It was one of the least expected but most criticised aspects of the pandemic. Now, at the start of the latest national speeding campaign (19 July – 8 August), a survey of Gloucestershire’s town and parish councils has confirmed ‘speeding traffic’ is one of the main concerns within local communities. 

The main results of surveys and data reviews carried out by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) are:

  • 25% of people taking part felt unsafe or very unsafe on roads where they lived
  • There were 24 road fatalities in 2020, the same average figure as the previous five years, with the police identifying speed as a consistent factor in many fatal crashes
  • The feeling that action would only be taken to make roads safer after a fatality or serious injury
  • Community SpeedWatch and camera data indicating those regularly speeding lived within the local community
  • Grass roots councils not knowing where to go to get advice and not having the power to deal with what is a community problem
  • Communities disenfranchised as they do not have a road safety campaigner on their council, and/or sufficient funds to implement road safety initiatives

Download the survey and it’s accompanying report below.

SafeSocialRoadsSurvey.pdf RoadSafetyReport.pdf

Making Gloucestershire’s roads safer has always been at the heart of the county’s Police and Crime Plan and is one of new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson’s priorities.

“Motorists should treat other road users with respect”

He said, “Speeding is one of the issues that people want to talk to me about the most when I am out and about, not least because it seems to have got worse during lockdown when the roads have generally been quieter.

“It remains a major concern for our communities, and whilst they do undertake some road safety activity there is a challenge to Gloucestershire County Council and the Police amongst others to do more to support them in their endeavours. The aspiration for a VISION ZERO approach to road safety, based on the belief that no death or serious injury is acceptable, is something we should and must try hard to achieve but it will require a collective effort”.

“At the request of local communities and road safety groups, the number of mobile speed camera locations managed by the Constabulary has now more than doubled and the police will enforce when necessary, but everyone who uses our roads can help. If a high number of serial speeders come from within the community, part of the answer is on our own doorstep.

“Motorists have a responsibility to treat other road users with respect and it is disappointing that despite all the evidence and warnings of the dangers involved so many drivers think it’s still ok to go over the limit, putting themselves and others at risk.

“We have to be very concerned at what communities are telling us. For one in four to feel unsafe or very unsafe is extremely concerning, and we must do better. We all have a responsibility to do something about it”.

“Speeding is totally unacceptable”

The OPCC report, which included information gained through interviews with community campaigners, representatives from the statutory and third sectors and a study of available data also revealed the significant impact on the new normal road landscape, including:

  • Government promotion of walking and cycling, but with limited ability on rural roads to achieve physical segregation from other road users
  • An expected increase in urban-based ‘staycationers’ arriving in the county who are less familiar with driving on rural roads
  • An increase in online shopping leading to an increase in white-van traffic
  • The arrival of micro-mobility with the e-scooter trials in Gloucester and Cheltenham
  • A greater focus on communities right to feel safe on their roads, feeding into the bigger picture around the impact of COVID lockdowns and shielding on mental and physical health, and the ability to live a fulfilling life

Detective Superintendent Paul Keasey, who leads on roads policing at Gloucestershire Constabulary said.” A wide ranging, intelligence led review is already in progress to enhance police education and enforcement activity, and to support communities in local initiatives. Many actions are already operational.

“However, at the heart of the issue is a need for a fundamental change in behaviour change, and for society to embrace that speeding is totally unacceptable.”

The results of the OPCC survey have been shared with Gloucestershire County Council’s Road Safety Cabinet, Gloucestershire Road Safety Strategic Forum, Safer Gloucestershire and the Gloucestershire Association of Town and Parish Councils.

The aim is to establish a consistent, countywide strategy to make Gloucestershire’s roads safer.