A new strategy setting out how Kent County Council and its partners aim to eliminate deaths on Kent’s roads by 2050 has been revealed.
KCC unveiled the map for safer roads at an event at Manston Airfield on Wednesday, September 15, attended by Prince Michael of Kent and KCC leader, Roger Gough.
Also in attendance were the council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier, and Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, along with representatives from automotive research centre Thatcham Research, National Highways, the haulage industry and other interested parties.
Vision Zero outlines how responsibility for the safety of our roads will be shared by everyone from policy makers to engineers and from vehicle manufacturers to the media.
Visitors to the launch event were able to observe live reconstructions of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking demonstrated by Thatcham Research and Intelligent Speed Assistance put on by Sturdy.
We know people make mistakes and everyone’s responsibility is to ensure those errors do not lead to someone losing their life.
Kent statistics show vans were involved in 2,156 incidents in the five years to the end of 2020, causing 3,174 injuries including 36 deaths. Nationally, people injured in cars are 40% more likely to be killed or seriously injured when involved in a head-on incident with a van compared to another car.
Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier, said: “We know people make mistakes but we recognise that we can prevent those mistakes from becoming fatalities.
“Responsibility for the safety on our roads needs to be shared by everyone and it is right that we remind people of the need to follow the rules in order to make sure they are as safe as possible.
“Vision Zero is an ambitious plan but I am confident, with everyone playing their part, we will be able to achieve a safer highway system for all that use it.”
Speaking at the conference, Prince Michael of Kent said the responsibility falls on everyone to learn about road safety.
He added: “We all stand to benefit from the safe systems and the zero fatality approach that Kent County Council has adopted.
“I’m delighted to be here today to learn about how much of a difference they make.”
The event was a collaboration with Project EDWARD (Every Day Without a Road Death) which aims to raise awareness of driver behaviour and how that plays a role in road safety.
Simon Turner, Campaign Manager for Driving for Better Business, which supports Project EDWARD said: “Today’s event – and the whole Week – is about providing a platform that showcases some of the best work being done around the country. This means all road users, road authorities and emergency services joining forces with the aim of zero road deaths.
“For us, today was also about Safer Drivers, Safer Vehicles, Safer Journeys and Driver Wellbeing as well as how best to manage those who drive for work in order to reduce risk, control costs and improve efficiency.”
Director of insurance research at Thatcham Research, Matthew Avery, said: “We have made significant gains in the improvement of car and road safety over the past 20 years, especially with consumer ratings in place such as the Euro NCAP programme.
“However, we must not become complacent. Casualties on the roads are increasing, particularly for vulnerable road users. The world is entering a new era of mobility so we must continue to throw the net wide to ensure all road users are safe.”
The Towards Zero Foundation, a charity working towards a world free from road fatalities and serious injuries, congratulates KCC on the adoption of a #50by30 target for road safety and for demonstrating the vital role of vehicle safety technologies and their potential to save lives in Kent and across the country.
The launch followed weeks of consultation, a full report on which is available at https://letstalk.kent.gov.uk/vision-zero-the-road-safety-strategy-for-kent-2020-2026
Visit https://kentroadsafety.info/what-we-do/vision-zero-strategy/ to learn more about Vision Zero.