Wiltshire Police hace launched a campaign with the aim of reducing the number of road traffic collisions in the county which result in serious injury or death.
The focus of the week-long campaign, which starts today, will be on speeding.
This coincides with the national Road Safety Week which is coordinated by the charity Brake.
Our officers have heard every excuse in the book to justify why a driver has been breaking the speed limit – from running late to picking up the children to having a poorly stomach, but our message is clear – there is never an excuse to speed.
Excess speed is one of the fatal four factors that significantly increase the risk of injury to road users along with using a mobile phone whilst driving, not wearing a seatbelt and drink/drug driving.
Exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for the weather conditions make it harder to stop a vehicle safely and reduces the driver’s reaction time.
This is even more dangerous in winter when the road conditions are often worse and visibility is reduced by the limited daylight hours.
- In 2019, Wiltshire Police responded to 1,557 road traffic collisions reported as fatal or serious injury, a slight decrease on the 1,650 incidents in 2018.
- To date this year, there have been 981 incidents reported as fatal or serious injury, of which 17 have resulted in a fatality.
- In July 2020 there were 214 notices issued in Wiltshire in relation to speeding. The equivalent to almost seven a day.
- Of those, 9 were for exceeding 70mph speed limits on a motorway, 133 were for exceeding 30mph speed limit in contravention to a local traffic order and 50 were for exceeding 40mph speed limit in contravention to a local traffic order.
- Nationally, 1 in 3 drivers admit to being in a car travelling at over 100mph
In a continued effort to make the roads of Wiltshire safer, the roads policing unit and community policing teams across the county will be conducting increased enforcement activities throughout the week.
Head of the unit, Inspector Mark Freeman said: “We are striving every day to reduce the numbers of those harmed on the roads in Wiltshire.
“Our focus is always on the fatal four causes of serious collisions, with speeding being one of these.
“More lives are lost every year on our roads because of speeding, drink and drug driving, people using mobile phones at the wheel and those not wearing seatbelts.
“We want to educate road users but we need the support of the public. There is never an excuse for any of these offences and we do hear them all.
“Especially during the previous lockdown, we saw a real issue with speeding and we will be ensuring through proactive patrols that we do not see a repeat of that this time around.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson has recently invested significantly in road safety including the recruitment of a new Traffic Enforcement Officer.
In a recent survey, 82% of people who responded in Wiltshire said they wanted to see greater enforcement on our roads.
“This campaign has the full support of the PCC and a recent APCC survey has highlighted how important this issue is to the residents of Wiltshire,” he said.
“Collisions caused by excessive speed have a detrimental impact on not only the victims but also their families and friends, not to mention the first responders who have to attend and be first on the scene.
“Just because roads may be quieter during this lockdown, it is not an excuse to exceed the speed limits which are there for a reason.
“If we can stop one family being told by an officer that their loved one has died as a result of a road traffic collision then we will have had a successful week.”
Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Maintenance and Waste Services, said: “Too often we hear of the devastating impact dangerous driving can have on drivers, their passengers, innocent pedestrians or other road users, and on their friends and family.
“We will be supporting Wiltshire Police’s campaign throughout the week by sharing these important messages with our residents, in the hope of encouraging people to think about the way they drive and the terrifying consequences dangerous driving could have on themselves and others.
“We will also continue with our own work to improve the safety of roads in Swindon, including the road safety around our schools.”
Councillor Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Speeding puts us all at risk and is even more dangerous as we enter the winter months.
“Although the speed limit may be 60mph on some of Wiltshire’s rural roads, this is a limit and not a target and in many places may be too fast for the conditions.
“The stark numbers show just how many serious injuries are caused and innocent lives tragically lost on our roads each year.
“It’s vital we all keep within the speed limits, drive to the road conditions, and play our part in helping to make our roads safe.”