Monday, 4 February 2019
I am now the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly representative on the Roads Policing Strategy Group. It's great. For the most part it involves trying to work out how to reduce "KSI"s, take dangerous and uninsured drivers off the road, get communities involved in making our roads as safe as they can be and that type of thing. Oh, and in case you were wondering KSI stands for Killed and Seriously Injured. I had to ask when I first heard that. I'm not a traffic cop.
I also had to ask about another phrase, "The Fatal Five". It was being thrown about by my colleagues in white cap covers. The "fatal" bit was pretty obvious, and I figured there were five things to do with roads that would end you up that way. But I didn't want to assume what those five things were, hence I asked about that too. I fear I might be getting a reputation for asking too many questions. Anyway, the answer is here - The Fatal Five .
I was not surprised to learn that number one on that list is inappropriate or excessive speed, the results of which I saw early on in my career. The first time that I remember consciously seeing the results of excessive speed was when I was looking at the engine block of a Mk1 Ford Escort in the middle of the carriageway, next to a small tree it had knocked over. The debris that had once been the Mk 1 Ford Focus containing that engine block and its proud owner was spread in lumps and chunks quite some considerable distance either side of the engine block. I was on a cordon whilst a Traffic Police Sergeant with an awesome moustache and a clip board took measurements and made notes on his beautifully drawn map of the crash scene. Whilst I was holding one end of the tape measure next to a lamp post and he walked the other end out to the front axle, I asked him how fast he thought the car had been going.
He gave me one of those, 'stop asking sfqs [silly flaming questions] looks' before answering, "I'll tell you exactly how fast he was going. He was going too bloody fast.." Then as he wound the little handle and the tape measure disappeared back into its black leather case he continued, "Now get back on that cordon and make sure some dozy berk doesn't drive through the road closed sign and run me over."
That was a while ago and cars are now generally safer to drive (but just as dangerous if you are unlucky enough to get hit by one) and better at staying on the road. But they do still crash. Here in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly there were over 460 reports of damage only and personal injury road traffic collisions last month. Going too fast will have been a factor in almost all of them. I sincerely hope that you are not one of the next 460 or so reports. Driving at appropriate and safe speeds helps.
PS Please drive safely, and as ever your kindness and honesty are appreciated.