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New public safety campaign to end road deaths 'doesn’t go far enough'

A West Midlands charity has said a new public safety campaign to end road deaths doesn’t go far enough and infrastructure needs to be improved.

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An image from the new Tfwm road safety public info campaign

The billboard and social media crusade to stop reckless driving was launched on Monday and is part of a package of actions unveiled by police and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) last week.

Hard-hitting messages warn motorists of the tragic consequences of driving irresponsibly while police deploy extra resource into rooting out the worst offenders.

But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has released a statement to say the measures “only partially address the city’s road troubles” and vital infrastructure improvements are needed.

David Walker, head of road and leisure safety at RoSPA, said: “We welcome some of the previous packages of work, however, these infrastructure changes are critical to achieving the vision of a safer Birmingham and are the measures that will protect everyone, all the time, as we have seen in other world-leading cities.

“Given that exceeding the speed limit and travelling at an inappropriate speed contributes to 27 per cent of fatal collisions, we welcome the commitment to consult on reducing speed limits from 40mph to 30mph.

“However, as a number of these incidents have taken place on 30mph roads, a wider review of speed limits is needed.

“We ask Andy Street and the decision-makers within West Midlands Combined Authority to listen to our concerns, announce their intention to speed-up the roll-out of safer infrastructure, and faithfully commit to their mission to bring down the road casualty rate in the second city.”

The campaign is the result of a summit held by West Midlands mayor Andy Street, West Midlands Police, TfWM, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for transport Liz Clements, the walking and cycling commissioner Adam Tranter and other local representatives.

As well as the campaign, police have launched ‘Operation Triton’ to crackdown on hotspots where drivers regularly break the law and extra teams will be out on the streets to target the worst offenders.

Police also say more resource will go into its third-party reporting service so it can better respond to dash-cam and helmet-cam footage submitted by the public.

All A and B roads will also have a new maximum speed limit of 30mph in changes following anger by protesters and campaigners due to several deaths and serious incidents on the region’s roads.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Any death on our roads is a tragedy and in recent weeks we’ve seen too many lives lost, families heartbroken, and communities outraged.

“That’s why we must all work together and remain focused on taking sustained action that can make our roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

“It’s going to require a huge effort – and we’re already turning words into action.”

Simon Foster, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, said: “People being tragically and avoidably killed and seriously injured on our roads is unacceptable.

“That’s why I am holding West Midlands Police to account, to prevent, tackle and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour on our roads.

“The force has agreed to crackdown on rule breakers on our roads, set up two new police teams to bring dangerous drivers to justice and make it easier for you to report dangerous driving.

“Keeping people safe on our roads must remain a top priority.”

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