Friday, 17 February 2012

Driving down deaths on Wealden roads

A joint campaign targeting high-risk drivers has been hailed a huge success. Many drivers have received educational input in an effort to reduce the number of deaths and seriously injured on the roads of Wealden.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service teamed up with Sussex Police to target high-risk drivers and individuals who were putting themselves and others at risk in an education and enforcement operation.

The joint initiative involved stopping drivers for a number of offences such as speeding, not wearing seatbelts and talking on mobile phones. Drivers were then offered the opportunity to be charged with the offence, or have some road safety educational input by firefighters. All involved were able to offer first-hand experience of the impact of road traffic incidents

The aim of the initiative was to raise awareness and in doing so reduce the number of road-related deaths. As part of the campaign there were six separate initiatives carried out at locations in Hailsham, Crowborough, Wadhurst, Heathfield and Uckfield.  

80 people were stopped during the initiative and all the drivers elected to be shown the presentation rather than be fined. Of the 80 drivers stopped 74 were Wealden residents. 6 drivers were stopped for driving whilst using a mobile phone, 55 were stopped for not wearing a seat belt. 

In 2010, there were 101 people killed or seriously injured on Wealden roads, of which 8 were fatalities. In 2009, there were 121 people killed or seriously injured on Wealden roads, of which 13 were fatalities and in 2008, there were 129 people killed or seriously injured on Wealden roads, of which 16 were fatalities.

The Chair of the Wealden Safer Roads Group, Mark Matthews said: "The figures show a clear downward trend, which suggests partners are having a real impact through working together on joint initiatives.

“The Wealden Safer Road Group is attempting to reduce the number of deaths and seriously injured on Wealden roads by focusing on young drivers, motorcyclists and those that drive under the influence of drink or drugs. Speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone when driving are all known causes of serious accidents and are subsequently a key focus for the group. Further initiatives are now being planned in the Wealden Borough.”

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