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New proposals are set to be discussed by councillors in a bid to tackle road safety in Cambridgeshire. 

By making some key changes and investing in road safety it could reduce the total cost to local health and social care budgets of all collisions in Cambridgeshire by £5m.

At the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee next week (13 March), councillors are set to discuss the increasing road casualty figures and new proposals to tackle the challenges facing the county.

The recommendations, if agreed, will include a new delivery model for road safety, a new methodology for assessing injury collision hotspots, and funding a list of safety improvement schemes for the coming year.

Killed or seriously injured casualties in Cambridgeshire have increased by 21% from 286 in 2015 to 347 in 2016 and the latest 2017 figures (August 2016 - July 2017) show 412. Factors such as reduced funding, driver behaviour, changes to the way collisions are recorded and people’s lack of fear about being caught committing traffic offences are all thought to have contributed.

The council has the opportunity to change its approach in response to these challenges and address the current trend in collisions across Cambridgeshire.

The proposed road safety hub approach, if approved, will deliver a core function and offer services and expertise to others, such as child road safety education, investigating collision hotspots and safety auditing planned changes to roads.

Another recommendation includes a new process for the identification of high risk locations based on recorded injury collisions. At the moment a single complex system is used to define a cluster site up to 1500m in length. The new proposal would see a simplified process, looking at both localised cluster sites as well as whole routes. This way the level of road safety risk can be highlighted for specific routes and locations, which will inform the prioritisation of available improvement funding.

Following committee, work will also commence with our partners to review the safety camera equipment across Cambridgeshire and the need to upgrade existing safety cameras to digital technology, with support for the operation of the existing equipment due to be withdrawn by suppliers.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Chair of the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Mathew Shuter said: “As a committee we’re mindful about the sensitivities around road safety and the devastating consequences collisions can have on people’s lives.

“We take the current trends in the figures and the challenges related to reducing road casualties seriously, which is why we’re suggesting a distinct change in approach.

“As a council, we have a statutory duty to promote road safety and prevent collisions, which we do every day working with partners in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership. However, these proposals outline a new model for road safety which will enhance the council’s ability to provide communities and other organisations with direct access to a range of road safety services as well as the potential for sharing services with others and the wider road safety partnership.”

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