Last week we held our fourth and final Councillor Advocate Seminar of the year on road safety. This scheme helps forge the relationship between councillors and their local inspectors. Road safety affects everyone, whether you drive a car, ride a horse or bike or are simply crossing the road. Feeling safe on the road should be both a right and responsibility and the knowledge of policing can be voiced and shared by those (such as the councillors) that live in the communities that they serve.

My office has been instrumental in forming the Vision Zero South West Road Safety Partnership in which I chair – this collaborative approach brings many partners together to tackle road safety issues from all angles and cut the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads to zero by 2040 with an interim achievement of halving all fatal and serious collisions by 50 per cent by 2030.

Councillor Advocates heard an overview of collision data and how the partnership uses it to guide work, which included a painstaking analyse of 750 A and B roads across Devon and Cornwall in order to highlight routes where the highest harm was taking place.

They were given an insight into work being done to engage young drivers by Road Casualty Reduction Sergeant Owen Messenger who uses a Lotus and Ford Focus RS as a hook to engage which includes videos on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram (now viewed hundreds of millions of times) - as any public serving body will know engaging with our younger generation can be tricky.

Speaking at the event was Richard Kent-Woolsey, Operations Manager for the police’s Safety Camera Unit who spoke of the Community Speed Watch scheme which now has approximately 1000 volunteers registered who attend in all weathers to record driving speeds in their neighbourhoods, keeping their roads safe.

It was great to hear of the work being done now that will influence the future of road safety like the partnership with the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Science team to look into motorcycle collisions.  2022 has been a tragic year for collisions involving bikers and councillors heard from the communications coordinator Joel Cooper about how the partnership is employing behaviour change tactics to help save lives among this vulnerable road user group.

There is some fantastic work being done in road safety across Devon and Cornwall and I’d like to say a big thank you, not just to those involved in Vision Zero South West, but also to all the volunteers and councillors who give up their time to learn more and help spread the word. We can only achieve Vision Zero with your help!