Devon and Cornwall’s police and crime commissioner has launched a new strategy, with a particular focus on vulnerable road users, in an effort to create the ‘safest roads in the UK’.
The strategy was published by Alison Hernandez, police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, on 19 November to mark the start of UK Road Safety Week.
Alison Hernandez, who also leads on road safety for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, is a speaker at the 2018 National Road Safety Conference in Brighton next week.
Her new strategy recommends adopting a ‘safe systems’ approach, combined with greater enforcement of the law and improved driver training.
There is also a focus on the ‘five highest causes of fatal accidents’; inappropriate speed, failing to wear a seatbelt, distractions, driving under the influence of drink or drugs and careless or inconsiderate driving.
Alison Hernandez said: “Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are wonderful places to live and work but our safety casualty statistics make for grim reading.
“We’ve doubled the number of police officers in the roads team and I’m really encouraged by the results.
“But with 12,500 miles of road across the two counties there’s simply no way that police alone can enforce our way out of this problem – it’s up to us, the driving public, to change our behaviour.
Ms Hernandez added: “For every death on our roads a family is torn apart and lives are ruined, yet tragically so many of them occur because of a simple error that might easily have been avoided, people driving while tired, sending a text or going just a few miles an hour too fast.
“With a few simple changes and a collective effort between emergency services, local authorities and driving educators I am positive we can make great strides in making our region a safer place for all road users.”
The focus on vulnerable road users has been welcomed by Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, and a local cycling campaign group.
Mr Bradshaw said: “As a keen cyclist I am pleased to see that vulnerable road users are placed front and centre of the police and crime commissioner’s road safety strategy.
“On my daily rides around Devon I regularly witness poor driver behaviour, as well as plenty of safe and considerate driving.
“The price being paid for this in people’s lives is far too high and this document makes it clear that this is an issue that no one agency can solve alone.
“It’s vital that Government, both national and local, the police force and driving educators come together with the aim of reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the South West’s roads.”
Mike Walton, from the Exeter Cycling Campaign, said: “The campaign welcomes the fact that Devon and Cornwall Police is beginning to take the safety of vulnerable road users more seriously with this strategy.
“People who walk and cycle bear the brunt of intimidating driving and poor driver attitudes: these causes of road harm need to be challenged.”