The other day, whilst carrying out a Community Speed Watch operation, a male motorist of indeterminate age, drove past making offensive and rude gestures. This is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. It is a fact of life that some people, when they believe they have been seen doing something that they know is ‘wrong’ will react negatively, rather than ask themselves what the reason is behind their reaction.
Nevertheless, it has to be accepted that vehicle drivers are not robots, and there cannot be many, if any, who have not at some time driven at speeds above the posted speed limits. This is easily done if not concentrating, being temporarily distracted, being in unfamiliar surroundings, first time driving a new vehicle etc. But responsible motorists quickly realise what they are doing and make a correction.
A minority of vehicle drivers however seem to believe that posted speed limits are variable according to their view of what speed is safe, and often without regard for road conditions or other road users, and such drivers can put themselves and others at risk. It is almost certain that a proportion of these road users react negatively when observed by Speed Watch teams, and this possibly arising from their being unhappy that they might be reported or just that they feel embarrassed by failing to observe the posted speed limit. Who has not had that awful moment of doubt on realising that you are being followed by a Police car, which due to not paying attention or being sufficiently aware, may have been there for some time.
Human behaviour dictates that in our lives every one of us will, unless saintly, do things that on reflection we might not do again. In the case of Community Speed Watch the aim is to act as a reminder to all road users that speed limits are put in place on our roads to ensure the safety and welfare of all road users.
‘Spring is here! – continued from the BCSW article for April.
Last month’s BCSW article began the process of reminding readers of ‘What is Community Speed Watch?’ and ended with the information collected by CSW volunteers at the roadside. You might now be wondering what is done with this information?
Once the CSW operation is completed, the information gathered is collated, checked and entered into a Dorset Police spreadsheet, which is then sent to Dorset Police for their consideration and action as appropriate. CSW is required to keep records of all the operations mounted, and the information gathered, for a minimum period of 12 months.
Can I join BCSW? Yes you can!
All new volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, and all will have to agree to appropriate vetting procedures (currently being revised). Once accepted, all new volunteers will receive safety training, and be trained to use the CSW equipment issued to CSW teams in order to mount and carry out roadside CSW operations. Every CSW operation will be supervised by an experienced and suitably qualified team member.
What am I committing myself to?
A CSW operation will normally run for one hour, and with sufficient volunteers this will normally mean that you will only be asked to attend for one hour per week. The more volunteers we have the less demand on our/your time.
If you are interested in joining your Broadstone CSW team do contact us by e-mail using firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name and telephone number, and one of the team will contact you. We do run ‘try before you buy’ sessions where you may attend, without any obligation, a BCSW operation as an observer , it is an opportunity to meet the team and to see why, how and what we do.
You may also make enquiries via Dorset Police non-emergency number 101, or Dorset Police enquiries e-mail: enquiries@Dorset.PNN.Police.uk
In the meantime do drive safely, and be aware of the posted speed limit.
‘The spring is here, the grass is ris, I wonder what this ‘Speed Watch is?’
Almost a year has passed since Broadstone Community Speed Watch became independent, and it is perhaps time to refresh the public understanding of ‘Community Speed Watch’.
Community Speed Watch (CSW) is a partnership initiative that is aimed at raising awareness and encouraging speed reduction. Reducing speed will directly contribute to saving lives and will improve the quality of life for all people in Dorset. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for community minded residents wishing to contribute to their community, to get involved in making the roads safer where they/you live.
CSW is manned by volunteers from local communities, and all volunteers must be approved by Dorset Police. Successful volunteers receive training and guidance from Dorset Police so as to enable them to mount CSW operations at the roadside.
CSW operations may only be mounted on roads ‘approved and risk assessed’ by Dorset Police, and where there is evidence of ‘speeding’ issues. Such roads will have posted speed limits of 20, 30 or 40 mph.
CSW volunteers do not have any powers of enforcement. However CSW volunteers do operate equipment specifically designed to monitor vehicle speeds. CSW volunteers are trained to observe and record the details of any vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit by a margin of 10% + 2mph (for example 30 mph speed limit +10% + 2mph = 35mph). Therefore vehicles being driven on a 30mph road, at 36mph and above will risk being reported to Dorset Police. Drivers observed using mobile telephones whilst driving, and/or not wearing a seat belt whilst driving may also be reported. Details recorded by CSW volunteers include the speed of the vehicle at the time of detection, the registration number, make, model and colour of the vehicle, as well as the time at which the vehicle was observed.
More on this in the next issue of Broadstone Link magazine, but in the meantime ‘Drive Safely’.
Police in Dorset issued 45,344 speeding tickets last year – placing it in the top 10 forces in the UK.
Top officers have defended the figure after it was revealed that Dorset is tenth in a table of ‘most speeding tickets issued in 2017’, coming behind forces including Kent, Humberside, Norfolk and Dundee.
During the year, one motorist was stopped travelling 96 miles per hour in a 30mph stretch.
Sergeant Mark Farrow of Dorset Police’s No Excuses team said officers will always take speeding seriously.
“Excessive and inappropriate speed has been identified as one of the ‘fatal five’ offences – offences identified as being the main contributing factors in fatal road traffic conditions,” he said.
“A priority of Dorset Police is to reduce the number of people killed and seriously harmed on Dorset’s roads.
“The impact of these collisions is devastating to individuals, families and communities.”
Asked if drivers travelling in the county should be concerned about being criminalised, Sgt Farrow said: “All motorists have a responsibility to drive according to road traffic legislation.
“Motorists travelling within Dorset should do so in a careful and considerate manner, ensuring they obey the laws of the road. In doing so they will help make Dorset safer and will have no concerns over being ‘criminalised’.
“Individuals who wish to disregard driving standards, road signs, speed limits or drive while under the influence of drink or drugs can expect to be dealt with for doing so.
“Dorset Police’s No Excuse Team, road policing team and territorial policing officers patrol 24/7 and will deal with offenders who put the public at risk of harm.”
Money generated from motorists who attend driving courses after being caught speeding is used to provide free community safety education sessions in Dorset.
“Speed limits are set for several reasons, including the intention to improve road safety and reduce the number of road traffic casualties,” Sgt Farrow said.
“Those exceeding speed limits decrease the time that they have to react if an unforeseen incident were to occur and increase the potential for injury to themselves and other road users if involved in a collision.
“The impact of the resulting trauma to the driver, other road users, families, friends, those observing the collision, as well as the cost to the public purse in dealing with that collision could be substantially reduced by drivers adhering to the signed limits.”
From April last year, speeding drivers have faced stricter penalties and much higher fees based on their earnings. New rules came into effect in the UK in 2017 which means offenders can now be charged up to 175 per cent of their weekly income.
The system rates the severity of the offence based on speed limit.
A recent message from Martin Baker, Chair of Dorset Road Safe Tactical Group, stated that around 200 people are injured on our local roads each month. Across Dorset, road casualties cost the local economy around £160 million a year, of which at least £5 million directly impacts our NHS resources.
Statistics produced by the Department for Transport, in the Great Britain annual report for 2016, show that a total of 136,621 personal injury traffic accidents were reported to the Police. Of these reported accidents 1695 resulted in at least one fatality, an increase of 4% on 2015.
Fatalities by road user type in 2016:-
Car occupants 46%
In addition to the above the number of motorists found guilty in court of speeding rose sharply in the last 12 months. The number of convictions has risen by 28%, the highest increase since 2005.
Put this against a background where if you are caught speeding you will get three penalty points on your license and a fine which could be up to 150% of your weekly wage. The maximum fine is £1,000 for most roads, rising to £2,500 for excessive speeding on a motorway.
Penalty points on your license will also impact on insurance premiums.
Yet, and despite the above, the question most often addressed to Broadstone CSW members by motorists and others is ‘Why are you here?’.
The answer to that is Community Speed Watch was set up to enable communities themselves to contribute to:-
Reducing death and injury on the roads in their own community,
Improving the quality of life for road users and residents alike,
Increasing awareness of local speed limits,
Encouraging positive changes in driver behaviour.
Broadstone Community Speed Watch activities are not carried out so as to ‘interfere’ with drivers’ behaviour, but are a proactive approach to improving the safety and quality of life for all road users, and others living and working in and around our own community.
Please help us to make 2018 our safest year yet!
Broadstone Community Speed Watch