SNOW – keep safe driving this winter

Highlands & Islands (including Moray) MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart, re-launched his social media campaign in relation to driving this winter called SNOW.

S – Scrape ice and snow from all vehicle windows before driving off
N- Never drink and drive or take drugs and drive
O- Obey all road signs and road traffic laws and regulations
W- When in doubt about driving – Don’t

David Stewart speaking today said:
“My message is simple really.
“At this time of year, only drive if you have to, always make sure you clear snow and ice from your vehicle windows. You can be given a fixed penalty if you don’t, or even charged with careless driving. Never even consider driving if you have taken drink or drugs, obey road signs and traffic laws and if you are at all unsure about driving, don’t.”
“All I am trying to do is put a simple ‘mnemonic’ out there for people to remember or relate to.
“I thought that a four letter seasonal word related to this time of year would jog the memory of drivers, hence SNOW.

MSP: NHS should be banned from buying fax machines

NHS boards in Scotland should be banned from buying fax machines and a date should be made for them to be phased out entirely, says a Highlands and Islands MSP.
David Stewart, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, previously asked health boards in Scotland how many had fax machines and was shocked to discover that more than 1,200 were still in use across the country.
The Department of Health in England has now banned the buying of machines and said their use should be phased out by 2020.
This followed a Royal College of Surgeons investigation which found nearly 9,000 fax machines were in use across NHS England.
Mr Stewart has now lodged a Parliamentary Question asking the Scottish Government if it will follow suit.
“The NHS is way behind other organisations and private companies which scrapped fax machines more than a decade ago,” explained Mr Stewart.
“It’s about time our health authorities were in step with technological advances and used secure emails instead.
“There is an argument that some fax machines should be kept in case of IT system failures, for contingencies, and that seems sensible but I cannot believe that such a large number are needed from day to day.
“The Scottish Government should be on top of this and invest in more modern communication systems. In the end it must save money and time.”
Under Freedom of Information, Mr Stewart asked NHS boards:
1) How many working fax machines each had in a) 2018 (b) 2017 and (c) 2016
2) What were the reasons for using fax machines instead of new, digitised technology?

He discovered NHS Grampian had 400 machines and that “communicating prescription requirements with the Pharmacy Department” was their main use. NHS Highland confirmed fax machines were still used but it did not know exact numbers, although added they were in the process of being phased out.

NHS Shetland had 15 fax machines and stated: “Fax is retained as a backup communication method and is only used by prior arrangement where the recipient is expecting the fax”.
While NHS Orkney had 28 to “maintain essential communications”. “Many of our locations have poor bandwidth links which are frequently unavailable and can take several days to repair,” it said.

NHS Western Isles had 18 and told the MSP: “Fax machines retained by depts/practices due to concerns over comms outages /old ways of working /supplier requirements. We are not replacing any fax machines and are actively discouraging any use.”

Health and Sport Committee: 13th November 2018

Health and Sport Committee
Scottish Parliament
13 November 2018

Video 1: David’s series of questions as the Committee takes evidence on the Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill.

Video 2: Further questions raised by David on organ donation.

Switch Onto Safer Roads

Highlands & islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has highlighted an issue which seems to be occurring just around sunset and also around sunrise with drivers using their vehicles in poor visibility and not displaying their lights.

 

David said ” I am becoming more and more aware of drivers driving their cars in the twilight without displaying dipped headlights.

 

” The message is simple, Switch Onto Safer Roads

 

“You don’t use your dipped headlights just to see where you are going, you need to light up to also be seen. Drivers should not rely on daytime driving lights on new cars as they are illuminated at the front of the vehicle only.There is no point in driving along with daytime running lights only displayed if following vehicles struggle to see you.  I agree that before or around dawn or similarly at dusk or thereabout’ s, drivers can see the road and where they are going, but the light conditions are such that they should be lighting up. Today for example the lighting up times for the Inverness area is 07.55 and 16.05. Stornoway is 08.08 and 16.10,Shetland 0758 and 15.38 and finally Oban 07.55 and 16.15.

 

” I am appealing to drivers to use their dipped headlights whilst driving in any form of poor visibility. We used to say ‘See and be Seen’ this still applies, as does ‘Switch Onto Safer Road’s. This is the time of year we need to get this message across if we want our roads to be safer.

 

Note

 

Lighting up hours are defined as the period of time during which drivers should turn on dipped headlights in order to be seen. This period normally starts half an hour after sunset and ends half an hour before sunrise. However, you do not need to look up the lighting up times to know when to switch on your lights. If your visibility is not 100%clear  then switch them on!

 

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