Peter Gimber, former manager of safe and sustainable travel for Devon County Council, has been awarded an OBE for services to local government.
Peter, who left Devon County Council in November 2011 after 33 years’ service, said: “The announcement in the New Year’s Honours List of the award of an OBE is something I regard as a positive acknowledgement of the profession as a whole, of the role Devon has played nationally, and in particular of the work of some superb practitioners in the teams I have managed over the years.”
As a former secondary school teacher, Peter’s first instincts drew him to the challenge of effective communication and education to reduce risky behaviour in young people. Throughout the 1970s and 80s he played a part nationally in improving how this work was carried out.
In the late 1980s Peter was involved in dialogue that challenged the assumption that children and child behaviour should be the focus of road safety initiatives.
Peter explains: “The opportunity arose in Devon in 1989 to put in practice a programme that would put the spotlight on adult drivers and riders.
“I was able to draw on the superb relationship we had with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to trial a training course run by civilians for drivers who had committed a Section 3 ‘due care’ offence. This became ‘driver improvement’, spawned ANDISP and along with speed awareness interventions has become an enduring feature of the road safety landscape.
“This has drawn in academics, forged working relationships with police and DfT, expanded the horizons of many driving instructors, brought traditionally territorially precious RSOs behind a common national initiative, and awakened hundreds of thousands of drivers and riders to their own responsibilities.
“In Devon we were able to trial these and other driver initiatives at the Devon Drivers’ Centre, which was opened in 1991 and has just celebrated its 20th year of operation with an extension to its facilities.”
During his career Peter has been seconded to the Republic of Fiji under a project to reduce child casualties, and participated in a UK delegation to Bulgaria to pass on best practice in road safety.
Peter concludes: “My greatest sense of achievement has been empowering my colleagues to realise their own potential to achieve great things.
“As for the OBE, it is humbling that my kids hadn’t a clue what it stands for. But they have, of course, come up with their own suggestions….”