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Railhub Archive
2003-01-14 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Government moves to improve transport safety

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alcohol abuse
drug abuse
substance abuse

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Department for Transport

Government moves to improve transport safety

14 Jan 2003 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

Today the Government published a Bill that will improve public confidence in the railways and give Police greater powers to tackle any alcohol and drug abuse amongst maritime and aviation personnel. The Railways and Transport Safety (RTS) Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons.

The Bill sets up a new independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch whose primary purpose will be to find out the cause of railway accidents. Other measures in the Bill include:
- Introducing Alcohol testing in relation to Shipping and Civil Aviation
- Modernising the structure of the British Transport Police - Restructuring the Office of the Rail Regulator

Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, said: "The Railways remain amongst the safest forms of travel. However if there is an accident the public rightly expects that the facts are identified and that measures are taken to ensure that similar accidents do not happen again.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch will seek to ensure that the root causes of accidents are understood, the safety lessons learnt, and that investigation reports are published as quickly as possible.

In addition, alcohol limits in Shipping and Aviation will improve safety by introducing a similar testing and enforcement regime to that currently employed on the roads."

The RTS Bill will have its second reading shortly and should come into force by the end of the year.

Notes to Editors
1. Full details of the Railways and Transport Safety (RTS) Bill can be found on the UK Parliament web site at

2. The creation of an independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) was one of the recommendations in Lord Cullen's second report into the Ladbroke Grove accident. This was published in September 2001. It is anticipated that the RAIB will operate in a similar way to the existing Air and Maritime Accident Investigation Branches.

3. The Better Regulation Task Force recommended in July 2001 that industry regulators should be replaced by regulatory boards. The RTS Bill will bring the rail industry into line with other industry regulators who have already been, or are in the process of being restructured in this way. The powers and functions are unchanged.

4. The proposed alcohol measures for water borne transport and aviation will make it an offence for professional mariners, some recreational mariners and safety-critical aviation personnel to operate while over set alcohol limits. The police will have the power to carry out alcohol and drug tests in the event of an accident or where they have reasonable suspicion that an offence is being committed.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website:

Railhub Archive ::: 2003-01-14 DfT-001


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