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PCC blog: Safer Roads

As a former police officer I have dealt with far too many serious injury and fatal incidents on our roads – and having to deliver that painful message to loved ones was always, for me, the hardest job in policing.

Just last month I spoke with a mother whose 22 year-old daughter was killed by a drink-driver in 2016. Listening to her speak about the devastation her and her family and friends were left with never gets easier.

I know from my many conversations with people living and working in the county that road safety is an issue that they are concerned about.

It’s easy to understand why more people are killed on our roads rather than any form of homicide. Moreover, road traffic collision victims make up over 25% of trauma admissions to A&E departments – that is a huge impact on our NHS.

I remember when I was a police officer we used to call these incidents road traffic accidents but let me be clear, they are not accidents and many of these collisions could be avoided if we all took personal accountability and drove safely.

Last year, 34 people lost their lives on our county’s roads.

As a Police and Crime Commissioner, a large part of my job is commissioning projects to help keep our communities safer. When it comes to road safety, I have control of the county’s Casualty Reduction Fund which I use to fund educational projects, designed to change driver behaviour and prevent further collisions.

I am committed to actively supporting the county’s road safety partnership – Vision Zero that has the single ambition of no road deaths or serious injuries as a result of a road collision by 2040.

Through the partnership, I have been able to provide £15,000 worth of funding to replace equipment used by Community Speedwatch Scheme volunteers and £56,000 to fund marked police vans to be used by Special Constables. 

It is vital that we continue to educate drivers about the dangers of speeding and prevent crashes before they happen; the Community Speedwatch Scheme harnesses the passion of local communities to do just that.

The marked vans staffed by members of the Special Constabulary will also act as a visible deterrent to those not paying attention to speed warning signs.

These volunteers all make a real difference to the safety of others which is why I am genuinely pleased to fund the equipment they need to do that job.

Looking to the future, road safety will feature as one of my priorities in my Police and Crime Plan which is currently in development.

It’s only by investing in better policing of our roads that we can reduce injuries and catch those who are breaking the law.