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.

Highlands & Islands Drink Driver Figures

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety campaigner, David Stewart,  recently highlighted the issue surrounding the drink driver statistics in the Highlands & Islands (related to a four year period only) and he claimed it would be more beneficial if these figures were broken down to annual statistics. He advised that he was to contact Police Scotland by means of an FOI to ascertain the yearly breakdown of these figures which would then allow more meaningful analysis.

 

David said ” I have received a response to my FOI from Police Scotland advising that they will not provide the breakdown I requested, because the information can be sourced in the public domain. I have found the desired documents on line which reveal that the detections for drink driving in the Highlands & Islands for the year 2014/15 was 430. For the years 2015/16 it was 484,for 16/17 it was 409 and for 17/18 it was 484 the same as years 2015/16.

 

” My analysis of these statistics reveal that the introduction of a lower drink drive limit has done little to deter the drinker and driver. Four years ago in the Highlands & Islands there were 430 offenders detected. Last year for the same period that number jumped to 484, so the trend is upwards.

 

” To address this issue we have to look at other options such as alcohol ignition interlocks being fitted to new vehicles and mandatory rehabilitation programmes for those convicted of drink driving. Clearly we need to do more with regards education. In this regards I will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport asking what further measures the Government are taking to deal with the serious issue of drinking and driving because there clearly is a hard core of such people out there who are not listening and are a danger to other road users.

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!

 

Image may contain: text

 

 

 

Local Politician and road safety campaigner seeks answers to length of time car has been abandoned on A96

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart has contacted the trunk road operator, Bear Scotland, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abandoned collision damaged silver Vauxhall Corsa lying on the South verge of the A96 Inverness Road near Gollanfield.

David said ” I am told that this silver Vauxhall Corsa which has been involved in a collision, has been abandoned on the verge of the A96 Inverness – Nairn Road near Gollanfield for in excess of 10 weeks. All road users travelling this route are well aware of the vehicle. My understanding is that such vehicles could be moved at the time of the collision or shortly thereafter by the emergency services at the owners request. In these circumstances the Police for example would initiate the vehicle recovery scheme and the owner/driver would pay for the recovery. However, at the end of the day it is the owners responsibility to arrange removal of the damaged vehicle and not that of the Police.

” I am aware that this vehicle has been in situ for in excess of 10 weeks and I would have thought that in that time it would be classed as abandoned and it would have been removed by the Operating Company as per guidelines.

“I have today made contact with Bear Scotland to ascertain the reason that this vehicle is being left in situ and at the end of the day I would like them to expedite it’s removal from the verge of the A96, as clearly it is unsightly, succumbing to vandalism and giving those resident or visiting the area a bad impression. I understood that bear Scotland could remove the vehicle and claim expenses back from the owner.

David nominates John Macleod for the new £50 note

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Parliamentary Diabetes Champion, David Stewart, is to nominate forgotten Scottish hero as the scientist who should feature on the new Bank of England £50 note after The Bank of England announced that the new £50 note will feature a prominent British scientist, with the public being asked for nominations.

In addition to the Queen, the note will include the portrait of an eminent late scientist from fields such as biology, astronomy and medical research.

David said ” I would like to nominate the late scientist John Macleod, an Aberdonian, who shared the 1923 Nobel Prize with Frederick Banting, a young Canadian physician, for their discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921–1922

“On 8 November 1920, John, the educated Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto, met for the first time a young Canadian physician, Frederick Banting. Banting hoped Macleod would help him try out a research idea aimed at isolating the internal secretion of the pancreas. Macleod agreed to take Banting into his department and together they worked on a research plan along with their Assistants. On 3 May 1922, John Macleod read a paper to the American Association of Physicians, co-authored by Banting and called ‘The Effect Produced on Diabetes by Extracts of Pancreas’. The audience, which included America’s leading diabetologists, gave him a standing ovation for the work they had done in isolating the pancreatic hormone that controlled metabolism, which they named ‘insulin’.

“In October 1923 it was announced in Stockholm that Frederick Banting and John Macleod would share the 1923 Nobel Prize for their discovery.

David continued “As some will be aware Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. The cells in your body need sugar for energy.

“Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, diabetes was often a fatal disease.

“Alarmingly one in 20 people in Scotland have diabetes which is now effectively treated by Insulin.

David concluded “As Parliamentary Diabetes Champion this is an issue close to my heart and I think the late John MacLeod, a forgotten medical hero is the perfect nominee to appear on the front of the new £50

David Stewart is supporting the ‘Brake’ road safety theme this road safety week

Highlands and Islands Regional MSP and long time road safety campaigner, David Stewart is supporting the ‘Brake’ road safety theme ‘Bike Smart’ as we near this year’s road safety week, which takes place between 19th and 25h November 2018.

Cyclists and motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users in the UK, with more than 100 riders injured every day in needless, preventable collisions. This is why this year BRAKE the road safety charity are focussing on those that use two wheeled vehicles.
Cycling is one of the healthiest, most environmentally friendly and overall cheapest forms of transport available. The number of people taking to their bikes is increasing year on year so we need to make sure that they can cycle in as safe an environment as possible.
Motorcyclists are disproportionately involved in collisions and the resulting injuries are often severe. The speeds motorcycles can travel are equal to those of cars and yet motorcycle riders do not have equal protection in the event of a collision, such as air bags or side-impact bars, exposing them to the full force of impact. Raising awareness of safe driving behaviour for riders and drivers alike, and therefore limiting motorcycle collisions, is critical to saving lives on UK roads.
“Over the past eight years we at the North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NOSDAT)have as a team and by working with others, made a real difference with regards road safety across the Highlands Islands and Moray.
“We have secured five road safety awards in recognition of our work, had some influence in persuading the UK Government to look again and improve the training of young and new drivers with a pilot Graduated Licence scheme being trialled in Northern Ireland..
“Whilst we worked closely with SCID (Scottish Campaign against Irresponsible Drivers) we have been successful in persuading the Scottish Government to introduce drug driving limits in Scotland and by working in partnership with local businesses, we have launched many other successful local road safety campaigns.

“By working together, we can and will continue to make our roads safer.”

Photo by: Tatiana