28 Oct: Latest News – Safety Review

… Motor Sports Safety Review …

October 7th.
Changes outlined to keep motor sport spectators in Scotland safe

A statement setting out some initial proposals to improve safety at multi-venue stage rallies has been published today.

Cabinet Secretary for Sport Shona Robison, updated Parliament on the emerging findings of the Motor Sport Event Safety Review Group prior to the Isle of Mull Rally on 10 -12 October. The findings have been shared with organisers ahead of this year’s event. The final report with full recommendations is expected around the end of 2014.

The group is recommending that organisers and partners take the following steps to improve safety:
• For each rally, an independent safety delegate should be responsible for the safety of staff, volunteers and spectators;
• Both an event spectator safety officer and an event safety car should be used at multi-venue stage rallies;
• Further consideration of improvements to training for rally marshals;
• Improve safety messages given to the public;
• Better ensure and promote the safety of media attending rallies.

The Mull Rally has already put most of these recommendations into practice, as well as first on the scene training, and a new spectator safety video featuring former Mull Rally winners, John MacCrone and Stuart Loudon. The impact of these changes will help inform the final report.

Cabinet Secretary for Sport Shona Robison said: “The tragic events at the Jim Clark rally, and at the Highland Snowman rally in 2013 where a spectator was also killed, brought the safety of spectators at motor sport events into the spotlight. Safety is absolutely integral to staging successful and enjoyable sporting events and all partners need to move forward together to keep people safe. Motor sport can never be completely safe. However, these initial findings set out clear improvements that can help to prevent tragic accidents. The Scottish Government sees these changes as essential to allow rallies to continue to take place safely in Scotland.”

Scottish Ministers announced in Parliament on June 3, 2014 that there would be a review of motor sport event safety. The group’s core members have held three meetings, focussing on staged rallies. Other areas of two, three and four wheeled sports and police involvement in motor sport events will be discussed at future meetings.


November 3rd

Joan McAlpine (South Scotland) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress of the review into spectator safety at motor sport events following the deaths of three spectators at the Jim Clark Rally on 31 May 2014.

Ministerial Response:

The review group on motor sport event safety began work in June following the tragic deaths of 3 spectators and injuries to several others at the Jim Clark Rally this year. A spectator had also been killed and another injured at the Highland Snowman Rally the previous year.

The group was established by the Scottish Government to “Examine safety, specifically spectator safety, at motor sport events in Scotland and make recommendations to improve safety for future events.”

The group is chaired by the Scottish Government and has a wide membership including representatives of the Motor Sports Association, Scottish Auto Cycle Union, Police Scotland, the Health & Safety Executive and a local authority. The group also benefits from expert advice from Sir Jackie Stewart.

The immediate priority was to consider safety at rallies and the group has now reached some early views on safety at multi-venue stage rallies in Scotland (those rallies where linked sections of forest or public roads are used, covering many miles – the majority of rallies, including the Jim Clark rally).

The emerging findings are set out below. Further detailed work is being done on these and other recommendations around stage rallies. The group will also move on to consider other areas of 2, 3 and 4 wheeled motor sport with final recommendations expected around the end of the year.

I asked the review group to ensure that their findings were communicated to the organisers of the Mull Rally, that takes place this weekend on the Isle of Mull. The Mull Rally and Jim Clark Rally are the only two rally events in Scotland that take place on public roads. I am pleased to say, that the Clerk of the Course to the Mull Rally, Iain Campbell, is a member of the review group and has put some additional measures in place that reflect the emerging work of the group.

I look forward to the further work of the group to ensure that the safety of spectators is absolutely integral to the planning and running of motor sport events in Scotland.

Statement by the Review Group – Multi-venue Stage Rallies

“Rallying in Scotland has a long history and is enjoyed by hundreds of dedicated individuals as spectators, drivers, co-drivers and volunteers. Scottish drivers and co-drivers have reached the highest levels of competition, for example, winning the World Rally Championship and building on Scotland’s motor sport tradition.

Motor sport in the UK operates in a heavily regulated environment. In addition, many rally events have a long history and have developed their own standards.

However, the tragic events at the Jim Clark Rally this year and at the Highland Snowman Rally in 2013, where spectators were killed and others injured, and the devastating consequences for their families and friends, mean that it is appropriate to review the existing arrangements with a particular and important emphasis on spectator safety.

Spectator safety has developed considerably since the mid-1990s and the Motor Sports Association as UK governing body has led the development of a number of initiatives aimed at improving safety. The FIA has also led some important developments at international level that the group has considered in the Scottish context.

Motor sport can never be 100 per cent safe for those taking part or those spectating at events. However, the review group considers that more can be done to improve safety at rallies. The existing sports governing body regulations (“the regulations”) can be improved upon, and, in some cases, good practice at events exceeds those regulations. This can lead to a lack of consistency across Scotland in implementing safety standards at multi-venue stage rally events and work should be taken forward to address this proportionately.

Good communication with the public about the risks and the rules in attending rally events is absolutely fundamental to safety and the current arrangements should be improved.

In addition, the accreditation of and management of press and photographers at events should be further considered and improved.

Volunteering is an in tegral part of rallying and we recognise that the sport depends on those volunteers to run and marshal events.

However, rallying culture and the emphasis on volunteers and spectators getting close to the action also carries some risks that must be addressed.

The organisation of rallies in Scotland is handled by car clubs using volunteers. The group considers that it is essential that this volunteer-based organisation is augmented going forward with independent input from outwith the organising committee into the safety of the event by a new independently appointed safety delegate. This delegate would consider the safety of the public, volunteers and competing rally crews. The delegate would have input into the draft safety plan and the planning of the event, as well as spotting issues during the running of the event, and providing feedback following the event. In addition, as currently happens at some larger events, a multi-agency planning approach would bring in a wider range of views on event planning. The rally organising committee should consider event management in the wider sense as well as the sporting nature of the event.

Rallies currently have 3 stewards at an event. Two are drawn from the organising club and one is provided by the MSA and has input into the competitive running of the event (through a judicial role in the event of a dispute) and the overriding safety authority including authority to cancel the event. The lead official from the organising committee is the Clerk of the Course who is responsible for running the event. The role of the MSA steward at a rally should be adapted to ensure that the steward remains in rally HQ for the duration of the event and is available to provide dedicated advice and support to the Clerk of the Course. The Clerk of the Course should also remain in rally HQ.

Marshals are key individuals at all rallies and absolutely integral to safety for spectators and others at the event. The review group considers that the training, education and briefing of those marshals requires specific attention and improvement beyond the current established practice. Specific consideration is being given to arrangements for new marshals and to training for those who wish to
progress to become specialist marshals, senior marshals, stage commanders or chief marshals.

The use of dedicated event spectator safety officers and spectator safety cars has developed at some events as good practice. This specifically assists with identifying potential problems related to spectators before each stage of the rally goes live. Both are therefore recommended as essential for a multi-venue stage rally.

The group is clear that, as spectators frequently move around rally stages, issues need to be identified as close to stage start as possible.

The Spectator Safety Car should therefore run immediately before the zero cars and should be equipped with a loudspeaker and siren to alert the public that the rally stage is about to go live.

Consistent badging of Course Cars should also be introduced to ensure that the purpose of each car can be fully explained to spectators.

Safety plans have developed over the last few years and are generally produced by every rally in Scotland.

Again much can be learned from the best practice available and the production of safety plans should be included in the sport governing body regulations in future as a mandatory requirement for all multi-venue stage rallies.

Consistent guidance related to those plans will be considered further.”