Speed detection officers will be deployed with Community Speed Watch teams in Devon and Cornwall to allow the groups to issue on-the-spot fines and report drivers who are caught breaking the law.
It comes as nine rural roads in Devon and Cornwall were rated as high or medium-high risk for young drivers in a new study by the AA Charitable Trust.
Community Speed Watch teams, which are made up of concerned volunteer citizens, have not previously been able to enforce the law when they catch speeding drivers, with motorists instead getting a warning letter from the police.
However, the Alliance roads policing team in Devon and Cornwall is planning to change that by embedding qualified speed detection officers into the groups, giving the groups greater power to fine and report any law-breaking drivers.
The AA Charitable Trust today revealed the riskiest rural roads for young drivers, who are a priority vulnerable road user group for the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership.
Research by the AA shows 71% of fatal crashes involving young drivers are on rural roads. An interactive map highlights several roads in the South West which are considered to be the riskiest for young drivers.
Cornwall is home to the only high-risk road in the South West, the A388 which saw 17 collisions between 2013 and 2018, 53% (9) of which involved young drivers.
The medium-high risk roads in Devon and Cornwall named in the study are:
- A358 (Devon)
- A3072 (Devon)
- A391 (Cornwall)
- A389 (Cornwall)
- A3059 (Cornwall)
- A3058 (Cornwall)
- A3075 (Cornwall)
- A3083 (Cornwall)
Supt Adrian Leisk, Alliance strategic lead for roads policing, said: “We know young drivers are at greater risk of being involved in serious collisions, the impact of which can be devastating for them, their families and loved ones.
“While driver education is vital to improving the safety of young road users, enforcement has also proven to be a very effective deterrent.
“Community Speed Watch teams across Devon and Cornwall assist us heavily in highlighting issues and drivers of concern. We intend to significantly increase the number of active teams in the region, as well as the level of support they receive, over the next 12 months.
“We also plan to deploy Speed Detection Officers within Community Speed Watch teams so those groups will give us greater reach to issue on-the-spot fines and report drivers who are caught breaking the law.”
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is the national lead for road safety with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and chairs the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership.
Commissioner Hernandez said: “Sadly young drivers are over-represented in fatal and serious collisions which is why Vision Zero South West considers them a priority when it comes to vulnerable road users.
“We all know how exciting it is when you first pass your driving test and gain all that extra freedom, particularly in a part of the country like the South West.
“Education is vital with young drivers. Making sure they know the potential risks of things like passenger distraction, night driving or using mobile phones while driving is so important and will ultimately ensure our roads are safer in the future.
“Our vision is to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Devon and Cornwall’s roads to zero by 2040, and to cut the numbers to 50% by 2030. We can only do this by engaging young people.”
Max Chantrey is a road safety officer for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, who are the Young Drivers’ theme lead for Vision Zero South West.
He said: “We know young drivers between the ages of 17-24 are more likely to have a collision on our roads due to their driving inexperience and risky behaviours. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is working closely with young people to reduce the high number of fatal road traffic collisions.
“Through our education events and road safety campaigns we aim to change attitudes and behaviours - reminding young drivers to reduce their speed and pay attention and also ensure young passengers and know how to speak up if they don’t feel safe.”
What is Vision Zero South West?
Vision Zero is a collaborative project between a number of organisations across Devon and Cornwall. The one thing they all share is a commitment to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in the region to zero.
Vision Zero is led by a partnership board which includes a wide range of experts from all around the South West including senior police and fire officers, leading clinicians, councillors and the police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Vision Zero’s partners include:
- Cornwall County Council
- Devon County Council
- Plymouth City Council
- Torbay Council
- Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service
- Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
- Devon and Cornwall Police
- Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
- Highways England
- NHS University Hospitals Plymouth Trust
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
- South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
- Cornwall Air Ambulance
- Devon Air Ambulance
- Driving for Better Business
- Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS)