March, the month when winter might start to release its grip on our weather but more often than not this is too early. That said March is the month in which we put our clocks forward towards summer so the hours of daylight are being extended, so good news for regular road users.
March is also the month when your Community Speed Watch Team will be less restricted by the operating limits imposed by adverse winter conditions and limited hours of daylight, so expect to see your CSW team carrying out more operations at the roadside.
In September last year Dorset Road Safe ran a conference, for Speed Watch Coordinators and volunteers, to highlight the positive impact of Community Speed Watch teams across Dorset. Community Speed Watch volunteers give their time and effort to monitoring speeds in more than 75 village and urban locations. Between them the teams monitor over 285 sites that have been assessed by Police staff, and have been approved for monitoring.
The Community Speed Watch scheme in Dorset is designed to empower local communities in raising awareness of the need for drivers and motorcyclists to observe speed limits on local and urban roads. Statistically the majority of collisions, fatalities and serious injuries occur on such roads. Dorset Police support the scheme by training and supervising Community Speed Watch teams, and by processing the information provided by the teams and sending out advisory letters. In this way the scheme doesn’t penalise the motorists, but is an important tool in Dorset Road Safe’s programme to raise awareness and to educate our driving public.
Between January and September 2018 Community Speed Watch teams conducted more than 750 CSW sessions, each lasting approximately one hour. This represented more than 3000 volunteer hours, and more than 6000 letters were sent to motorists who had been observed and recorded as driving at speeds in excess of current Police guidance for roads with speed limits of 20, 30 and 40 mph.
SPEEDING drivers who are dismissive of Speedwatch volunteers might like to pay a little more attention in future.
Dorset Police will be rolling out a dedicated officer who will move around to work with the county’s 600 Speedwatch helpers. That means it’s likely to result in more drivers getting a fine rather than a warning letter.
Chief Constable James Vaughan revealed the move when talking about his plans for the year ahead at Thursday’s county police and crime panel.
He said volunteers put in some 16,000 hours each year.
“There is a growing sense that they are a toothless tiger – but we will put some sting into that tail,” he said.
“We want to get a full time professional operator so people won’t know whether they will be getting a letter or a fine.”
Since 2012, the number of people killed and seriously injured on Dorset’s roads has shown a sustained fall.
In 2012 it was 355, in 2018 with figures to be confirmed, it was 239, a reduction of slightly more than 32.
Slight or minor collisions have showed a similar reduction of a little over 30%.
An average of 378 people were killed or seriously injured on Dorset’s roads in the preceding 13 years (1999 – 2011), again showing a steady reduction to the present.
Chief Constable James Vaughan, Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and Head of Roads Policing Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk have put the positive change down to active and intelligence led roads policing, investment of funds and resources and close partnership working.