Dave Conway – Driving Home for Christmas

Dave Conway, returns with another blog, detailing the honour he had of representing the UK in Road Traffic Safety at this year's ISO plenary meeting.

Oh, my goodness... where has 2023 gone?!
I am sat on a plane at the Astana Airport, Kazakhstan, on my return from this year's ISO plenary meeting where I have, again, had the honour of representing the UK in matters relating to Road Traffic Safety Management systems - a good time to knock out a road safety blog!
In my absence, ironically, I am delighted to report that FM Conway received a Prince Michael of Kent Award for Road Safety, probably the most prestigious award there is for road safety.
Several years ago, one of my Malaysian colleagues on ISO TC 241 e-mailed me to say he was coming to the UK that weekend, and could we meet. I queried why he was coming to the UK, he told me he was coming to receive a Prince Michael Award. From that day on, I vowed that we would win it, and ever since then we have worked harder and harder each year to lay our hands on this prize, so I am absolutely delighted that we received this award, even if it happened a few months after I retired.
The important thing is not whether or not I could be at the glittering awards ceremony, but the incredible approach and actions that FM Conway has embraced and implemented, that makes the award so deserved.
But there is more to life than awards and, for me, it was about travelling halfway around the world to one of the coldest cities on this planet (minus 38 Degrees C on the worst day) to ensure full representation of the UK's, and FM Conway's, views on Road Safety.
It was, as always, a very busy few days of meetings, punctuated with some very interesting investigatory excursions provided by our Kazakh hosts. The visit to their highways engineering laboratory at the Astana University was fascinating. In Astana the laboratory is extremely sophisticated, certainly a centre of excellence, designing roads and construction materials, asphalt, concrete and aggregates, that have survived temperature extremes ranging from plus 40 Degrees Centigrade in Summer, to minus 40 degrees Centigrade in Winter. I took the opportunity of inviting them to see the FM Conway Technical Research Facilities, bitumen facility, and asphalt plants, should they wish to come to the UK, and they were very excited about the opportunity of seeing what we have. I hope they can come next year.
The work sessions were very productive - In addition to the regular annual committee items, we started work on our latest project, ISO 39004, a guidance standard for road safety for businesses that use digital platforms to provide services, such as Amazon, Uber or Deliveroo. Since the pandemic, such services have become widespread, and we hope our standard improves the work-related road safety of those activities.
A very significant change in the structure of the committee is underway. The Swedish standards organisation (SIS) have held the secretariat of the TC 241, since it was formed almost 20 years ago. This gives them the right to appoint the chair, and earlier this year, their appointed chair had a stroke, and, with his health issues, he has chosen to resign the post. At the same time, Sweden find themselves with no one to replace him, or experts on the committee, so have decided to resign the secretariat. The rules require them to give a year’s notice, so they have to find a new chair. In an almost unprecedented situation, with no Swedish national available, they have had to look outside. Having stepped into the breach for this meeting, I find myself as the appointed Chair of this ISO technical committee, until such time as a new secretariat is found, who will then appoint their chosen chair.
So, I find myself returning home with yet another line to add to my e-mail signature, and CV. I am so honoured.
And to close, it just remains for me to wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year break, and to politely remind you to drink responsibly... not at all if you are driving.
Happy Christmas!!