Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Speeding or talking on the phone while behind the wheel should be just as unacceptable as drinking and driving, says the police chief

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“We have this culture that considers death on the road to be inevitable – it is not. They have complacency and selfishness from the drivers, they think this is not going to happen to them.

Despite months of national and local lockdowns, 1,460 people were killed on UK roads last year – an average of four every day. Another 22,069 were seriously injured.

As the UK’s top road police officer, Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Cox has witnessed the carnage of these “violent, unnecessary and avoidable deaths” many times. It is the fact that so many could easily have been avoided that he finds most alarming.

“We have this culture of seeing death on the road as an accident and an inevitability – of course not,” he says. “They have complacency and probably selfishness from the drivers – they think that will not happen to them.”

This is partly because penalties imposed on drivers who break the law often fail to reflect the havoc caused by road deaths, argues Mr Cox, who serves with the Lincolnshire Police Department and the national chief for that Investigation of fatal road collisions is.

He finds it “frustrating” that drivers who should be banned after collecting 12 penalty points on their driver’s license, sometimes after collecting points from four different violations, are allowed to continue driving after claiming that a ban would make them “exceptional To prepare hardness. , such as the inability to do their job.

“This is someone who typically had four opportunities to change their behavior,” says Cox. “Bereaved, seriously injured and endangered by this driver – that’s where the need begins, and therefore we should not tolerate or allow this behavior.”

He wants insurers to incentivize the use of black box technology and dashboard cameras to promote safe driving – and believes that pocket-owned drivers will vote for cheaper safe driving premiums.

Given that speed is a major contributor to many road deaths and serious injuries, Cox asks “why do we continue to have vehicles that can significantly exceed the national speed limit”. In the future, speed limiters could use GPS location data to restrict the driver to the legal limit.

Cox adds that protected bike lanes and improved sidewalks on roads with 30 km / h and 30 mph limits, where most people walk and cycle, would help protect “vulnerable road users”.

He wants speeding or using a phone behind the wheel to be just as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. “I call it ‘street crime’ and not a ‘traffic offense’ because it causes damage,” he says.

“It devastates both affected families,” he adds. “They are things that people stay lifelong and they will never get over them.”

As part of the Road Safety Week that begins today, he calls on drivers to take on more responsibility. “Let’s take the scenario when someone overtakes and only thinks of how they can save a few seconds to get from A to B, but don’t think about the possible consequences.

“Unfortunately for so many people it has these devastating effects every day.”

Last month, the Ministry of Transport launched a consultation on the establishment of a Road Collision Investigation Department, a facility dedicated to “learning lessons” from accidents. It could work in a similar way to comparable organizations that monitor air, sea and rail accidents, investigate the causes of incidents and make recommendations on how to improve safety.

Mr. Cox has long called for national research coordination and “professionalization of the collision investigation process”.

He adds, “Road death trends don’t just happen in a small place for a short period of time,” and it can take three to five years to properly analyze trends, “be it the most dangerous roads, the most dangerous problems, or the most “Dangerous drivers”.

Mr Cox has made it his personal mission to make the roads safer and to change the way we think about the dangers on our highways.

In May, he will run 30 miles a day for seven days, visit police forces and survivors across the country, while collecting sponsorship money for RoadPeace. The association helps bereaved and seriously injured people in traffic and campaigns for the rights of victims.

Having raised £ 50,000 earlier this year by running 200 km, this time around he is aiming for £ 500,000 for the charity’s 30th anniversary.

Representatives from all 43 armed forces across England and Wales and hopefully Scotland will join Mr Cox running, cycling or walking from police stations to meet people who have lost loved ones on the streets.

He hopes others will join him, including some celebrities. Britain’s most successful Paralympist, Dame Sarah Storey, will take part in the stage of his run in Sheffield.

Cox believes that dash cams and cycle cams can be a “game changer” for road safety. About two-thirds of the growing number of video submissions “end in some form of enforcement action” against drivers who break the law.

“Reporting traffic crime is no different, in my opinion, from asking someone to report violence or burglary and other crimes, as it can harm and harm communities. We have essentially only encouraged the public to be part of this solution and they are taking us on it. “

For more information on Andy Cox’s run and how to donate, please visit his website at give righteously.with

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