The Peninsula Road Safety Partnership (PRSP) that covers Devon and Cornwall has been in existence now for 16 years, continually striving to make the 22000km or 13670 miles of road as safe as possible for all residents and visitors to this beautiful part of the UK. To do this it has embraced new technology such as average speed systems and 4G digital cameras to replace older obsolete wet film models.
The only purpose of safety camera enforcement is to reduce casualties or the likelihood of casualties by changing road user behaviour so that compliance with traffic regulations is improved. This in turn should reduce the fear from harm for all road users and communities.
Safety camera enforcement should be primarily data-led and balanced with the needs of the communities and the authorities that serve them.
The use of safety cameras should be evidence based, proportional and justifiable, with a clear purpose to bring about a change in behaviour which in turn leads to a corresponding reduction in injury collisions. Data sources may be many and varied, and the severity of the problem to be solved will also vary. As such the appropriate intervention should be tailored to suit the analysis of the problem being tackled.
In basic terms this provides four basic enforcement site types:
- Casualty reduction (Core) site - Analysis of collision data identifies locations, routes or areas where there are high priority sites or there are patterns within the collisions which are likely to be reduced by safety camera enforcement.
- Community concern site - There is community concern associated with observed levels of traffic violation which give rise to a reasonable concern for potential harm or fear of harm.
- Traffic management site - Where analysis identifies that traffic management is required to mitigate objectively identified increased risks of harm for road users where a highway is being modified in design or use. This may include variable speed limits and red X lanes on smart motorways.
- Operational site - Where intelligence led analysis identifies the potential to address an offender type rather than a site or location issue. The aim may be to maximise the deterrent effect on “determined offenders”.
The partnership has worked with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constables Office to develop the new roads policing strategy for Devon and Cornwall Police.
In an ideal world we would seek to have 100% compliance with the speed limit, as all the empirical data confirms the statistical link between higher speeds and higher severity of injury or likelihood of death in a road traffic collision, however this will never happen without a huge cultural shift or the full implementation of autonomous vehicle controlled entirely by artificial intelligence.
To that end the PRSP is already working with the recently increased roads policing team and the newly created No Excuse undertaking targeted operations across Devon and Cornwall, in response to local community concerns or identified problem locations in line with national best practice.
The vast majority of motorists using our road network are law abiding and drive in a safe and considerate manner, for that we whole heartedly thank you. We are all human and therefore we all make mistakes and occasionally that may result in normally law abiding motorists receiving a Notice of Intended prosecution for what many consider to be minor infringements of the speed limit.
The PRSP works within the National Police Chiefs Council speed enforcement thresholds and offers speed awareness courses to those eligible to complete the course for such lower level infringements. Speed awareness courses do not attract any points on ones driving licence, but do still need to be declared to your insurance company.
As the level of speed non-compliance increases, i.e. the speed above the limit increase, the discretionary offer of a speed awareness course is not made and a conditional offer of a fixed penalty ticket, which carries a fine and point is made. There is the option to elect a court appearance at any stage, be that speed awareness course or conditional offer speeds.
There are however the small minority of road users that consider themselves above the law and such things as speed limits and habitually exceeding the speed limit by a significant amount, it is these individuals that we take to court without offering other options. Ideally we would remove the right to drive from these individuals completely if they did not change the manner of their driving.
It is these individuals that we target specifically in our joint operations with roads policing officers and the No Excuse Team. During such operations we do deploy speed camera vans into areas that do not have speed camera enforcement signs in the location.
It is a common misperception that speed camera enforcement signs must be displayed, this is incorrect, there is nothing in law that states these signs need to be displayed, however we prefer to educate and change driver behaviours than prosecute, therefore we do place signs out at our regular static and mobile enforcement sites.
We do so as all the research confirms the positive speed reduction effect that a speed camera enforcement sign has on the majority of law abiding road users. We all do it…we automatically look at our speedometers and slow down.
It has always been the case that we can operate with speed camera enforcement signs but until recently we have only done so on limited operations, however as we receive more and more concerns from local communities regarding excessive speed or other dangerous driving activities, we are increasing the number of operations we conduct and as a consequence many of those operations will be in areas that currently do not have speed camera enforcement warning signs.
The Peninsula Road Safety Partnership is always actively exploring ways to make the roads of Devon and Cornwall safer we will be increasing the number of operations we conduct without speed camera warning signs.