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Congress Seeking Ways To Change Drivers' Behaviour - February 23rd 2006

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    Britain's top road safety experts meet next week to try to find the answer to their toughest challenge: improving driver and rider behaviour.

    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents National Road Safety Congress at the Blackpool Hilton Hotel will be opened on Monday (Feb 27) by Dr Stephen Ladyman, Minister of State for Transport.

    More than 250 delegates will attend the conference, The Road to Safer Behaviour, sponsored by Britax, which runs until Wednesday, March 1.

    Kevin Clinton, RoSPA Head of Road Safety, said: "There are 90 deaths or serious injuries on our roads each day and virtually all of these are caused by some form of unsafe behaviour by one or more road users.

    "Some will result from minor errors, but many will be because of more serious failures of judgement or concentration, or deliberately dangerous and illegal actions. We have to bring about behavioural change in road users - especially drivers and motorcyclists.

    "There are well known problems with young drivers, but changing the behaviour of experienced motorists who have built bad habits into their driving can be just as difficult. Many may consider they are good drivers when they are not."

    The conference will look at education and training to address young people's attitudes as they begin to think about learning to drive and then become L-drivers.

    Refresher training and the role of employers of people who drive as part of their job will be considered when tackling experienced drivers.

    "Given the high risks faced by motorcyclists, there will be a special focus on improving training for them and helping them to develop their experience, because risk reduces as experience increases," Kevin Clinton said.

    "We will consider detailed research into why and how crashes happen, national policies for reducing them and practical case studies of successful accident prevention schemes. In some cases, changing the road environment can protect vulnerable road users, but we will think about possible improvements in education and training for young pedestrians and cyclists."

    Among those at the sell-out event will be road safety managers, accident prevention officers, police, highways safety engineers, trainers, health workers, councillors and consultants.