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Motor Sport Safety Review

Group announces final recommendations on rallying

The review group set up to look at safety in the wake of three tragic deaths at the Jim Clark rally has published its final recommendations on multi-venue stage rallies.

The Review Group on Motor Sport Event Safety was set up by the Scottish Government following the deaths of three spectators at the Jim Clark Rally on 31 May 2014, and another accident at the Highland Snowman Rally in 2013 in which one spectator died and a child was injured.

The review group membership includes representatives of motor sports, Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive. Robert Reid, former World Rally Champion is a group member and Sir Jackie Stewart is an advisor to the group.

Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, Jamie Hepburn, announced the recommendations to Parliament today.

Key recommendations that are critical to improving rally safety are:

  • Tighter controls over volunteer marshals including the introduction of a mandatory marshal licensing scheme, requiring marshals to obtain a licence following mandatory training and experience
  • Input from Police Scotland, including, where appropriate, police supporting implementation of the safety plan, a liaison officer attending rallies and training support at a national level
  • Improving safety of the media through better management of press attendance at rallies, including a press accreditation scheme
  • Ground rules drawn up for spectators, marshals and competitors on assisting cars back onto the road - a common practice at rallies
  • Improved communication with spectators and the recommended adoption of international standards for identifying low, medium and high risk spectator areas
  • Stricter control of marshalling numbers – a requirement for marshal numbers to be published in the safety plan and adhered to for each rally stage

Jamie Hepburn said:

“As we unveil the final recommendations of this review group, our thoughts are with the friends and family of the people who lost their lives in these two accidents. Rallying has a long and proud history in Scotland, but the tragic events at the 2014 Jim Clark Rally and 2013's Highland Snowman event demonstrated that action had to be taken.

“There will always be an element of risk connected to motor sport, but Scotland must take the lead in ensuring that we live up to our history of world class input to the sport and have the best spectator safety controls in place.

“I believe that the Review Group has brought us a package of measures that will bring about a considerable improvement in spectator safety.

“I look forward to working with the governing body of the sport, the Motor Sports Association (MSA) to make these recommendations a reality.”

Sir Jackie Stewart said:

“In the history of motorsport for many years safety was seldom on the agenda internationally. However, more recently motorsport has been an excellent example of effective risk management, with the sport safer than ever. Risks remain, as was demonstrated all too tragically at last year’s Jim Clark Rally. The Scottish Government showed its leadership by initiating a review to look in particular at rallying. A committee was created, of which I was part, to look into how to remove as many of the downside risks in rallying for the sake of competitors, but more importantly spectators. This was essential after the tragedies at the Highland Snowman Rally in 2013 and the Jim Clark Rally in May 2014.

“I am very proud to have been part of an excellent process that was driven by the Scottish Government. I believe that what has been achieved in Scotland will be an example that will be taken up on a global basis by the sport of rallying including the world governing body the FIA and UK governing body MSA. I believe it is a great step forward in making the sport safer than ever.”

Jacques Berger, Head of the Safety Department at the FIA, the governing body for world motor sports, said:

“Safety is treated with the utmost importance across all our motor sport disciplines and naturally we support any measures that help safeguard competitors, volunteers, officials, spectators and media. The Motor Sport Safety Review Team’s research, in conjunction with the Motor Sports Association and many of the sport’s stakeholders, has been extensive and I am sure the implementation of their recommendations will further increase safety on multi-venue stage rallies, not only in Scotland but the UK as a whole.”


The full recommendations can be viewed here:

Full membership of group is: Sir Jackie Stewart, Richard Foggo, Deputy Director, Active Scotland Division in the Scottish Government (Chair), Tom Purves, (Non-Executive Director, Motor Sports Association), Paul Carlyle (Chair, Scottish Auto Cycle Union), Iain Campbell (Clerk of the Course, Isle of Mull Rally 2014), Ron Cowan (Chief Spectator Safety Officer), Jillian Shedden (Managing Director, Knockhill Racing Circuit), Scott Grant (Service Manager, Leisure & Sport, Dumfries & Galloway Council), ACC Bernie Higgins (Police Scotland), Adrian Tinson (HM Inspector & Senior Policy Advisor, Health & Safety Executive), Robert Reid (Consultant Performance Director, Motor Sports Association, FIA Institute Academy and former World Rally Champion).


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