Suffolk MP wins road safety accolade

12.00 | 7 August 2015 | | 4 comments

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has been named by Brake as Westminster’s Road Safety MP of the Month for July 2015, for his work to tackle speeding on country roads in his constituency.

Dr Poulter helped launch SAVID (Safer Village Driving) at the start of July, a project bringing together seven villages in his constituency to tackle excessive driving speeds in their communities.

SAVID will be taking ideas and concerns from local residents about speeding and looking to address the issue, putting forward plans for action over the next 12 months. The campaign also engages the local police, highways and district and county councils, and Brake is optimistic that it could be a model that other communities with speeding issues can follow.

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer at Brake, said: “Through our work supporting local campaigns across the country, we are well aware that many rural communities are desperately concerned about traffic speed on their roads.

“This work by Dr Poulter alongside local councillors, to bring the police, authorities and several villages together, shows how communities can mobilise to tackle speeding and defend their right to move about without fear.

“Hopefully SAVID will prove an inspiration for other communities – and send a message to drivers across Suffolk that driving too fast is dangerous, anti-social and unacceptable.”

Dr Poulter said: “Speeding and reckless driving on country roads is one of the most common problems experienced by rural communities.

“Road crashes frequently occur on narrow country lanes that are often not lit at night and have no footpaths. Unfortunately, speeding motorists often forget that rural roads do not belong exclusively to them but are also for the use of pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

“In my constituency, councillor Tony Fryatt spearheaded a rural road safety campaign in bringing together local parishes, schools and the Suffolk Constabulary in order to provide ideas and initiatives in order to address this perennial problem. I was delighted to be asked to work with them and launch the SAVID campaign.”


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    It’s not clear what the aims and intentions of this initiative are – it may be campaigning or it may be about community action. I hope the latter: empowering local communities to enable them to be part of the solution to low level speeding is an effective and welcome approach. Programmes such as Community Speedwatch provide a local solution “for the people by the people” with intrinsic local education as to who is speeding in and through their community. It also enables us to offer communities some action where, if we can only choose from higher level engineering, education or enforcement, reducing resources and funding pressures mean action simply will not happen in these less severe situations which nonetheless cause great concern to communities.

    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
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    You’re right about locals being responsible for a lot of the speeding in a particular community Dave, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter where they’re from or whether they’re known to the complainants – a speeder is a speeder and a ‘local’ speeder can do as much harm as a speeder ‘just passing through’ and shouldn’t put off communities wanting action.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    I would urge people to be cautious of such initiatives. When a group of people claiming to represent a community ask the Police to tackle speeding drivers in their area, it is regularly the case that those caught are not outsiders, but family, friends and neighbours. Often someone within the group is themselves prosecuted following the action they had called for. It seems as though the problem is usually not speeding drivers, but the sheer volume of traffic and/or a very small number of careless or dangerous drivers. There is a huge difference between the two, but this is often not recognised when policy is agreed. The authorities ought to be honest with their citizens and more intelligent with their solutions.

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    At the risk of appearing cynical, would it not have been better for Brake to wait the 12 months mentioned, to see whether the ‘plans for action’ which are being put forward, achieve anything positive, rather than make this award, seemingly for just starting something?

    I would regularly get requests from MPs, Councillors, members of the community etc. asking for, and making suggestions for action on speeders, however, an award for doing so would have been the last thing on anyone’s mind and no doubt an embarassment for those concerned.

    I’m not knocking the MP mentioned for his concern, just Brake’s slight over-enthusiastic reaction.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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