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Avon and Somerset Police Support Road Safety Week, 19-26 November

One in four fatal collisions in the UK involve someone driving too fast- and with this alarming statistic in mind, Avon and Somerset police are supporting Brake’s national Road Safety Week by opening up the conversation about excess speed and the devastating consequences it can have.

Running between 19-26 November, the national campaign urges drivers to travel at a safe speed to reduce both the number of collisions on our roads, and the severity of collisions when they do happen.

During Road Safety Week and into the busy festive season, Avon and Somerset police will be carrying proactive road safety patrols across the force area and targeting motorists who choose to drive at unsafe speeds.

In Avon and Somerset, there has been an increase in fatal road traffic collisions this year compared with 2022. Fifty-six people have sadly been killed in 48 collisions, while the previous year saw 44 fatal RTCs, an increase of nine per cent.

Excess speed is one of the ‘fatal five’ factors that dramatically increase a motorist’s likelihood of being involved in a fatal or serious injury collision, alongside drink/drug driving, careless driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel and not wearing a seatbelt. Nationally each year, drivers who speed or travel too fast for the road conditions contribute to more than 10,000 collisions, resulting in 345 deaths and 3,388 serious injuries.*

In this year alone, 124,667 speeding offences have already been detected by Avon and Somerset Police. In line with an approach which favours education over penalties, up to 87% of these offenders were eligible to be offered education as an alternative to prosecution.

Community SpeedWatch volunteers will also be out in force during Road Safety Week to monitor speeds and raise awareness about the impact of driving too fast. Community SpeedWatch groups collate information about potential risk areas and highlight possible offenders, providing police with an opportunity to offer education and warnings ahead of penalties.

There are 140 active Community SpeedWatch groups in the force area which give local people the opportunity to get actively involved in road safety with support from the Constabulary’s Speed Enforcement Unit.

Insp. Robert Barker, Roads Policing lead at Avon and Somerset Police said: 

“This year, we have seen an alarming rise in fatal and serious injury collisions on the roads of Avon and Somerset, each with a profound and life-long impact on the families and communities affected.

“This is an unacceptable trend which we are working hard to reverse through both enforcement, and continued education about the ‘fatal five’ factors which play a role in nearly every fatal or serious injury collision that we see.

“It is well known that excess speed is one of these factors. Travelling at higher speeds increases the distance it takes to stop and can increase the severity of a collision, the risk of loss of life and the extent of serious injury.

“You can expect to see speed enforcement officers out and about across the force in the coming week, supported by Community Speedwatch Volunteers, all of whom are working hard to make our roads safer for everyone.”

In a blog post for road safety charity Brake ahead of Road Safety Week, Chief Constable Jo Shiner, Road Safety Lead for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) discussed the importance of changing the conversation around speed enforcement.

“Discussions about speeding, and in particular the way in which the police enforce the law on speeding, often descend into arguments about being ‘just a little bit over the limit’, or the speed camera location, or whether drivers were properly warned in advance of a speed detection operation.

“We don’t have these sorts of conversations about being ‘just a bit’ over the drink-drive limit or driving a ‘little bit’ dangerously. . . All of this ‘noise’ misses the uncomfortable and inescapable truth that speed kills.

“Abiding by the laws of the road, which are designed first and foremost to protect life, reduces the chances of being killed or seriously injured in a collision or causing a fatal or serious collision.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford said

“Speeding is one of the major causes of death and serious injury on our roads.  The impact goes beyond the individuals involved, harming families and communities, this is why road safety is a high priority for me in my role as Police and Crime Commissioner.

“We all have a part to play in ensuring the roads are safe for everyone, and as an active member of my local Community Speed Watch I will be out volunteering this Road Safety Week to support the police’s efforts to encourage safe driving.” 

*Department for Transport (2022) RAS0704: Reported road collisions, casualties and vehicles where speed was a contributory factor by severity, Great Britain, ten years up to 2021

About Community SpeedWatch

Community SpeedWatch (CSW) is a national initiative where active members of local communities join with the support of the Police to monitor speeds of vehicles using speed detection devices. Volunteers receive appropriate training,  and are supported by neighbourhood policing team staff.

Vehicles exceeding the speed limit are referred to the Police with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds. In cases where education is ignored and evidence of repeat or excessive offences is collated (even across county borders), enforcement and prosecution will follow.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

They do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK’s flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook or The Brake Blog.