Campaign News

Group of people with 2 guide dogs

Talking Buses

81% of buses in the UK still do not have audio visual next stop and final destination announcement systems that are essential for people with sight loss, many of whom rely on buses as their only means of transport.

Guide Dogs is calling on the Government to ensure all new buses are fitted with AV, as recommended by the Transport Select Committee group of MPs.

Streets Ahead

Street clutter such as A-boards, cars parked on pavements and other such hazards pose a risk to all pedestrians, but particularly to people with sight loss who may be forced into the road.

These dangers are preventable, and action has been taken successfully in many towns and cities. In London, parking on pavements has been prohibited since the 1970s, and Guide Dogs is calling for similar laws across the UK.

Many local authorities run licensing schemes that balance the safety of pedestrians with needs of businesses. Guide Dogs is urging local authorities to ensure that such schemes are both in place and are policed effectively.

Safe and Sound

Quiet hybrid and electric cars are 25 per cent more likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian than conventionally powered vehicles, and at low speeds they are not detectable until they are just a second away, posing a serious threat to the safety of pedestrians, particularly those who are blind or partially sighted and rely on the sound of an engine to stay safe.

EU law states that all new quiet vehicles will have to be fitted with acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) by 2021, but this is not soon enough. The Government is spending £500m to dramatically increase the number of these vehicles before then and, crucially, the EU regulation states that the AVAS can be paused by the driver, annulling the safety effect of the regulation.

Guide Dogs is calling for the Government to make AVAS a prerequisite to funding as well as prohibiting the use of the pause switch.

Dog Attacks

A recently passed law makes an attack on an assistance dog an aggravated offence with a sentence of up to three years in prison in England, Scotland and Wales. Microchipping is already compulsory in Northern Ireland and will be compulsory in Wales by 2015 and England by 2016. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on whether microchipping will be compulsory in Scotland.