Countywide road safety review gets underway

A countywide road safety review is underway, instigated by Joy Dennis, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.

Joy has asked her Adviser on Road Safety, former traffic police officer Tom Richardson, to lead a cross-party group of fellow county councillors in the review.

“Road safety was one of the main reasons both Tom and I wanted to become county councillors,” said Joy, whose concern was sparked by what she had witnessed on the roads.

“It felt like a minority of drivers, be it a car, van or lorry, seemed to think the roads were there ‘just for them’: they were treating the network as a space only for motor vehicles, without due regard for others like motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

“My vision is for roads to be safer for all. I’m certainly not anti-motorised vehicles – ­ I have a car and enjoy driving – but motorised traffic is the most frequently used mode of transport and can present the greatest danger to those using more vulnerable forms.

“It isn’t just about speed, which can sometimes be a question of perception: it is a minority of drivers and their lack of due care and consideration for other road users.

“A lot is about education and reaching out to inexperienced drivers. The road is as safe as your driving, which includes being within the speed limit and driving according to the prevailing weather conditions.”

Under Tom’s chairmanship, the Task and Finish Group (TFG) will review the county’s road safety framework, including:

reviewing speed limit policy, to make it easier to introduce a lower speed limit, where appropriate
exploring other traffic management measures that could help reduce serious-injury accidents
considering other highway-related issues that may contribute to road traffic collisions.
Tom said: “The important thing to emphasise is that the Task and Finish Group’s work won’t solely be about speed limits – it’s also about how people use the roads. Driver education will be a big part of this, as will looking at various options to make things safer for all road users.”

The TFG is expected to conclude the review of speed limit policy in the summer.

More information:

There is a lot of information about the County Council’s approach to road safety online, including advice, details of driver training courses, cycle safety courses for schoolchildren, one-to-one cycle training and much more
Local communities concerned about road safety can discuss their concerns with their county councillor and submit proposals for highway improvements under the Community Highway Scheme process
In January, the Highway Code was changed to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses.

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