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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 226

Date:- 07 November 2005

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Young Driver & Company Car Driver Campaign launched! No Excuses – Safety First

MERSEYSIDE Road Safety Camera Partnership, which aims to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads’, is launching a campaign to target two of the most vulnerable groups - young drivers and company car drivers / professionals. The hard hitting campaigns will appear on billboards and bus backs throughout Merseyside from 31 October; plus the team will be handing out leaflets, ice scrapers and pens at road shows across Merseyside. A radio campaign aimed at both groups will also be aired from 31 October; these adverts will play on the boy racer attitude of young drivers and target company car drivers who are often competing against the clock.

There were 62 deaths on Merseyside last year and 709 serious casualties; too many people are still being injured and killed on our roads. Everybody has a responsibility to drive safely and within the speed limit!

David Foulkes, Project Manager for the Partnership states:- “Through these images we are encouraging people to think about their driving habits. Speeding is a criminal offence; there are no excuses for speeding; the consequences can be horrific. The message is don’t just slow down for the safety cameras’.

Road safety cameras are a proven method for reducing casualties. A comprehensive evaluation report was published in June 2004. This independent report evaluated the first three years of the Safety Camera Scheme and covered the longest running 24 partnerships. It showed:

Effect on casualties at camera sites, beyond the long-term downward trend:-

There was a 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI)

There were 870 fewer KSIs per year, including over 100 fewer deaths

There was a 33% fall in injury accident – 4,030 fewer per year

There was a 35% reduction in pedestrian KSIs

Effect on speed

Average speeds at fixed sites fell by around 7% or 2.4mph

Average speed at urban sites fell by around 15%

The number of vehicles speeding at new camera sites dropped by 71%

Other findings

79% of people asked; support the use of cameras to reduce casualties

The benefit to society through casualties saved was about £221 million per year.

'Firework' flares are still a risk

A FRESH appeal is being made to the public not to use emergency flares as substitute fireworks during this year for celebrations. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency say that, despite a decline in the number of false alarms caused by flares last year, too many lives are still put at risk every time lifeboat and helicopter crews are called out, to what they assume to be a genuine cry for help.

While 2004 saw a significant drop in this type of call out, the last five years have seen a total of 180 incidents caused by revellers misusing distress flares to light up the night sky. Last year's celebrations still saw 25 false alarms, although the figure was down from 35 in 2003.

RNLI Staff Officer Operations, Hugh Fogarty, says:- "We're obviously very glad that our message has started to get through, but are still very concerned about this problem. We want to emphasise that when a flare goes up it is universally recognised as a distress signal, so it's no surprise to find concerned members of the public dialling 999 when they see one and they should continue to do so. Our volunteers, along with other search and rescue crews tasked by the Coastguard, are always ready to answer the call, but it is frustrating for them to search through the night because a flare has been fired for the wrong reasons. Not only are they called away from their own family parties on Guy Fawke's Night and other nights like New Years Eve, but they are also risking their lives each time they put to sea, needlessly searching in often very dangerous conditions."

MCA Head of Search and Rescue, Peter Dymond, says:- "Often people are tempted to use up their out of date flares on Bonfire Night, but this causes real problems for the rescue services. We would urge sailors to dispose of flares safely and responsibly by contacting their nearest Coastguard station. Out of date flares should be replaced straight away as they are an essential part of every sailor's kit and are meant to help save lives, not endanger them."

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