Road safety was the hot topic discussed at Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball’s Public Scrutiny Meeting in Rugby.
The event, held at the Harris Church of England Academy on Tuesday, heard the details of a report on overall road safety strategy for the county and the findings of a Warwickshire Police study into the recent collisions on the A46.
The meeting was told that across the county there were 805 collisions involving death or serious injury in the past three years (April 1 2012 and March 31 2015). In that time period, on the A46 between Ansty and Salford Priors, there were 39 people killed or seriously injured, with 15 in the last 12 months (three fatalities, 12 serious injuries).
The collisions involving fatalities took place in three broad areas of the A46 – the Coventry bypass, Keilworth to Leek Wootton and Salford Priors – but in many different specific locations along these stretches of the road.
A large number of factors were involved in the collisions, with several featuring factors not associated with poor driving or excess speed. Carelessness on the part of the drivers – such as failure to look properly at junctions or misjudging the speed/path of other vehicles – was evident in many collisions, however.
Overall, the report concluded that high volume of traffic using the road the largest factor which impacted on a higher number of collisions, but there was no single factor running through the recent fatal collisions which could be identified for specific action to be taken.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball said: “Road safety along the A46 was one of the first issues that was raised with me by a member of the public when I took office and, with the recent number of fatalities and serious collisions along stretches of the road in Warwickshire, I was keen to see that all that could be done to prevent them was being done. That’s why I asked for a report to be presented at the meeting.
“I was pleased that we had representatives from Highways England, the Safer Roads Partnership, Warwickshire County Council’s Road Safety Team and EM Highways at the meeting, alongside Chief Inspector Adrian Knight from Warwickshire Police’s Operational Policing Unit, who all gave their perspectives on both the A46 and the county’s overall road safety strategy.
“There is no doubt there are daily examples of poor driving along the A46 but it would appear that there is no single factor which led to the recent collisions, other than it being a very busy route. It may simply be an anomaly that we have had several occurring in such a short space of time but I am pleased that the Chief Constable has nevertheless directed increased patrolling with marked and unmarked vehicles along the A46.
“It is important to remember that there are other parts of the county’s road network which have seen higher numbers of serious collisions and the meeting heard how the county has an extensive programme of road safety measures to try and reduce these numbers. This is being delivered not only by the police and Safer Roads Partnership but also by local authorities and highways agencies, who are all working together effectively with the goal of improving safety on our roads.”
Tuesday’s Public Scrutiny Meeting was also the first such event for new Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley, who took up his post in May.
A range of public questions covering topics such as police recruitment, how the force deals with low-level crime and anti-social behaviour, uninsured vehicles and foreign drivers.
The next Public Scrutiny Meeting will take place on Tuesday September 22 in Nuneaton.