The launch of a new road safety partnership in Essex last week was marked with a visit from one of the region’s air ambulance helicopters – and a pledge to reduce casualties.
The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) was officially launched on 17 September at Hylands House in Chelmsford. Special guests included John Wraw, the Bishop of Bradwell, and Viscount Simon who has been a member of the House of Lords for 22 years and during that time has worked to make Britain’s roads safer.
SERP has brought together the three local authority areas of Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Thurrock Council to provide a road safety service across ‘Greater Essex’. The other SERP partners are Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue Service, Highways England and The Essex and Herts Air Ambulance Trust.
The partnership’s purpose is to reduce death and serious injury on Essex roads to zero, which it describes as “an ambitious vision”.
In the interim, SERP has set a “challenging” target to reduce death and serious injuries by 40% by 2020 (from the baseline average of 2005-2009).
To help achieve the target, SERP has launched a new initiative to encourage all road users to make small changes in their behaviour to save lives and injuries.
The SERP Small Change Pledge asks people to sign up to make a small change to how they drive, ride a motorbike or bicycle, walk and cross roads, in a bid to improve their safety and the safety of others.
Behaviours that people can sign up to include driving at an appropriate speed, cycling in a considerate manner, committing to never drink or drug drive or use a mobile while driving, to always wear a seatbelt and to look out for motorcyclists and cyclists.
Nicola Foster, chair of SERP, said: “We hope to recruit more partners, people and organisations to work with us towards a vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Essex roads. The vision is aspirational but one we believe can be achieved together.
“We are also launching the Small Changes Pledge. It is everybody’s responsibility to make sure everyone using the road makes it home safely.
“We believe if everyone makes a small improvement to in their driving, riding or walking behaviour, collectively it could make a large change to the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on the roads.”