Lincolnshire’s ‘decade of road safety action’

Adrian Jones (L) and Steve Screaton (R) from Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue is launching its contribution to the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety with a clear message — save lives and money by driving safely.

The UN’s campaign is reacting to rising deaths and serious injuries from road accidents globally.

Each year 1.3 million people die in road accidents. The annual economic cost to developing countries alone is a jaw-dropping $100 billion.

In the UK, it costs around £1.5 million for each fatality in road accidents, and £200,000 for a serious injury.

In 2009, there were 52 fatalities on Lincolnshire’s roads.

As well as the emotional devastation to family, friends and communities, these incidents cost county taxpayers £78 million.

Steve Screaton, Fire & Rescue Road Safety Manager, said the campaign will raise awareness not just of the loss of life, but the substantial financial impact, which is significant given the current state of the British economy.

Screaton said: “It is about the drivers being aware of the hazards on the roads they’re using. If they drive accordingly to the hazards, they can reduce the risk [of an accident] themselves.”

He added: “Our first point of view is always education. It’s about educating the drivers of the dangers of the roads, trying to look at developing their skill levels.

Driving tests in Britain are “quite minimal”, he believes.

“You have so many lessons, then you do a test, and that’s it. That’s it for the whole of your driving career unless you take it upon yourself to look to improve your skills through advanced driving courses.”

Screaton said he’d suggest to the government that they look at re-assessing drivers every few years: “There’s no other trade, I feel, where you just do the one series of lessons then you do a test. You’re always re-assessed. If you’re a plumber you’re re-assessed every three years to make sure you’re competent at that skill level.”

Furthermore he thinks driver education programmes are much better for everyone than putting points on a licence for an offence.

“We would just like drivers of Lincolnshire to carry on taking responsibility for their driving, look to improve their driving skills, and really try to abide by the laws of the highway,” he said.

Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue offer education services for drivers in its 2Fast2Soon campaign.