Following three spectator deaths at the Scottish Jim Clark Rally in May 2014, a safety review group set up by the Scottish government makes recommendations to improve audience safety at motor sporting events.
The review group included motor sport representatives, Police Scotland, the Health and Safety Executive, and former world rally champion Robert Reid. Sir Jackie Stewart, three time Formula One champion, was an advisor to the group. Their key recommendations include:
- To introduce a mandatory licensing scheme for volunteer marshals, whereby training and experience will become a prerequisite for eligibility of a license;
- To put stricter control on marshalling numbers - a requirement for marshal numbers should be published in the safety plan and adhered to for each rally stage;
- Improve Police Scotland input including, where appropriate, by police supporting implementation of the safety plan, a liaison officer attending rallies and training support at a national level;
- Improving safe management of press attendance at rallies, including establishing a press accreditation scheme;
- To establish ground rules for spectators, marshals and competitors on assisting cars back onto the road - a common practice at rallies; and
- Improve communication with spectators and the recommended adoption of international standards for identifying low, medium and high risk spectator areas.
The Scottish Minister for Sport, Jamie Hepburn, announced these conclusions, commenting that these safety recommendations will set a precedent at motor sporting events globally:
“There will always be an element of risk connected to motor sport, but…I believe that the review group has brought us a package of measures that will bring about a considerable improvement in spectator safety…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 [Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile] and UK governing body MSA [Motor Sports Association] . 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, also welcomed the recommendations:
“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.”
These safety recommendations fill a gap in spectator safety at motor sporting and will, at least in Scotland, guard against a repetition of spectator deaths, such as those that occurred at: the 2014 Jim Clarke Rally; the 2013 Snowman Rally in the Scottish Highlands; the 2007 International Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) Race; and the 1955 Le Mans, France (where 77 people died when the blazing wreckage of a sports car crashed through the crowds).
See further detail here.