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Dead or Dead Slow? The Statistics Add Up

24 May 2019

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From informing debates in the House of Commons to training driving instructors of household brands, statistics gathered by the British Horse Society (BHS) are making an impact, heard Warwickshire BHS members.

Alan Hiscox, BHS Director of Safety spoke at the area’s ‘Talking Horses’ event at Solihull Riding Club on 15 May 2019. ’Keep reporting incidents’ was one of many take-home messages.

 “315 horses and 43 humans have died since the start of initiative,” said Mr Hiscox. “There’s been nearly 3,737 road incidents but this could be the tip of the iceberg; we estimate only 1 in 10 incidents are being reported.”

Nevertheless current statistics are proving a powerful tool. They’ve stimulated discussion on prime-time TV such as BBC Breakfast and Sky News, are used in political debates, and have enabled the BHS to work with organisations such as the DVLA, Department for Transport and NDORS (the body that delivers speed awareness courses).

“The statistics feature in driver training courses,” explained Mr Hiscox. “Household names such as Ocado, Morrisons, DHL, Stagecoach, Next, John Lewis and Warburtons, have all taken part.”

With statistics proving a useful tool in highlighting the scale of the issue to a wide range of road-users, Mr Hiscox encouraged all horse-riders to report any incidents via the BHS website.

HorseWatch, who also attended the event, discussed their work, echoing the message that reporting incidents is vital. Notifying thefts to the police, no matter how small, is important both for insurance claims and for helping find those responsible.

Both organisations emphasised the responsibilities of horse riders. For HorseWatch it was in the marking of property. A name or postcode on any and all items, increases the chances of stolen items being identified and returned to their owners. While Mr Hiscox talked of riders’ responsibilities to be seen, show and return courtesy and to train horses before heading out onto road. 

“Wearing hi-vis or conspicuous clothing enables drivers to prepare and take appropriate action,” Mr Hiscox said. “It’s in the Highway Code.”  Which, under The Road Traffic Acts, can be used as evidence in any court proceedings resulting from an accident. 

“Being polite and courteous encourages other road-users to be respectful – look out for traffic behind you, use clear hand signals and don’t use your mobile phone,” he said.

Mr Hiscox advised hacking young or inexperienced horses out in the company and recommended in investing in desensitisation training. “Allow 15 minutes for this type of training and it’ll take all day. Allow all day, and it will take 15 minutes,” he said, half-joking. 

The final session - a Q&A showed road safety continues to be an important issue for BHS Warwickshire members.

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