Kent’s road safety team are proposing more in depth work with the insurance industry in a drive to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the county’s roads.
They are planning to draw on this and other statistical data to more accurately determine crash risk and better define profiles of drivers and vehicles likely to be involved, in a bid to better focus activity. The details are outlined in the new ‘Road Casualty Reduction Strategy for Kent 2014-2020’, discussed by Kent County Council Members at the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on Thursday 24 April.
In Kent, the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in road crashes fell by 50% between 2000 and 2010. The document sets new targets of delivering a further 33% reduction in these serious crashes by 2020, and a 40% fall in child KSIs over the same period.
Research shows that 76.6% of injury crashes occur solely as a result of behavioural factors – such as driving while drunk or on drugs, distractions such a mobile phone or inappropriate speed, and 95% of all crashes include some element of human behaviour in the cause.
Kent County Council works in partnership with Kent Police, the Highways Agency, Medway Council and Kent Fire & Rescue Service under Kent’s Casualty Reduction Group (CaRe), the body that collaborates over casualty reduction across the county.
The new document focuses on developing actions under three headings: ‘Enforcement, Education and Engineering’ to reduce road casualties.
David Brazier, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport, said:
“Making sure our roads are as safe as they can be is a key priority for the county council as we work to keep the Kent economy moving and support healthy living. In 2012, 524 people were killed or seriously injured on our roads. While the long term trend in our county is down – between 2000 and 2010, the number of KSIs fell by 50%, the figures for 2013, which are currently being validated, appear to be increasing.
“It is vital that death and injury on Kent roads continues to be tackled as effectively as possible by all agencies involved. We all must recognise that the way we drive, ride or walk plays a huge part in avoiding us or our dependents becoming a road casualty. Along with our partners, our policies and initiatives have rightly received recognition from the Prince Michael of Kent International Awards for Road Safety.
“The strategy focuses on initiatives that will deliver the best value for taxpayer’s money, it draws on the latest data and research available to us. We will be implementing engineering initiatives to meet the latest safety standards, including addressing wider public health objectives, as well as strengthening and focusing our education messages and training programmes. This strategy commits us to work with our residents, partners and stakeholders more effectively to deliver a further 33% less killed and seriously injured crashes by 2020, as well as a 40% reduction in child KSIs.”
Under the new document, KCC would draw on a wider range of data to better define risk, including damage-only records from the insurance sector, using this to refocus the type and location of road safety activity.
The council’s Road Safety Team has already developed a series of campaigns to raise awareness in specific target groups, such as ‘See the Hazards’ urban speed campaign, ‘Country Roads’ for driving in Kent’s extensive rural network, and ‘Speak Up’, which empowers young passengers to get out a car if they feel unsafe. This campaign was recognised nationally last year, winning the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award. Working with road safety partners in Kent, young drivers are targeted with the ‘Licence to Kill’ presentation.
In addition to road safety campaigns and the programme of road safety education activities, Kent County Council also analyses crash information provided by Kent Police to establish whether any common factors can be tackled by changes to road layouts.
The county council recently improved the A229 Running Horse Roundabout after it was identified by the highways team as the junction with the highest crash record in the county. The work included resurfacing, new road markings, replacing approach signs. It was carried out overnight to minimise disruption to drivers.
In terms of enforcement, Kent Police recently launched a new campaign, ‘play your part’, to help reduce the number of serious collisions on the county’s streets by reminding drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians that they are all responsible for keeping each other safe.
Kent Police Roads Policing Unit Sergeant Hannah Brown said:
“Our campaign is not about apportioning blame. The message to all road users is simple – play your part and together we can all make our roads safer for everyone.”
The message will be reiterated on social media, with advice being tagged with the hashtag #playyourpart on Twitter and Facebook.