Royal award for DCC road safety scheme

Sidmouth’s county councillor receives award from Prince Michael of Kent

A ROYAL seal of approval has been given to Devon County Council’s most successful road safety campaign.

Devon Country Mile project, which has generated a 44 percent drop in collisions over a year, received the Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award at a ceremony in London on Tuesday.

The awards are organised by RoadSafe, in recognition of outstanding contributions to improving road safety.

DCC worked in partnership with Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Devon and Cornwall Safety Camera Partnership, Devon Primary Care Trust and South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust on the project.

On Tuesday, County Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways and transportation, received the award from Prince Michael of Kent.

He said: “It’s an absolute honour to receive this award on behalf of all of the partners involved in this project, and the success of this scheme demonstrates how effective our combined efforts can be.

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“The aim of the Devon Country Mile was to make our rural roads safer, and it achieved that.

“We saw significant improvements in road casualty reduction in the target area of the project and I think this serves as a benchmark for other partnership schemes.”

In 2008, The Department for Transport provided �1.5 million for the two-year project so partners could research how to reduce road casualties in rural areas.

It trialled various innovative engineering, enforcement and education initiatives in the area between Exeter and Barnstaple, seeing a 44 percent reduction in collisions from November 2008 to the following October.

Group manager Alan Coxon, lead officer for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service on the initiative, said he is pleased Country Mile project had been recognised nationally.

He said: “Firefighters are all too often called to deal with the consequences of road traffic collisions and it is a priority for us to contribute to reducing the number of incidents that we have to attend. We are proud to be a member of this vital partnership.”

Inspector Richard Pryce from Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Reducing the number of deaths and serious injury collisions on our roads is a policing priority.

“This award reflects the hard work undertaken by all the agencies involved, but it is the number of lives potentially saved and collisions prevented which is the real success of this project.”

Devon Country Mile introduced �500,000 of safety improvements, including better speed limit signs and road markings, new police observation platforms, traffic sensors embedded into roads to identify risky driver behaviour and leaflets were given to motorists at roadside services offering safety tips.