  BY RAIL

provided that Dr Beeching’s cuts of many years

ago have not rendered the rail system uneconomic

in particular cases. We need to think about improved rail freight capacity as well as High Speed Trains.

As I have shown elsewhere in these blogs 2007 HGV fatalities per 100 million kms are almost double the number for all other road vehicles. Fatalaties due to rail freight train accidents are very rare indeed.  The costs of rail accidents do not impinge substantially on the tax payer, but HGV fatal accident costs can not be attributed to the HGV industry because no adequate engineering investigations are conducted in the UK into the causes of road traffic accidents. The costs of most HGV accidents must therefore fall on the NHS  or car insurance.

 

PARAGRAPH 2.  BATH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND OTHER ITEMS 

A  BENDY  BUS  IS NOT  QUITE  AS TALL  AS  AN  HGV,  BUT  OTHERWISE  IT  IS  PRONE  TO  THE  SAME  PROBLEMS  AS  RIGID  HGV’S  WITH  A  TRAILER.  BENDY  BUSES    SHOULD  NOT  BE  USED  ON MOTORWAYS  OR    OTHER  HIGH  SPEED     ROADS.  AT  ONE  TIME  IT  WAS  ILLEGAL  TO  CARRY  PEOPLE  IN  A  TRAILER.   

 

   HGV’s with trailers, even if they do not jack knife, due to their enormous  weight  take a great deal of time to stop in an emergency.   Bath University’s  1999  Phd Thesis by Standen  [Towed Vehicle Aerodynamics] explains that caravans can be set oscillating by the wind and CJ Killers’

  M Eng project “The Dynamics of Towed Vehicles” of  2003

makes it clear that previously Bath University

had carried out extensive research on Articulated Lorries.

It is reasonable to assume therefore that Bath University researchers must have advised the HGV Industry

many years ago concerning the effect of side winds

on high aspect trailers.

   In the long term all high aspect trailer towers must use anemometers  and get wind forecasts from the Met Office before setting out on a journey .

See  part of  my  case  in  detail  (including dft accident statistics)  at

www.caravanaccidents3.wordpress.com  

Paragraphs  44  and  45  on HGV Trailers.

and  www.20six.co.uk/roadtrafficaccidents 

Put “The Dynamics of Towed Vehicles 2003 KillerCJ”

into Google and see my quote above in the last sentence

of page 9 section 2.1 

To see material on Standen’s results from the unpublished

(apart from these blogs) ITAI report of 2005 view

www.caravanaccidents2.wordpress.com

Go to “Archives for 2oo7” and view full index.

With reference to above see Standen on Wind Induced

snaking in Paragraph 10b

 See also www.aerodynamicsoftrailers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 PARAGRAPH 3

THE  RAC  FOUNDATION

Some weeks ago the  UK Royal Automobile Club  released a report from some of their leading experts which pointed out that Road Accident Investigation in the UK was fundamentally flawed because the Police Investigators placed too much emphasis on the detection of “law breaking,” with a determination of the fundamental causes of road accidents given a subsidiary or non existent place.

Professor Glaister also pointed out that

_________________________________________________________________________

In the last eleven years 337 people have died in UK air accidents.
In the same period 114 have died in train accidents.
And 53 people have been killed in UK territorial waters or on UK registered vessels.
For each of these accidents there was provision for an exhaustive inquiry by the Air, Rail or Marine Accident Investigation Branches.
Yet astonishingly, when it comes to accidents on the nation’s roads – where almost 36,781 people died over the same span of time – there is no provision for a similar body to uncover what happened and then make safety recommendations to prevent the same type of thing reoccurring

__________________________________________________________________________

see www.aerodynamicsoftrailers.wordpress.com

See also racfoundation’s Dr Chris Elliot’s paper by

Googling “Dr Chris Elliot.”

 

PARAGRAPH 4

MAINLY CONCERNING THE ITAI.

In the UK, and I suspect in a great many other countries, Accident Investigators are almost entirely recruited from serving police officers due no doubt to the nature of the job. I think that there is an urgent need to give consideration to recruiting further Accident Investigators with graduate qualifications (at least) in Mechanical and other branches of Engineering and/or Physics. Groups of  Police forces need at least one highly qualified engineer who can give a lead in rectifying the flaw that the RAC have discovered in the UK accident investigation process.

The current system seems to be working well as it determines who is to blame for accidents and I think it would make better use of existing officers and their resources if their ranks were supplemented, rather than have a new organisation superimposed as the RAC now propose.

Over a period of some years it seems to me that the Police Authorities have changed their policy and recruited a number of graduates, some of whom have performed very well and reached prominent positions. We would not have reached the current critical position reported by the RAC if adequate numbers of these graduates had been engineers or physicists recruited specifically for Accident Investigation or similar posts where appropriate knowledge was essential.
There is now a clear aim for professional engineers in the EU
and that is to reach “Chartered Status” (C Eng). The type of graduate special entry that I am referring to for police accident investigations would therefore need to have the appropriate academic qualifications to enable them to work towards  CEng.

Local Police Authorities also need to review policies for the recruitment of serving police officers to posts as accident investigators. I do not serve as a local council representative on a police authority so have no inside knowledge of the current policies, but for several years I was an Affiliate of the Institute Traffic Accident Investigators (The “Training Grade” of membership) and became very familiar with procedures as I read their journals and news letters and attended some training sessions/seminars as well as exchanging much information via their private ( ie not officially linked to the ITAI) website/scientific chat room.
www.itai.org  is the official internet site for the ITAI.
All I wish to draw attention to can be confirmed by looking at the public inter net site. It is not clear from this site whether any initial relevant qualifications must be held before entering into the ITAI “training grade.” I know that no relevant academic qualifications were required in the past  and am rather disturbed to see that this has possibly not been altered. For many years Nurses wishing to work towards qualification as a State Registered Nurse had to have at least 4 “C” grades at GCE “O” level (including Biology), whereas for the comparable job today GCE “A” levels are likely to be a requirement as all nurses are in future going to be university graduates.

The ITAI is a body which is quite independent of the Police or local or National Government; I only quote their web site as the requirements are very likely similar to those of the Police Authorities.

When this question is investigated I hope it will be agreed that Police Officers transferring to Accident Investigation must have at least 5 GCSE “C” grades or above and these must include English, Maths and Physics.

Over the last six years I have spent a great deal of my retirement looking at the safety of one small section of the motoring industry:- trailers, particularly the high aspect variety such as HGV’s and Caravans. In 2005 I produced a report on this matter for the Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators (ITAI). This arose because a group of concerned members had encouraged me (via a restricted inter net access site for accident investigators) to research this matter. The report (see Ref 2 below) was not presented to the 2005 ITAI Conference as it was felt that the ITAI did not wish to be the first body to draw attention to this problem ( this was the reason given to me in private by an ITAI official). I should point out that almost all ITAI members are existing or former UK Police Road Traffic Accident Investigators. The ITAI is one of the bodies that validates accident investigators qualifications.
The recent RAC report concerning UK Police Accident Investigators prompts me to reveal the main reason (as I saw things) that gave rise to a number of ITAI members asking me to investigate ( see Ref 3 below). I was “leaked” details of the tyre marks made on the road in a typical caravan snaking accident. (When a caravan “snakes” it exhibits lateral oscillations which can grow in intensity until the caravan eventually over turns.)
Over a period of many years it had been assumed that “burst caravan tyres” was the primary cause of “snaking” but following an analysis of the above “accident” tyre marks I was able to show that it was more probable that the snaking caused the tyres to burst. I was also able to report that Bath University wind tunnel research had shown that a large high sided vehicle overtaking a caravan could destabilise same. Bath University had also shown that strong winds can cause high sided trailers to “snake/oscillate,” but they have not researched caravan/trailer over run brakes. The latter is to be expected as I was able to show using only elementary Physics that this type of brake actuating mechanism can be very unreliable and at times dangerous.
The over run brake system, plus the friction based stabiliser fitted to nearly all new caravans, is more expensive than the electric brakes used in the USA for over thirty years.

The above only concerns trailers, but as some of them are huge and there is intense industry lobbying to have the size increased this matter should be understood by everyone who drives.

NB

MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE READING THE ABOVE ARE OVERLOOKING THE IMPORTANT LATE OCTOBER 2009

 EDIT SHOWN BELOW.

References.
 

(2)
www.20six.co.uk/roadtrafficaccidents    and  www.caravanaccidents2.wordpress.com 

were published on the web in early 2007 and at that time contained mainly the report I wrote for the ITAI in 2005. This can be found now by scrolling down to find the original index.
(3) See paragraph 601

www.caravanaccidents2.wordpress.com

 
 
 
 
 PARAGRAPH 5   POLICING MINISTER  NICK   HERBERT

 EDIT  JANUARY  2011

COPIED FROM BBC INTERNET NEWS 

 
 
 
 
 

 

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Home12 January 2011 Last updated at 12:55

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Minister suggests ‘fast-tracking’ police recruits 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Currently all new recruits must undergo the same basic training

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Police forces could be encouraged to introduce a fast track recruitment scheme, a minister has suggested.

Policing Minister Nick Herbert said the idea of making all new recruits join at the lowest rank of constable was no longer “fit for purpose”.

He told a national conference: “The service needs to be open, more representative and diverse. It needs to attract the brightest and the best.”

 
Continue reading the main story
 
 
UK
—————————————————————————————————–
 

 PWJ

   COUNCILLORS  IN BIRMINGHAM HAVE THE POWER TO RECTIFY THIS MATTER NOW.  THEY COULD APPOINT A SUITABLY QUALIFIED  CHARTERED ENGINEER TO  ADVISE THE WEST MIDALNDS POLICE  SO THAT  THEY  WOULD BE CAPABLE OF INVESTIGATING THE CAUSES OF ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, PARTICULARLY CARAVAN AND HGV TRAILER ACCIDENTS.

 FOR  DECADES   THE  ABSENCE  OF  RELIABLE  INFORMATION  ON  THE TRUE  COST  OF  HGV  TRAILER  ACCIDENTS  HAS   DISTORTED   THE  WHOLE  OF   THE  UK’S   TRANSPORT  STRATEGY.

Edit 17-01-11

It can be seen below that the West Midlands Police Authority is not only ignoring the RAC Foundation, but also the HoC  Select Committee on Transport and the Transport Research Laboratory. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PARAGRAPH 6 

2009

http://www.parliament.uk

 
Select Committee on Transport Eleventh Report
Conclusions and recommendations   

  21. It is anomalous that the vast majority of work-related deaths are not examined by the Health and Safety Executive, purely because they occur on the roads. The Government should review the role of the Health and Safety Executive with regard to road safety to ensure that it fulfils its unique role in the strategy beyond 2010. (Paragraph 110)

 
 

  

 
Transport Research Laboratory
Extract from Evidence sent to the Select Committee on Transport.  2009 

27. Specialist accident investigation branches exist for air, rail and maritime accidents but there is no equivalent for road accidents. Where Police Collision Investigators do investigate serious and fatal road accidents their reports are not collated and little use is made of them beyond the case being investigated,

There could be much benefit in establishing a formal link between serious/fatal crash investigation and safety research by standardising certain aspects of investigations and encouraging recommendations from these specialists. Establishing this link would increase the value of police investigations by providing high quality accident data for safety research and thereby helping to reduce casualties.

 

EDIT 2009

 

 PROFESSOR STEPHEN GLAISTER

There seems to be a blogging problem and I cannot get this blog to accept an update so I have placed same in

www.trialsite88.wordpress.com

Edit 2/12/09

The main purpose of the racfoundation.org having a press conference was to promote Dr Elliots’ paper.

To view the paper Google “Dr Chris Elliot.”

see also my blog:-

www.caravanaccidents4.wordpress.com