REPORT TO FOLLOW
At the Council meeting on 18 May 2022, the following motion was agreed:
This Council notes:
· That 2022 has seen a significant number of incidents with motor vehicles in Gloucestershire, resulting in 96 serious injuries and 14 deaths in just the first four months.
· That Gloucestershire’s road safety record has actually worsened over the last decade, with our county in the bottom 5 per cent of local authorities in Britain for reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured between 2011 and 2019.
This Council believes that road safety needs to be proactively managed, with the emphasis on preventing deaths and serious injuries, and should not wait until tragedy strikes for changes to be made.
This Council welcomes the road safety policy review being undertaken, which will involve county wide consultation, seeking responses from District, Town and Parish Councils. Interested road safety groups and residents will be encouraged to respond. Safer Gloucestershire will receive regular input from the Road Safety Forum, provided by officers who have a statutory responsibility for road safety. This dialogue will be open and transparent. County Councillors will be encouraged to work with their Parish, Town and District colleagues, ensuring that local voices are heard regarding county road safety.
This Council resolves to:
· Ask officers to provide Environment Scrutiny and Fire and rescue Scrutiny with a thorough briefing on recent accidents and their causations.
· Call on Cabinet to ensure that communities and all levels of governance in Gloucestershire are thoroughly consulted on the refreshed Road Safety Policy.
· Call on Cabinet to work with Environment Scrutiny and Fire and rescue Scrutiny to develop a policy of ongoing dialogue with our residents to see road safety measures proactively installed in our communities.
Members to receive a briefing on recent accidents and their causations and to consider how to work with Cabinet to develop a policy of ongoing dialogue with Gloucestershire residents on road safety measures in the community.
Philip Williams, Assistant Director of Traffic and Transport, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), presented the report on recent road collisions and their causations within the County. The report was attached as a supplementary to the agenda for this meeting.
The report had been requested as part of Motion 901 – Road Safety in Gloucestershire, which was agreed by full Council at its meeting on 18 May 2022. Full details of the motion were included on the agenda for this meeting.
Members were presented with the key findings following an analysis of data on road collisions in Gloucestershire over the last ten years. Members were reminded that each of the statistics represented a person affected in some way by a collision.
It was understood that data from the ten years up to 2022 indicated only a marginal fall in fatalities, however a significant increase in people seriously injured in road collisions. On average, 25 people a year died on Gloucestershire roads, whilst almost 300 were seriously injured, and a further 842 on average slightly injured per year.
It was noted that a high proportion of deaths occurred on trunk roads, such as the A417. 48% of fatalities were on single carriageway roads with a 60mph speed limit, with the highest proportion of people killed in the Cotswold district in Gloucestershire between 2019 and 2021. However, the highest proportion of pedestrian and cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI’s) occurred in Gloucester and Cheltenham. These figures reflected the need for a differentiated road safety strategy for Gloucestershire that would encompass the high proportion of car users within rural areas, as well as the significant numbers of people travelling by walking or cycling in urban areas.
Members were informed that, based on evidence collected at the scene of collisions, 48% of collisions were related to speed in Gloucestershire, which was similar to the national picture. It was explained that as cars had become larger, it had become easier for people to drive faster without realising. This was particularly a concern for younger and older drivers who were more vulnerable in terms of their perception of risk.
Philip Williams continued to explain that this data had informed the Council’s draft road safety policy. A public consultation on the draft policy was launched in Summer 2022, which received over 500 responses. Cabinet would be considering a report to adopt the draft policy at its meeting on 23 November 2022.
Members noted that this year the Council had launched the Community Speed Watch Fund, in collaboration with the OPCC, as well as the Community Approaches to Road Safety toolkit.
The Committee was provided with an overview of the Vision Zero and Safe System approach, which informed the draft road safety policy. The aspiration was for there to be zero, or as close to zero, fatalities or serious injuries on Gloucestershire’s roads by 2050, with the aim for the number of KSI’s to be reduced by half by 2032.
Members were informed of the collaborative approach to road safety in the County, with the refresh of the Gloucestershire Strategic Road Safety Partnership.
Members also noted the identification of hotspots for collisions within the County, which would be regularly reviewed to inform a programme of engineering works.
It was requested that an item on GFRS’s approach to road safety, such as in education, prevention and responding to collisions, be included on the agenda for the next Committee meeting.
One member commented that it would be useful to have sight of the data for the number of vehicles registered in Gloucestershire and the population for the County for 2020/21, to provide the context for the road collision data. They also asked how partners were collaborating to provide education on road safety.
It was explained, in response, that GFRS, the Constabulary and the OPCC collaborated on the delivery of the ‘What If’ programme for schools. It was also understood that the road safety partnership would bring teams together to focus on and address priorities for road safety.
It was requested that Committee members be provided with an overview of the hotspot locations in Gloucestershire.
One member expressed the view that technology was not being used as effectively as it could to address road safety issues in the County.
Another member stated that there needed to be a sufficient budget for partners to address road safety in Gloucestershire, particularly in relation to enforcement.
In response, Philip Williams explained that it was for officers to advise regarding the development of budgets. He felt that more funding would be useful for road safety, however, it was also important to consider how to use current resources more efficiently.
In relation to enforcement, Nick Evans added that mobile camera vans were dispatched to hotspot locations, and that the police were looking into investing in an enforcement unit and into increasing the numbers of speed cameras on the roads.
One member queried the process for the introduction of reduced speed limits. They also suggested that road safety statistics be collected more comprehensively to include near misses or damage to property.
In response, Philip Williams assured the member that he would be happy to discuss the process for lowering speed limits with them. He also explained that when it came to collecting data, the priority was for statistics relating to life and injury.
Another member commented on the dangers of mobility scooters being used on the roads. They added that planning for schools should include drop off and pick up facilities for parents.
Nick Evans advised, in response, that neighbourhood police officers regularly attended schools to ensure that parents were parking appropriately, and that children at some schools were involved in advising parents on parking.