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Devon and Cornwall leaders unite behind Vision Zero road safety ambition

Leaders of organisations from around Devon and Cornwall will today unveil a ‘vision zero’ road safety strategy aimed at dramatic reductions in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads.

Devon and Cornwall leaders unite behind Vision Zero road safety ambition

Emergency services, local authorities, NHS trusts and charities are among the 19 members of the South West Peninsula Road Safety Partnership (SWPRSP) who have agreed to the bold ‘Vision Zero’ ambition to achieve a highway system free of fatalities and serious injuries by 2040.

An interim target to reduce the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on the roads in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by 50% in the next decade has been set.

On what is the international Project Edward (Every Day Without a Road Death) focus on leadership, politicians from around the region will today unite to underline their commitment to the partnership.

The launch, at locations in Devon, Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall, will focus on different areas of road safety and coincide with a major operation on the A38.

The road safety partnership’s chairman is Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, who as the national portfolio holder for road safety is currently surveying people on their views about roads policing so their voices are heard in a Government consultation on the issue.

“Between 2009 and 2018 534 people died and 6,272 were seriously injured on the roads in Devon and Cornwall," she said.

"The trauma, loss and devastation that these numbers illustrate cannot be overstated. We believe no one should be killed or seriously injured as a consequence of using our roads and we have a moral duty to work together to preserve life, prevent harm and make our communities safer.

“We recognise that radical change is required to make this happen. This requires agencies to work alongside communities to find sustainable solutions.

“The way to progress is to renew efforts which encourage better driving practices, educate specific road user groups about the potential dangers, develop better responses to road traffic collisions and, critically, engage the public in being part of the solution.”

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioner’s road safety survey is running until September 30, 2020, and can be found online here.*

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: "We're committed to reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads and close partnership working through Vision Zero is the best way to try and achieve that.

"But it also needs members of the public to work with us as well - by reducing speeds, taking extra care and being considerate of other roads users, including pedestrians and cyclists. Together we can all help to make our roads safer."

The Project Edward theme this year is ‘Driving for Better Business’ and partners will be promoting the importance of managing those who drive for work during the day.

Marcus Anning, south west asset needs manager for Highways England, said: “We are working closely with our partners in the Peninsula Road Safety Partnership towards a number of interventions on our roads, and we fully support this latest initiative and the safety benefits it will bring to both the A38 and A30. 

“We support any change in driver behaviour, which is almost always a contributory factor in serious collisions, and as part of our partnership working, we have also undertaken a number of joint road safety campaigns aimed at influencing driver behaviour.

“One of these is the Driving for Better Business initiative, a Highways England-funded programme to help employers in both the private and public sectors reduce work-related road risk, decrease the associated costs and improve compliance with current legislation and guidance.”

Councillor Mark Coker, Plymouth City Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and infrastructure, said: “Every life lost on our roads is one too many. We are committed to making our roads as safe as possible, for example by reducing vehicle speeds outside schools and using passively safe poles for roadside signs. We are pleased to be working with our partner councils and the police to reduce the number of road-related fatalities and serious injuries in our communities.”

Councillor Mike Morey, cabinet member for infrastructure at Torbay Council, said:  “We have a relatively good road safety record overall in Torbay, however we strive to reduce this further. We are returning our focus to more sustainable transport solutions in Torbay and ensuring safe pedestrian routes will form an essential part of that.”

Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for environment, waste and public protection, said: “We are committed to reducing the numbers of people killed or injured on our roads and pleased to join this partnership which aims to improve the safety of all road users.  It’s easy to become complacent when we get behind the wheel and slip into poor habits and today’s action on the A38 was about helping drivers understand the consequences of this behaviour.”

The partnership has identified certain groups of road user that are disproportionally represented in roads collision data, these are young drivers (16 to 24) older drivers (60+), cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and business drivers and has specific strategies to tackle these.

*Paper copies of the APCC road safety can be requested by calling 01392 225555.