Dashcam project is helping to make roads safer

Police want to speak to anyone who was in the area who may have seen what happened or who have dashc

Since 2009, dashcam footage submitted via Op Snap has helped Police prosecute more than 1,300 drivers - Credit: Archant

As one of many police and crime commissioners in England and Wales, I am part of a wider network which makes up the national Association of PCCs.

As part of the APCC I hold the national portfolio for road safety and this is a subject that I take extremely seriously. Every day in the UK, five people are killed and 71 are seriously injured in crashes – every single day!

Devon and Cornwall are in no way immune to this. In 2019 (the latest official figures available) 48 people were killed and 793 people were seriously injured on our roads.

In my role as chairman of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership, I am determined to see those numbers come down. To spur on this ambition, all Vision Zero partners have pledged to do everything they can to cut fatal and serious road collisions by half by 2030.

We can only achieve this ambitious target by working closely together and I’m happy to say that the partnership’s collaborative and innovative approach has been highlighted this week.

I was delighted to launch the Project EDWARD (Every Day Without A Road Death) national road trip from Plymouth on Monday, September 13. This nationwide road safety initiative is designed to highlight the very best practice from regions that have adopted the Vision Zero and Safe System models.

The fact Project EDWARD chose to launch their road trip here in Devon and Cornwall says a great deal about the quality of our work in this area.

As Vision Zero South West relies on partners working closely together, we gathered all available parties to unite at Marsh Mills in Plymouth to showcase the great work and pioneering projects being undertaken to save lives.

A great example of this is our dashcam project which will see my office and National Highways pay for 170 dashcams to be supplied to local companies, free of charge. This gives us 170 extra pairs of eyes on our roads to capture dangerous drivers and take action against them through Devon and Cornwall Police’s Op Snap initiative.

Since the launch of Op Snap in 2019, more than 1,300 drivers have been prosecuted – and the number of submissions to Op Snap has increased dramatically recently. In the first six months of 2021, Devon and Cornwall Police received 779 submissions through Op Snap – of which 408 cases saw notices of intended prosecutions issued and 144 cases resulted in an official police warning.

The thinking behind the dashcam project is that with more people watching, the chances of bad drivers getting caught will increase. I hope this makes motorists more alert and, in turn, will make our roads safer for everyone.

I was honoured to launch the Project EDWARD road trip which saw vehicles from all our wonderful emergency services travel up the A38 to the Devon Air Ambulance base at Exeter Airport.

Major crashes have significant monetary implications with the average cost of a fatal collision standing at around £2.2m and an extra £1m cost to the local economy.

Of course, it goes without saying that the biggest and most immeasurable impact of such incidents is the tragic loss of life and the effect that has on family, friends and the community.

But seeing all those service vehicles and staff together – police officers, firefighters, doctors, paramedics, helicopter pilots and highway workers – really highlighted this.

I’m extremely grateful to all the dedicated service men and women who came out to support this initiative and take part in the road trip, and also to the team behind Project EDWARD for helping us shine a light on some of the wonderful things we are doing here in the South West.

Vision Zero’s philosophy is that every serious road traffic collision is both tragic and avoidable.  Whether it’s by improving signage, adapting road layout, educating drivers, increasing enforcement or improving post-crash care, we are determined to do everything we can to prevent further death and serious injury on our roads.

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