BSARA re-introduces SPEEDWATCH

Monitoring vehicle speed in Beacon Street

BSARA re-introduces SPEEDWATCH

BSARA has re-introduced SPEEDWATCH at the instigation of our members and with the support of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership ( ). The Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership is an umbrella organisation which includes the Police, Highways Agency, County Highways, the Ambulance service etc. We all want safer roads and BSARA’s contribution is to raise driver awareness by conducting SPEEDWATCH monitoring exercises on our patch. We do so in co-operation with our neighbourhood policing team.

The majority of motorists behave responsibly. SPEEDWATCH is aimed at the minority who do not. Reports of speeding vehicles are combined, on a national basis, with other SPEEDWATCH groups as well as police speed traps and automatic cameras. Everybody gets a warning letter and persistent offenders may be visited by the police or may have to attend driver awareness training. Our aim is to change driver behaviour, not to catch people. We put out warning signs, wear high visibility jackets and even advertise our presence, in advance, on Twitter ( @beaconstreetara ). SPEEDWATCH through the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership plays it part in making us realise that Speed Kills!

Road Safety information relating to Lichfield

Tourist coaches near Lichfield Cathedral
Beacon Street is an arterial road for traffic entering and leaving Lichfield from the north. The street, like most of Britain’s highways, was never designed for the motor vehicle and does struggle to cope with the demands of mixing pedestrians with high volumes of traffic. This is a heavily populated residential area where vehicle speeds regularly exceed the 30 mph limit. More houses and higher car ownership rates are making our roads more congested, leading some frustrated drivers to speed. The Council has contributing to the problem by encouraging tourism, while failing to provide adequate coach parking near the cathedral (see photo right) and by allowing house building far in excess of original plans, e.g. Darwin Park, but without delivering adequate improvements to our roads.

Staffordshire Highways have consistently resisted introducing road safety measures such as speed warning signs, traffic calming through road narrowing, etc. They justify their inaction by saying that budget limitations mean that they spend their limited resources based on the accident record of the road. The Police and Staffs Highways both say that Beacon Street does not have a poor safety record when judged against the police accidents database (STATS19). The Highways Agency makes similar arguments about the A38 near Streethay which is an accident blackspot. This should be taken with a pinch of salt, see Wikipedia. The Department for Transport (DfT) published research in 2008 which showed that a considerable proportion of road accidents are not known to the police. STATS19 is reasonably accurate for deaths and serious injuries, but it significantly under reports less serious road accidents. The DfT’s thinks there were 800,000 road accidents in 2008 compared to the 230,000 recorded on STATS19. Staffordshire Highways is in effect using under recording of less serious accidents by the police as an excuse to avoid spending money. They have put their budget ahead of your no claims bonus’s.