The world's first car-crash-proof person

Graham: surviving the car crashes that would kill you

The world's first car-crash-proof personMeet Graham: he’s rather ugly but he can do something nobody else in the world can: survive a car crash.

Created by the Victoria Transport Accident Commission in Australia, Graham has been designed to expose human vulnerability in a car accident by showing what’s necessary to survive one.

Graham thus has a flat, flabby face to absorb the energy of an impact against a steering wheel or windscreen. Ears are protected; his nose is tiny and there’s lots of fatty tissue around his cheekbones.

His brain is the same size as ours but his skull is much larger, almost helmet-sized; it’s packed with more fluid and ligaments to support the brain in an impact.

The world's first car-crash-proof person

Graham has ultra-strong ribs, a much larger chest and bizarre airbag-like sacks between each rib. They also provide more protection for his heart and other internal organs.

His skin is much thicker and tougher to protect against abrasions: lacerations in a car crash can strip skin down to the flesh, causing permanent nerve damage and scars. He also has knee joints that move in all directions, making it less likely to break.

Graham even has double-jointed lower legs to reduce the forces in an impact – and they also help him as a pedestrian, allowing him to jump out of the way of an accident altogether.

The world's first car-crash-proof person

Human bodies can only cope with impacts at speeds they can reach on their own. Running at full pace into a wall is survivable: driving a car into a wall is probably not. Hence Graham’s rather unique physique.

Of course, Graham isn’t a real person. He is a life-sized sculpture that’s now going on show in the city before going on a road safety roadshow.

“Graham is an educational tool that will serve the community for years to come as a reminder of why we need to develop a safer road system that will protect us when things go wrong,” said TAC chief executive Joe Calafiore.

Video: meet Graham

Pokemon GO

Pokémon Go: stop exploring when you’re driving

Pokemon Go drivingPokémon Go risks taking the illegal use of hand-held smartphones behind the wheel to a whole new level, the RAC has warned.

The addictive smartphone game has already broken download records but it’s vital not to get hooked into it when driving a car, says the RAC.

“It has to be Pokémon no-go when driving,” says RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams. “It is critical drivers are not tempted to have the app running on their mobile phones while driving” – not least because pedestrians hooked by the game and exploring their locality may create road safety dangers of their own.

Indeed, the RAC is also warning pedestrians “not to get caught into the Pokémon mist and find themselves stepping into the path of danger. The risks are obvious but this feels like a whole new level of gaming addition and another reason for people to be glued to their smartphones instead of looking where they are going.”

And even motorists who resist the lure of using Pokémon GO themselves may still be reeled in by the game – with requests from children to change route, slow down or speed up so they can catch Pokémon characters…

Pokémon GO was launched by Nintendo earlier this month. It is a location-based smartphone game for iOS and Android that uses augmented reality and GPS to locate virtual Pokémon in the real world as they walk.

Its success has seen Nintendo’s share price rise by more than 50% since its launch.

Motorway at night

Motor-no-way: 1 in 5 Brits steer clear

Motorway at nightAlthough they’re statistically Britain’s safest roads, motorways still strike fear into millions of British motorists, with a new survey revealing 22% of the nation’s 38 million drivers rarely use them.

The overwhelming reason, according to the analysis by the RAC? For nearly 7 in 10, it’s the speed at which traffic travels at: over half say this means they feel more at risk of being in an accident.

The statistics disagree: motorways carry 21% of British road traffic, yet account for 5.4% of road fatalities and less than 5% of injured road casualties.

“Despite motorways statistically being some of our safest roads, many people still seem to rely on partners, friends and family when they need to use one,” said the RAC’s Simon Williams.

“The message to them has to be: with the right instruction and advice, plenty of care and practice, confidence in motorway driving can easily grow.”

But there is another significant reason for not using motorways: 32% feel they’re simply too boring…

British motorway facts

  • There are 2,300 miles of motorway in Britain
  • They carry 21% of all traffic in Britain
  • In the year to September 2015, 65.4 billion miles were driven on British motorways
  • That’s an all-time high figure – and 2% up on 2014: yes, motorways are getting busier
  • Of the 1,775 fatalities on British roads in 2014, 96 occurred on a motorway
6 ways the Government plans to improve road safety

6 ways the Government plans to improve road safety

6 ways the Government plans to improve road safety

The Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed a series of proposals in a bid to improve safety on Britain’s roads.

A series of consultations on each of the specific proposals will take place in 2016, and they could come into force over the next few years.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to improve that record.

“Today we are delivering common sense proposals that balance tougher penalties for dangerous drivers with practical steps to help youngsters and other more vulnerable groups stay safe on our roads.”

The proposals, outlined below, come after a series of new laws were introduced in 2015 – including a ban on smoking in cars containing children, and an increase in speed limits of heavy goods vehicles.

Motorway training

Motorway training

It’s currently illegal for anyone with a provisional licence to drive on the motorway – even with an instructor in the passenger seat. The first time they’re allowed on the country’s fastest roads is after they’ve passed their driving test – and often unsupervised.

But the new proposals include allowing learner drivers on the motorway, as long as they’re in a dual-controlled car with a professional instructor.

[bctt tweet=”This is definitely not the time to have mum or dad in the passenger seat.” via=”no”]

RAC Foundation director, Steve Gooding, said: “One in five young drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test so putting the learning process under the spotlight has to be a good thing.

“Mile for mile, motorways are our safest roads but can be intimidating places for novice drivers. Exploring ways of letting learners have controlled access to them is welcome.

“The important thing is the official seal of approval provided by the approved driving instructor who will accompany them down the slip-road. This is definitely not the time to have mum or dad in the passenger seat.”

Mobile phone penalties increased

Mobile phone penalties increased

Since 2007, anyone caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving in the UK could be handed an on-the-spot fine and points on their licence. This was initially a fine of £60 and three points on your licence, rising to £100 in 2013.

But the DfT is proposing even heavier punishments for those caught on their phone while driving – including £150 fines and four points for car drivers. For drivers of larger vehicles, such as lorries, this could be increased to six penalty points.

£750,000 police grant

£750,000 police grant

One of the biggest criticisms the police face from motorists is the lack of manpower – with many concerned that speed cameras are being used instead of traffic cops patrolling the roads.

Speed cameras can’t spot dangerous driving or detect whether someone is driving under the influence of drink or drugs – which is why the Government is proposing a £750,000 grant to fund more police officers in England and Wales with expertise in drug recognition and impairment testing.

The move, the DfT suggests, will allow a more targeted enforcement of drug drivers. It comes after a special ‘drugalyser’ machine was introduced earlier this year, along with new laws to lock up anyone caught driving under the influence.

£50m cycle training grant

£50m cycle training grant

In 2014, more than 21,000 cyclists were injured in accidents on UK roads – including 3,401 who were seriously injured, and a shocking 113 who were killed.

In a move to reduce this figure, the Government is proposing a £50 million grant over the next four years to support the Bikeability cycle training scheme in schools. This grant is twofold, says the DfT: not only will it increase children’s road awareness, it’ll also encourage them to be healthy and active.

Since it was launched in 2007, more than 1.5m school children have so far received training through the Bikeability scheme – and a further 275,000 are expected to benefit from the service in 2015/16.

Cycle safety consultation

Cycle safety consultation

It’s not just through cycle training that the DfT plans to make riding a bike on UK roads safer. Since 1 September 2015, lorries driving through Central London have to be fitted with essential safety equipment to protect cyclists – including extra mirrors to prevent blind spots, and side protection bars to prevent cyclists being dragged under an HGV’s wheels.

Under the new proposals, the DfT has said it will consult on how to further improve cycle safety – including making sure sideguards on lorries are not removed after being fitted.

£2m driver education research programme

£2m driver education research programme

The driving test is changing – a 10 minute independent driving section has already been introduced, where the learner is instructed to use road signs and prior knowledge to get to a destination. More changes are already being trialled – including a 20 minute independent driving section, with candidates allowed to use a sat-nav to navigate.

But further changes could be on the horizon, with the DfT proposing a £2 million in-depth research programme in how driving training could be improved.

RAC Scouts

RAC joins the Scouts to promote road safety

RAC ScoutsThe RAC has teamed up with The Scout Association for a three-year road safety partnership that will reach more than half a million Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts.

The three-year partnership will see RAC patrols visit Scout Groups to teach road safety, focusing on campaigns such as how to be road smart in the 21st century and in-car safety.

The RAC road safety campaign will be combined with the Scouts’ road safety programme; the RAC will sponsor the Cub Scouts’ Road Safety activity badge, fronted by the Horace mascot, as part of this association.

The RAC has also created a Road Safety Awareness Charity, with the aim of raising enough funds to give every Cub Scout in Britain a high-visibility vest by 2018.

RAC road safety champion Jacqui Thompson said: “This a fantastic opportunity to engage and work with young people across the UK to raise awareness of road safety and to equip them with the skills to be road smart and develop as responsible and safe road users.

“Together with The Scout Association and the Department for Transport’s THINK! Campaign, we can reach drivers and other road users too with responsible and safe driving messages – and bring the number of children killed on UK roads to zero.”

Alarmingly, 2,082 children were killed or seriously injured on UK roads in 2014. Deaths were up 10% and serious injuries were up 5% – the first annual rise in nearly 30 years.

Road safety minister Andrew Jones MP helped Horace and Cub Scouts from the 8th Marylebone Scout Pack launch the new partnership at the Abbey Road zebra crossing.

“I welcome the new partnership between the RAC and The Scout Association,” he said.

“Everyone should know the rules of the road and the new road safety badge is a great step towards getting young people interested in helping themselves, and others, stay safe.”

Selfie-snapping while driving

Selfie shock: 1 in 10 drivers have taken one in the past MONTH

Selfie-snapping while drivingMotorists are using their smartphones behind the wheel to take selfies, make video calls and even watch videos or catch-up TV.

Nearly 10% admit to have taken a selfie while driving in the past month. It rises to 15% of 18-24 year olds and, proving that older drivers know no better, goes up again to 19% of 25-35 year olds.

There’s a clear gender gap too: 5% of women admit to it, compared to 12% of men.

Younger drivers are keener on using Skype or FaceTime, though: 16% admit to it, double the still-worrying national average in the IAM poll of 500 drivers.

7% of drivers have even watched videos or streamed catch-up TV while on the road…


IAM CEO Sarah Sillars said: “It’s shocking to see new trends like taking selfies and making video calls becoming common practice.

“Safe driving is everyone’s responsibility and more must be done to catch drivers using these devices dangerously by increasing the fines and points for smartphone and tablet use at the wheel – there is simply no excuse.”

She is now calling for a national campaign to make smartphone use behind the wheel as socially unacceptable as drink-driving.

Sillars is also keen to rectify another worrying trend: despite such growth in more dangerous ways of using smartphones while driving, prosecutions for mobile phone use behind the wheel fell 40% in 2014.


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Dial 999 if you see a motorway incident says road safety body

Motorway sign

Dial 999 if you see a motorway incident says safety body

Motorway signMotorists are being advised to immediately dial 999 if they spot an incident on the motorway – even if it’s one they’re not directly involved in.

GEM Motoring Assist is calling on motorists to make a call immediately to the emergency services if they see a motorway incident where help is required.

“Making that call for help at the earliest opportunity could save lives,’ said GEM chef executive David Williams MBE.

The advice comes after new two people died on a Scottish motorway following a crash that wasn’t investigated by Police Scotland for three days.

‘Dial 999 immediately’

“Unless we’ve actually been involved in a collision, there is now law in this country demanding that we stop,” said Williams.

“We do not want anyone to stop on a motorway and risk making a situation worse.

“However, if you see something on or by the motorway that causes you concern, then you should alert the emergency services immediately by dialling 999.”

But what if you don’t have a hands-free phone – isn’t it illegal to use a mobile on the move? Not so, added Williams.

“You may use your mobile phone to dial 999 in an emergency if it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.”

He also advised motorists to look out for motorway marker posts every 100 metres on the motorway, and driver location boards every 500 metres: these precise location indicators could prove invaluable to emergency services.


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Land Rover emergency services

Automatic emergency call for ALL new cars sold from 2018

Land Rover emergency servicesAutomatic emergency call – or eCall – will be fitted as standard to every new car sold in the EU from 2018 following a vote today by the European Parliament.

This will potentially save over 2,500 lives in the EU in one year alone, estimate politicians.

eCall is technology built into cars that can detect the severity of a crash and automatically dial the emergency services. Using speakers and microphones, it can connect occupants with an operator even if they’re trapped within the car.

The system will automatically send information on the type of vehicle, the fuel used and the time of the accident. Crucially, it will also send the location of the crash, potentially cutting minutes or even hours from the time it takes emergency services to reach an accident.

“The European Parliament has repeatedly stressed that reducing deaths and the severity of injuries on the roads is its priority,” said rapporteur Olga Sehnalova from the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of politicians.

“eCall as a public service, free of charge for all citizens, irrespective of the type of vehicle or its purchase price, will contribute to that common goal.”

Road accidents in the EU cost 25,700 lives in 2014. eCall could cut that by an estimated 10% a year.

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