Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall and Chief Constable Michelle Skeer have today launched a year-long campaign to help keep Cumbria’s road safer, in response to what local residents tell them are their main concerns within their community.
Earlier this year, the annual Summer Survey carried out jointly with Cumbria Constabulary showed that in the last 12 months there is a growing concern about road-safety in the county. A substantive number of respondents, 8 out of 10, said that driving-related issues were a problem in their local area. The main concerns identified in all areas across Cumbria were speeding vehicles and drivers using their mobile phones whilst on the move.
Peter McCall said: “We are committed to improving road safety and promoting safer driving in Cumbria, not least because time and again, the public tell me it is of real concern – as the Summer Survey results illustrate. Through this campaign we are really keen to get the message out to people that we all have a personal responsibility to help keep our roads safe.
“It is a sad fact that most accidents are caused by our own unsafe behaviours, such as driving at inappropriate speeds, not wearing seatbelts, driving while drunk or on drugs, or by allowing ourselves to be distracted through using mobile phones and other devices while driving.
“Throughout this campaign we will be working with our partners, local communities and agencies to highlight the many aspects of safer driving. We will be raising awareness of the dangers of unsafe behaviours through education and engagement with our communities, with a view to focussing on a different theme each month. Given the time of year with many people enjoying Christmas activities, this month the focus will be on the dangers of driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.
“I would like to reassure the public that this is a key priority of mine, and wish to emphasise that we all need to work together to raise awareness of the catastrophic effect that road accidents can have and make sure that our friends, families and colleagues are all aware of the dangers and the potential consequences.”
Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “The Constabulary are fully behind this campaign in order to ensure Cumbrian roads are safer for all concerned.
“We run numerous operations, initiatives and awareness campaigns throughout the year to educate road users and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads. We also work with community groups and a number of partner agencies through the Cumbria Roads Safety Partnership (CRSP) to make the Cumbrian road network as safe as possible.
“Keeping safe on the county’s roads is also the responsibility of the public. In Cumbria we focus on what we call the ‘Fatal Four’, which are the four most likely contributors to a road traffic collision. They are speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, using a mobile phone and incorrect use of seatbelts or child seats. Each one of these on its own has the potential to be a contributory factor in somebody being killed or seriously injured. Importantly they are also behaviours that road users can be directly responsible for and control.
“The best advice for motorists is to simply drive safely and responsibly in accordance with the law. This means no phones, no driving at excess speed, never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and make sure that you wear your seatbelt at all times, with children using the correct child seat.
“It is also vital that motorists adapt their driving accordingly at this time of year and ensure that vehicles are ready for winter conditions.
“Collisions that result in fatalities or people being seriously injured can impact whole communities. I urge everyone to consider what they can do to help keep people safe on the county’s roads.”
At the launch event will be ‘Jordan’s Car’. The car is the wreckage of a Mini involved in a fatal road traffic collision on Cumbria’s roads last year in which the 18-year-old driver lost his life.
Jordan McClure, of Carlisle, was killed when he crashed his Mini Cooper whilst driving near Kirkandrews-on-Eden, between Carlisle and Burgh by Sands. No other vehicle was involved in the incident, which occurred in April of last year.
An investigation into the collision found there were a number of factors which contributed.
Following the crash, Cumbria Police approached the family and asked to use the vehicle for road safety promotion. The family were fully supportive of the proposal.
Cumbria Police, with the blessing of Jordan’s family, showcase the car at events around the county to highlight issues facing drivers – particularly young drivers.
Police Constable Shaun McKeown said: “Obviously, given Jordan’s young age, he was a relatively inexperienced driver and, on the day in question, the weather was poor, making the road conditions particularly hazardous.
“Jordan had made a number of modifications to his car, some of which compromised key safety components, whilst the tyres were also well-worn.
“The investigation also found that excessive speed played a part. The combination of all of these factors resulted in the fatal collision that day.”