Posted: Thursday 24th March 2016
Article for Calverton Echo - March 2016:
Driver behaviour is a high priority issue for many of Nottinghamshire’s rural village and Calverton is no exception. I know from what you tell me, just how much it matters to you.
Some of our most idyllic and picturesque villages in Nottinghamshire are plagued by speeding and antisocial driving, threatening the safety of the people who live there and reducing quality of life. While there is no quick fix to these problems, taking a coordinated approach involving police, local residents and councils is much more effective in the long-term.
Road safety is drawn to my attention time and time again in our rural communities. Although speeding is perhaps the most topical issue, there are other equally dangerous behaviours that increase the risk of road users including driving without wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone at the wheel and driving under the influence of drink or drugs which along with speeding make up the ‘Fatal Four’ common accident causes. Rural road safety also covers environmental issues such as noise pollution and emissions, problems associated with parked cars and lorries exceeding weight restrictions to the safety of horse-riders, cyclists and pedestrians.
On a recent visit to Ravenshead Community Road Safety Group I was able to see for myself the kinds of driving problems experienced in the area and how these are affecting the enjoyment of the village. The scheme’s volunteers regularly hold road safety operations to raise awareness among motorists of the common causes of accidents and to collect valuable data for the police on the volume of speeding drivers.
In this type of scheme, villagers are provided with speed indicator devices which display vehicle speed. Anyone caught flouting the law will receive an advisory letter from their local neighbourhood policing team to explain that speeding is unacceptable to the local community.
Education has a valuable role to play in disrupting habitual driving patterns and making motorists more aware of the consequences of their behaviour on the roads. Working together with local communities and our partners in the public sector helps us to identify where resources are needed most and I’m very keen to push this kind of relationship further in Calverton with a view to creating a similar road safety monitoring group.
I’m always keen to hear from local people what kinds of problems they’re facing in their village and their ideas for solutions. The best way of making a difference is getting involved and there are a number of ways to do this including writing to me at my office to explain your road safety concerns or and attending the priority setting meetings hosted by the Force every three months. I was pleased to be able to attend the February meeting and hear first-hand about Calverton issues from the locals. I hope to visit the village in the very near future to talk to more people but in the meantime I would appreciate hearing your views about crime, whatever they are, to help me understand the needs of your community.