Education and engineering improvements are top priority to make Somerset roads safer

Road safety experts are keeping education and engineering at the top of their agenda as they continue the fight to make Somerset’s roads safer.

Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team have published the casualty report for 2014 and found that whilst there was an increase of 5 in the number of people killed on Somerset’s roads compared to 2013, the total number killed or seriously injured stayed the same. Both are still within targets set for 2020.

Accident information from the Police shows that in 2014 there were 33 fatalities, 185 serious and 1,405 slight casualties. This equates to averages of 18 people killed or seriously injured and 117 slight accidents every month throughout 2014.

In a bid to reduce these figures Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team continue to place great importance on education and engineering measures. These include targeted education and training for children and adults and safety engineering improvements, such as enhancing existing signs and white lines, and traffic calming measures like speed humps and chicanes.

These improvements should reduce accidents, save lives and reduce costs to the health and emergency services, as well as lessen congestion and shorten overall journey times for road users.

Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s lead Cabinet Member for road safety said: “Using the 2014 data, we have a clearer indication of the areas we need to prioritise to make roads safer for the future.

“Despite some road safety progress there are always areas where we can work harder, and we aim to really focus our attention on preventing accidents in the first place. This can be achieved through education (via school visits and public events) and also by enhanced safety on roads, such as upgrading existing signs and lines and considering traffic calming measures.”

In 2014, 28,000 people received road safety advice through educational events, nearly 2,000 school-age children took part in ‘Bikeability’ training, and 7 new School Crossing Patrol personnel were trained and have since begun working their roles. Over 2,000 people have also subscribed to social media feeds at www.twitter.com/SCC_RoadSafety or www.facebook.com/somersetroadsafety . Local businesses have also been supported when running fleets through the Mind Your business programme.

The successful Small Improvements Scheme programme has also provided engineering solutions at priority sites with road safety problems and helped to resolve community concerns over highways issues.