Strategy

Road Safety Strategy 2012 – 2022: The aim of the partnership is to make the roads of Suffolk safer for all.

The first three years of the strategy were reviewed in 2015.

The strategy sets out how the Partnership will continue to work to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads.  

In the past safety interventions at the local level included engineering, education and enforcement. Engineering activities have been heavily weighted towards local schemes at sites with the greatest KSI collision occurrence over a 3 – 5 year period.  There was a significant drop in the number of accidents between 1990 and 2010 and, with the randomness in collision occurrence, this raised a question as to whether a safety engineering approach represented the most efficient way to prioritise investment, particularly in view of the reduced funding available in the spending period.

More recently therefore, there has been a move towards a focus on groups of road users.  This will enable an approach to encourage safer travel, and full integration with Suffolk’s Local Transport Plan (LTP) 2011-2031.  

The aim of the LTP is to support Suffolk’s economy and future sustainable economic growth and this road safety strategy will complement this by making travel safer and healthier.  This strategy aims to reduce the dominance of motorised vehicles and improve the conditions for cycling and walking, and is an attempt to shift onus of responsibility onto the user of the vehicle that will do most damage, while accepting that all road users have a responsibility for road safety.

In Suffolk the key groups of concern have been identified as:

  • Motorcyclists - especially those riding bikes over 500cc.  
  • Young drivers/ riders (16-24 years of age).
  • Pedestrians (especially school age children in deprived areas).

Other areas of concern are:

  • Safety of work related driving - including those commuting to work as well as for work purposes.
  • Offending drivers – otherwise known as ‘the fatal four’, drink/drug driving, speeding, driver distraction and failure to wear a seatbelt.
  • Older drivers.

In preventing collisions there is not a single solution, but a need to reduce risk to road users and to encourage road users to reduce their own risk of danger to others through long-term measures.  This new approach to road safety does not preclude the 3 E’s of Education, Engineering and Enforcement but merely changes their focus to provide safer communities.

To ensure interventions are targeted in the most suitable and effective way analysis of collisions will consider types of road users involved by mode, sex, age and ethnicity, clusters of collisions in specific geographical areas, and issue of deprivation. 

 

Education initiatives (education, training and publicity) have previously been regarded as a ‘soft and non-scientific’ option when compared to road engineering.  However, there has been a move towards delivering education interventions that have strong theoretical underpinning and which are subject to evaluation.  This is crucial so that the effectiveness of road safety work in Suffolk can be objectively measured.

Another critical factor in successfully delivering the strategy will be joined-up working between all the Suffolk Roadsafe partners and allied organisations.  Clearly, to work effectively in schools, the partners will need to have an understanding of their roles.  Every school in the county has a published travel plan.  The plans in most instances identified road safety issues that they intend to tackle and how they will promote sustainable travel.  The plans will be the basis for planning the delivery of key messages to pupils and parents.

The Education strategy has targeted the following vulnerable groups:

Road Users

Intervention

Young pedestrians (4-11)

Education activities and pedestrian training, school crossing patrols

Cyclists (7-16)

Nationally funded Bikeability

Moped riders (16-17)

College initiatives

Young Drivers (17-19)

Get in Gear

Pre-drivers (16-17)

Braking Point pre-driver programme, College initiatives

Motorcyclists

Rider Plus, Young Rider, Safe Rider

People who drive for work

We Mean Business

Older Drivers

Grand Driver seminars, driving assessments

Offending drivers

Remedial education – speed awareness and driver improvement

More than half of all road deaths are associated with one or more of what has commonly become known as the “fatal four” contributory factors to collisions.  These are; drink driving or driving whilst impaired by drugs, speeding, careless driving (including dangerous driving, driving with a distraction, mobile phone use etc) and failure to wear seatbelts.  Driving without insurance or a licence is also associated with a disproportionate level of death and injury.

Tackling the road safety problems associated with these behaviours involves not only increasing awareness of their consequences, but also enforcing against serial offenders and the worst offences.  As the lead for enforcement, Suffolk Constabulary will continue to maintain robust roads policing activities that target these negative behaviours.

Moving away from the traditional target driven approach to performance, Suffolk Constabulary and its partners will aim to create a shift in public attitude and behaviour to one of habitual compliance with the laws and conventions of the road.  There will be a greater emphasis on enforcement based on professional discretion and judgment, increasing the numbers of potential enforcement interactions that result in driver education.

Where proportionate and appropriate, Suffolk Constabulary will continue to offer remedial education as an alternative to prosecution with a view to increase driver standards and challenge negative behaviour.

Recognising the importance of a safe and secure environment for all Suffolk road users, the Constabulary will continue to engage with local communities making best use of its 29 Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs).  These teams will act as a conduit for all citizens ensuring that local concerns and problems are directed to those best placed to help.  Additionally, Suffolk Constabulary will continue to mentor and support those communities wishing to engage in locally funded community speed watch schemes.

In the past Suffolk has already implemented elements of highway improvement, through engineering, such as 30mph speed limits in urban areas, safe routes to schools and “20s Plenty” outside schools.  Suffolk County Council has also implemented ‘shared space’ projects which furthers the aims of sustainable transport.  These approaches are typical of what we should look to be implementing further, including how we design space to make it usable by all modes.  Engineering interventions have been shown to be able to change driver behaviour of road users at specific locations, for example through putting in measures to make speed limits self-enforcing.

Traditionally, the Council’s approach to safety engineering has been to identify and treat sites where there were clusters of KSIs and locations with high levels of slight collisions.  As collisions have decreased on the network, it has proven to be increasingly difficult to find “cluster sites”.  It is anticipated that during the lifetime of the strategy local engineers based in the Council’s area offices will work with enforcement and education colleagues to examine KSI sites, especially those that involve vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists and to identify and devise appropriate engineering, enforcement and education solutions rather than automatically applying an engineering solution.  If an engineering solution is deemed appropriate then a brief will be prepared for the design and delivery team to implement.

Generally, the emphasis will move to the road user and their behaviours rather than the location of the collision.  For instance, there appears to be an underlying pedestrian problem in urban areas.  It may be the case that an education message targeted via schools, colleges and the media would be the most appropriate means of reaching these road users.

Collision and speed data will be provided to all partners to ensure that they all able to quickly and effectively assess problems.

The Council will continue to carry out safety audits on all highways schemes to ensure that they meet the highest possible road safety standard.

In many cases, parish councils and county councillors will deal with local safety concerns and anxieties with funds from Local Highways budgets.

The strategy will be monitored annually and the Board will receive a joint report from the partners setting out how they have performed and their plans for future years.

It will be important to continue to monitor the distribution of collisions both by road user group and location, and be ready to respond to local concerns.