Using a ‘safe systems’ approach to develop a road safety strategy for Somerset

An ambitious new road safety strategy for Somerset from 2017 to 2026 is being developed which aims to ensure that no road user in the county should be killed or seriously injured. A consultation (now closed) has invited views on a new strategy which uses a ‘safe systems’ approach to deliver the vision.

The draft strategy explains how ‘in a Safe System there is shared responsibility for preventing injury, not just between road users and enforcers but also those that design, build and manage roads or vehicles’.

Children and young people are identified as a specific target sub-group of vulnerable road users. The majority of children and young people seriously injured or killed on Somerset’s  roads are car passengers (53%), followed by pedestrians (30%) and cyclists (16%).The draft strategy also highlights deprivation and health inequality factors.

As part of its objectives for safe speed, the strategy aims to continue to increase the use of 20mph limits and zones in areas where vulnerable road users will be mixing with motorised vehicles, such as in town centres, near children’s playgrounds and outside schools during pick-up times.

Road casualties in Somerset have decreased; 22 people were killed in 20 fatal collisions in 2017 – the lowest number of fatal collisions on record and three fewer than in 2016. However, as the County’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for road safety points out, ‘…even one death is one too many’

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Updated April 2018