April, the month of showers! Or at least that is how it used to be when I was younger. Nowadays it seems that we can still have a threat of snow in the forecast? Thankfully we have now moved our clocks forward into British Summer Time and the promise of lighter mornings and evenings, and this means that your Community Speed Watch team can begin to extend their operating hours and coverage on all of the Broadstone roads authorized and approved by Dorset Police for Community Speed Watch operations.
The winter months have been challenging for all of our road users and ourselves. Despite this, and not unusually, we have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of road user behaviour over this period. Excess speed, tailgating, faulty headlights, cyclists without any lights and some without any head protection, pedestrians oblivious of what is going on around them, to name but a few.
Out of interest a recent report revealed that 43% of all collisions caused by speeding occur on A roads, whilst 15% occur on B roads. Just 4% of speeding related collisions occur on motorways. This report also stated that of the 5 people killed daily on our UK roads, 2 are caused by speeding, and in the remaining cases speeding is a factor. One possible reason behind the above might be that in a recent survey of drivers, 53% thought that speeding was ‘Okay’?
All that said, in an effort to spread the word and to make ourselves available to you, Broadstone Community Speed Watch will be manning a stand in Broadstone Library on Saturday the 13th April 1000 – 1200 hrs. Do put this event in your diary and come and meet us. We will do our best to answer any questions you may have.
Finally, Broadstone Community Speed Watch have been invited to give a five minute presentation at the Broadstone Neighbourhood Watch AGM in May. This will be another opportunity for you to ‘meet the team’.
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.