The number of fatal accidents on East Sussex roads is ‘out of control’ according to County councillor Philip Howson (Rye Observer, July 1).
He quotes provisional figures from East Sussex County Council (ESCC)showing that in 2015 22 people died, an increase from 16 in 2014, and 348 people were seriously injured.
ESCC councillor Chris Dowling says that ‘£1 million is being allocated to look into the issues and causes’. Safer Sussex Roads Partnership (SSRP) says that ‘driver error and driver behaviour’ are the main causes of crashes.
There have been numerous studies into the causes of road crashes, resulting in as many reports and varying conclusions. So why do ESCC have to spend £1,000,000 ‘to look into the issues and causes’? Some Internet research would reveal all they need to know. Alternatively they could ask SSRP - they have hit the nail on the head.
I write from experience having been a police officer attached to the Traffic Division of Sussex Police for twelve years.
As SSRP state there are two types of offender, the person who makes an error, and the people who commit an offence by their deliberate behaviour.
Many law abiding people make mistakes when driving. Who hasn’t hit 35mph in a 30 limit? The deliberate offender drives at 50mph in the same limit. However, the same remedy will deal with both types of driver.
I am not privy to the details of the various serious injury and fatal crashes which have occurred on the A21, but I would be certain that driving at an average speed higher than the posted limit is not a major cause. More likely it is driving at a speed in excess of the limit to execute a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre that is the cause.
There is however, a solution to the crash problem caused by risky and deliberately bad driving. A solution that has been sidelined both nationally and locally for decades.
The re-introduction of traffic policing carried out by skilled police officers has now become a necessity. For a driver to see a powerful, marked police car with the crew parked up watching the traffic go by, or patrolling the road network always engendering a feeling of compliance, reducing the risks inherent in bad driving.
Traffic police also prevent and detect crime. Burglars are not to be seen standing at a bus stop carrying a television and laptop with jewellery hanging from their pockets, they use motor transport.
Traffic police are the only branch of the police force that actually patrol and have a sixth sense for detecting lawbreakers.
We need more traffic police patrolling our roads for the benefit of everybody.
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