Cuts could cause chaos on our roads.
6:13am 3rd February 2011
North Yorkshire's 95 Alive road safety campaign has beaten its target in its drive to save 95 lives on the county's roads.
Provisional figures take the number of lives saved in the past five years to 126. The figure is based on the projected total which would have been reached if casualties had continued at the same rate as five years ago.
The York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership was established by North Yorkshire County and City of York Councils, North Yorkshire Police and Fire and Rescue and many other agencies, working together to cut down casualties on the roads.
While the target has been overtaken, the reality is 50 people died on the roads of York and North Yorkshire in 2010, and there have been more tragic deaths on the roads in January. The reduction in the numbers of casualties demonstrates what can be done. The fact that lives continue to be lost is a reminder of how important the work is.
Over the past five years the challenge has been to change the behaviour of drivers, riders and pedestrians using Education, Enforcement and Engineering. After studying fatal crash reports, campaigns have concentrated on areas of most concern including motorcycles, seat belts, distraction driving, speeding, drink and drug driving, young drivers, driving for work and older drivers.
Campaigns have built on work being done by the road safety teams, coordinating everyone's efforts to deliver the crucial road safety messages that can save lives. These have included over 1,700 older drivers attending roadshows to help them to stay safe on the roads for longer. Huge amounts of work have been done in schools with pedestrian and cycle training, and recruiting Junior Road Safety Officers. The Seatbelt Sheriff has sworn in 5,300 deputies to encourage children and adults to Clunk Click Every Trip. In the past five years 10,000 young people have attended Drive Alive events in schools to learn about the dangers new drivers face.
More than 200 new drivers have gone through the Enhanced Pass Plus Scheme, once they've passed their test, giving them the skills and knowledge that could save their own and some one else's life.
Last year alone road safety staff talked to 10,000 motorcyclists at events across the county to encourage them to ride safely. Messages have been taken out into the community through country shows, markets and events.
North Yorkshire County Council's Director of Business and Environmental Services, David Bowe, Chair of 95 Alive said:
"This is a major achievement. The target to save 95 lives was very ambitious, to top that by a further 31 is staggering and very rewarding for everyone involved.
"Education, Enforcement, and Engineering have been the key elements in working together to deliver the messages, and campaigns have been targeted at all ages. The most important thing has always been to change behaviour and the way people approach, walking, riding and driving to encourage them to think safety first every time. "
"It cannot be said that these lives have been saved purely because of the work done by the partnership. Road casualty statistics are complicated and can involve a lot of different factors, including the economy and the weather. But, through 95 Alive we hope these crucial lessons have been learned to share the road, take responsibility and stay safe.
"We see the appalling reality of fatal and serious injury crashes, over 300 people have died in the past five years on the roads of York and North Yorkshire, thousands have been seriously injured, and while this is a big reduction on the 430 people killed in the previous five years it is still a huge tragedy. Crashes are not inevitable, they are preventable. Our ultimate aim is to make safe driving the most vital priority."
The original five year 95 Alive campaign finishes on March 31. Government funding which has been channelled through North Yorkshire County Council will end then, and in these challenging times, it is not clear what funding will be available. But the decision has been taken by the Partnership to carry on working together to deliver the campaign, although in a more limited form, under the 95 Alive banner. With reduced resources it is even more important that agencies and local communities work together to address this most important of issues and maintain our good progress in reducing casualties on our roads.
Chris Anderson, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said:
"This is a remarkable achievement and highlights the benefits of working in partnership, as the combined effort of those involved have achieved more than what could have been done as individual organisations. Looking back to when we first agreed the vision of saving so many lives it was always going to be difficult to deliver such an ambitious target but through the hard work and dedication of those involved we have made a real difference to the communities of North Yorkshire and the City of York, something all concerned should be extremely proud of. That said we should not see this as a 'job done' and we need to now look to the future and be just as ambitious as to what we want to achieve over the next 5 years."
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said:
"This is very good news for everyone and reflects the commitment to making our roads safer by all the agencies who make up the "95 Alive" partnership.
"We may have less resources in the future but our commitment is as strong and determined as ever, inspired even more by these excellent results. Safer roads are a priority for North Yorkshire Police and our road policing teams know only too well the devastating consequences of
irresponsible and dangerous driving. We will continue with our robust approach to education and enforcement as we meet the challenging times ahead."
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