Garry Handley, road safety delivery manager for Gloucestershire County Council, is to retire at the end of this month.
Garry says his interest in road safety began when he carried out a study into vehicle safety features while still a pupil at school – which means his actual engagement with road safety has lasted for almost half a century.
Garry’s professional career started at Berkshire County Council, working in traffic management and collision investigation.
Working in schools teaching children to be safe – and demonstrating to them that safety lessons can be enjoyable – was the theme for the first few years of his work, which Garry describes as “some of most enjoyable of my career”.
Garry then moved to Hampshire for a couple of years, taking on a role funded by the county council but based in a district council office. The satisfaction of being “semi-independent and largely my own boss” was a great motivating factor for Garry, and taught him “valuable lessons about self-motivation, politics, priorities and resilience”.
Garry finally settled in Gloucestershire, where over the last 35 years he has overseen a significant reduction in road casualties – with annual KSI figures falling by around 1,000 over that period.
Garry says: “These years have been filled with enjoyment and rewards.
“Firstly, road casualties have significantly fallen over the years and this positive outcome is precisely why I dedicated my working life to improving road safety.
“I’m very proud of some of the initiatives we’ve developed including the Safer Driving with Age Scheme (SAGE), offender re-education programmes which preceded NDORS, and many more initiatives involving community groups and others to help influence and reinforce safe behaviour on the roads.”
Sharing best practice, nationally and internationally, has given Garry the chance to put Gloucestershire on the road safety map.
He was involved in a global driver training conference and has connected through TISPOL with many EU police and road safety colleagues, and has supported road safety in Japan, Australia and Poland, and also with most road safety organisations in the UK
While recognition for efforts was never a feature on Garry’s agenda, involvement in several Prince Michael Road Safety Awards and other national prizes and awards culminated in him being appointed as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by her Majesty the Queen in 2010, for his outstanding contribution to road safety.