2nd December 2023
“With my role, the remit is around road user and road worker safety, anything that comes under that I am happy and keen to be involved in”
Marie Biddulph – Assistant Regional Safety Co-ordinator in the Midlands, National Highways
Together with Women in Transport, Driving for Better Business continues to throw the spotlight on the diverse roles that women working in transport and road safety are working in. As we know, driving for work presents one of the biggest risks to businesses and addressing those risks involves commitment, collaboration with key stakeholders, and a passion for doing the right thing.
Marie says, “With my role, the remit is around road user and road worker safety, anything that comes under that I am happy and keen to be involved in”.
Improving safety on the strategic road network
Marie tells us more about her involvement in Operation Tramline, where three plain white HGV tractor units have been loaned out to police forces by National Highways to help improve safety for drivers on the strategic road network in England. “We know most drivers who use our roads every day are sensible and safe behind the wheel, but there are clearly some who are putting themselves and others at risk by simply ignoring the law. Operation Tramline is a great demonstration of partnership working with Police Forces where the aim is to improve road safety for all and reduce the amount of people that are killed or seriously injured on our roads. Over 29,000 offences have been recorded to date by officers in the vehicles since the national safety initiative began. The top three offences detected through Operation Tramline continue to be seat belt offences, mobile phone use while driving, and drivers not in proper control of their vehicle.”
As well as collaborating with the Police, Marie explains that she helps to raise awareness of Operation Tramline online and in the media. “The great thing about Operation Tramline is that the operation and the messaging is so well received by other road users and the media. Everyone has something positive to say about it as the reason for the cabs’ presence is very clear and resonates with people”.
Safer roads – safety focus
Marie is no stranger to the media, customer liaison and organising events. With previous event involvement at British Grand Prix and Moto GP at Silverstone and, Motorcycle Live at the NEC. Marie tells me she is passionate about the safety focus delivered through programmes including Biker Down and BikeSafe. “Motorcyclists make up a small road user demographic but are involved in a high number of serious or even fatal collisions. At National Highways we run several safety campaigns targeting biker riders, particularly around wearing the right personal protective equipment. I love to go out to racing and bike events to take those messages directly to the motorcycling community. Increasing your knowledge about staying safe is something I would recommend it to every motorcyclist, as ultimately these skills could help to save another motorcyclist’s life”.
“The safety of everyone using our roads is always our number one focus and we encourage all road users to think about their driving behaviours and make sure they are not putting themselves and others at risk”.
Marie’s commitment has resulted in external recognition for her contribution to road safety. She proudly lists her achievements:
- A Chief Superintendent’s commendation from Warwickshire Police
- A Certificate of Appreciation from Central Motorway Police Group
- A Cesar Champion Award, from Datatag
“I’m very proud of the awards. When I received the Cesar Champion Award in 2020 as I was the first and only civilian to receive this award as all others had been presented to serving officers”.
A career in road safety
When asked what skills are required when considering a career in road safety, Marie shares her wisdom as:
- Collaboration – to be successful it means building relationships with key stakeholders. Together, you can work towards a shared goal of making the roads safer.
- Passion and motivation – you want to change people’s thinking, so you must believe in what you are doing. Saving lives is a strong motivation for anyone.
- Self-starter – you must come up with new ideas for promoting safety messages to reach new audiences.
- Teamwork – to get great results, always bring biscuits to meetings!
Marie summarises “People may have some pre-conceptions about road safety, and it may not seem exciting, but I have had some great experiences. I’ve worked with talented and skilled professionals and have the satisfaction of knowing that I have made a difference”.
As we close this catch-up with yet another hero helping to keep our roads and road users safe, please don’t forget to look at our Women in Transport articles and podcasts from the other fantastic women who we have featured in this Women in Transport campaign.