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PCC and Police supporting Road Safety Week, 20-25 November

SM-and-Jane-Hofmeister

PCC Sue Mountstevens with Jane Hofmeister

  • Speeding is one of the top four contributing factors in collisions
  • 416 fatal or serious injury collisions in the past year in Avon and Somerset

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Police are supporting Brake’s national Road Safety Week by encouraging residents to reduce their speed, improve safety within their community and help prevent fatal collisions.

The national campaign urges people to slow down to cut crashes and fatalities, and reduce the severity of injuries on roads. Figures by the road safety charity disclose that in the Severn region (Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire) there were 635 road crash trauma admissions in 2016. These casualties make up 19% of all trauma admissions.

Recent Government statistics reveal that exceeding the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions was a factor in almost a quarter (22%) of fatal collisions on roads in Britain last year. In every case, travelling at higher speeds increases the distance it takes to stop and can increase the severity of the crash, the risk of loss of life and the extent of serious injury.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said; “Road safety is the most common issue that local people raise with me.  It’s a topic which means different things to different people, but what is clear is that everyone wants to feel safe on and near our roads.  To ensure our roads are and stay safe, there needs to be a mix of enforcement and education and Community Speedwatch is a great example of this.

“Community SpeedWatch volunteers do a fantastic job in tackling speeding motorists, making their local communities safer and improving road safety.  Their presence in our communities is invaluable and they play a vital role in supporting the wider policing effort.  I would encourage more people to think about joining their local Community SpeedWatch, working together alongside the police to make a difference in their neighbourhood.”

Avon and Somerset continues operations to improve safety on roads and slow down speeding motorists. 223,058 speeding offences were detected by Avon and Somerset Police between August 2016-17 and in line with an approach which favours education over penalties, 72% of these offenders were offered education as an alternative to prosecution.

Community SpeedWatch volunteers will be out in force during Road Safety Week to monitor speeds and raise awareness about the impact of driving too fast. There are just over 100 active Community SpeedWatch groups in the force area which give local people the opportunity to get actively involved in road safety with support from the Constabulary’s Speed Enforcement Unit.

Supt Andy Williams, Head of Road Safety in Avon and Somerset Constabulary says; “Speeding has a huge impact on people’s lives and is a significant factor in many road traffic collisions so we are working closely with our partner agencies and communities to reduce fatal and serious injury road traffic collisions in Avon and Somerset.

“We always promote education over prosecution where possible and rather than detecting people speeding, we would prefer residents simply obey the speed limits. Community SpeedWatch groups collate information about potential risk areas and highlight possible offenders. This provides the police with an opportunity to offer education and warnings ahead of penalties. As a result of their work we have issued around 27,000 letters to drivers who have been observed speeding in the year ending August 2017.”

Jane Hofmeister was the mother of 13 year old Amy, a victim of a tragic collision involving two speeding cars in 2011. Since the fatal collision, Jane set up charity, Think Amy in memory of her daughter which promotes safe driving.

Jane Hofmeister says; “I’m urging local people need to think about how they are driving and maintain sensible speeds so that no one else like my daughter Amy has to die unnecessarily. I believe education is an important preventative measure, so wholly support any campaign which raises awareness about the dangers of speeding and reckless driving.”

Ben Walton, adult clinical lead for major trauma in the Severn area, hosted by North Bristol NHS Trust, says; "Road traffic incidents have a serious, often devastating impact on individuals and their families. There are many ways in which road traffic collisions can be prevented. In particular we urge people to be mindful of the speed they are travelling."

Community SpeedWatch key facts

  • Community SpeedWatch is a partnership between the Community, the Police and Local Authorities which gives local people the ability to actively get involved in road safety. Volunteers are trained and supported by the police.
  • There are just over 100 active Community SpeedWatch groups within the region with approximately 750 members in total.
  • The initiative was first established in 2001 as a partnership between the village of Ash (near Yeovil) and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. It’s now a national scheme adopted by many police forces and road safety partnerships to address speeding.
  • Vehicles observed speeding above a set threshold will be sent a warning letter along with advice to help change their driving behaviour.
  • Further action will be taken by the police against persistent and high end speed offenders as well as targeting individual locations. 
Posted on Monday 20th November 2017
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