Mission to make roads safer is main priority for project

Retired Lincolnshire Police officer Graham King of LRSP leads LRSP's 2Fast2Soon presentation in front of students at University Academy Holbeach.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Retired Lincolnshire Police officer Graham King of LRSP leads LRSP's 2Fast2Soon presentation in front of students at University Academy Holbeach. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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In any given year, 64 out of every 100 people living in the parliamentary constituency of South Holland and the Deepings are involved in a road crash.

That is 34 per cent higher than the national average.

For Grantham and Stamford (which includes Bourne), it is 56 out of 100, while for Boston and Skegness (including Kirton, Sutterton and Wyberton), 75 out of 100 people can expect to be caught up in a crash.

Free Press reporter Winston Brown with LRSP community safety manager Steve Screaton after a Skid Car Training course at RAF Scampton, near Lincoln.

Free Press reporter Winston Brown with LRSP community safety manager Steve Screaton after a Skid Car Training course at RAF Scampton, near Lincoln.

These alarming statistics, released by PACTS (Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) and Direct Line Insurance Group on Thursday, are strong evidence for the potentially life-saving work done by Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP) since it was set up in June 2000.

Steve Screaton, LRSP road safety manager, said: “Lincolnshire’s roads are mainly rural in nature and that immediately poses difficulties for motorists who drive on them.

“You get a lot of narrow roads with lots of bends to negotiate and there may be agricultural vehicles on them because ours is primarily a horticultural county.

“Also, we’ve had quite a few years where there has been floods and our roads are not designed to deal with that amount of water.

LRSP community safety advocate Adrian Jones guiding fire cadet Russell Walker (16) through the pre-driver training programme at Billinghay Fire Station.  Photo by David Dawson.

LRSP community safety advocate Adrian Jones guiding fire cadet Russell Walker (16) through the pre-driver training programme at Billinghay Fire Station. Photo by David Dawson.

“This poses difficulties for drivers, as does ice and snow which stays on the road a lot longer and therefore poses a challenge when driving.

“Finally, a lot of Lincolnshire’s roads are on the national speed limit (60mph) so the faster you go, the greater the risk of harm if you hit a moving or stationary object - whether that be a person, a tree, a lamppost or another vehicle.”

Last year, LRSP recorded 43 deaths and 378 serious injuries on the county’s roads, some of which could have been prevented with the help of just one of a range of courses and initiatives run by the road safety group.

“Initially when the partnership was set up, the numbers for road deaths in Lincolnshire were horrendous and those for serious injuries as well,” Steve said.

Former motor racing world champion Nigel Mansell who has given LRSP's work a ringing endorsement.

Former motor racing world champion Nigel Mansell who has given LRSP's work a ringing endorsement.

“There were lots of reasons behind them, but the message LRSP has been putting out over the last 15 years is one of understanding that the roads of Lincolnshire pose various difficulties and various challenges, so take responsibility as a driver.

As a reporter with the Free Press and our sister newspaper, the Spalding Guardian, since July 2012, I have been involved in five road accidents over the last two and a half years.

Thankfully, none of them resulted in death or injury but the very fact of them 
occurring meant it was wise for me to take part in three of the LRSP’s accident prevention training programmes.

Skid Car Training takes place at the LRSP’s site at RAF Scampton near Lincoln, home of the RAF Red Arrows Aerobatic Team, where drivers learn about understeering, oversteering, car balance and the anti-lock braking system.

Steve said: “I think it’s important that we offer this level of training because we understand, through research, that young drivers need the experience and extra skills to help them develop and to become a competent driver.

“It takes up to at least three years of driving experience to fulfil that role of becoming an experience, competent driver and if we can help them along the way by providing them with the skill sets, it will go a long way to keeping them as safe as possible.”

This vision is shared by University Academy Holbeach which hosted LRSP’s hard-hitting 2Fast2Soon Programme just before Easter, aimed at young drivers aged between 17 and 24 who have nearly a one in eight chance of being involved in a crash where some is either injured or killed.

The programme also included the LRSP’s Crash Car Simulator, a modified Peugeot 206 where occupants can experience a being in a crash with the help of an in-car DVD screening of a scenario based on a real-life road fatality.

Sally Goodacre, sixth-form student manager at University Academy Holbeach, said: “We’ve always been involved in the 2Fast2Soon Programme because we’re very keen to reduce the number of road accidents involving young drivers.

“The way it’s done is quite thought-provoking and has quite an impact on the students because it takes a personal perspective.

“That is something the students don’t consider when they are zooming about the place in their cars.”