A project aimed at eliminating deaths on Kent’s roads by 2050 will be launched by Kent County Council at a press event at Manston airfield on Wednesday September 15.
The VISION ZERO launch will focus on van safety, as studies by Thatcham Research, a national road safety group, show people injured in cars are 40% more likely to be killed or seriously injured when involved in a head-on incident with a van compared to another car.
The strategy will outline how responsibility for safety on our roads will be shared by everyone from policy makers to engineers to vehicle manufacturers and the media. It reminds road users that they need to follow the rules to make sure they are as safe as possible.
Kent statistics show vehicles weighing under 3.5 tonnes were involved in 2,156 incidents in the five years to the end of 2020, causing 3,174 injuries including 36 deaths. As Kent is on the frontline for freight, due to its proximity to Europe, KCC is aware of the need to act on the issue of van safety.
KCC Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport, David Brazier, said: “On average there are over 45 deaths on our roads each year. When we remember every fatality is a human being, a mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter, it is clear we must do more to make Kent the safest place to be on or near the road.
“Over the coming years we want to work very closely with logistics companies that run commercial fleets of vehicles in Kent to support them using the safest vehicles fitted with the latest life-saving technology.
“Vision Zero is a hugely ambitious target, but we have to be ambitious when it comes to human lives being lost on our roads. The vision acknowledges people make mistakes and sets out our aim to ensure these mistakes do not cause a death or a life-changing injury.
“This is about a recognition that deaths on the road are not acceptable, and that Kent County Council is supporting communities to make safe sustainable choices.
“We will adopt measures to ensure the number and severity of crashes on the county’s roads are reduced.”
Ramsgate County Councillor Karen Constantine, who is the joint Labour lead on the Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority, says she welcomes the ambitious proposal.
She says she wants both Kent County Council and the Government to go further and faster with life saving measures, adding: “Many local residents have frequently reported concerns me in the past five years of areas and pinch points, often associated often near schools, that require attention to prevent accidents.
“Many residents quite rightly point out the places that are ‘accidents waiting to happen’. For any family that has lost a loved one in a road traffic accident this significant ambition in road deaths can’t come soon enough.
“It makes sense to makes sense to me to apply 20 mph zones near every school and not to wait for fatalities to occur before dealing with well-known blackspots. Ramsgate also needs roads remodelled and more zebra style crossings.”
Karen lost her 19-year-old son in a road traffic accident in 2001 and is an ardent supporter of measures to reduce death on the roads.
Guests at the launch will include Prince Michael of Kent; David Brazier, KCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport; representatives from Highways England, Thatcham Research, Kent Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, DVSA and Kent Fire & Rescue Service.
There will also be representatives from the national freight transport association – Logistics UK, Executive Director of Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety and representatives from National Project EDWARD (every day without a road death).
VISION ZERO will follow a five-pronged approach, featuring Safe Roads and Streets, Safe Speed, Safe behaviour, Safe Vehicles and Post Collision Response.