From: Julia Mulligan, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire.
IN response to recent letters, North Yorkshire has one of the largest road networks in the country, with close to 6,000 miles of mostly A and B roads.
As people who have been on one of the dreaded driver-awareness courses will know, these are far more dangerous than urban roads and motorways.
This is borne out by the very sad reality of deaths and serious injuries in the county.
While the causes of collisions can be complex, police feedback is clear that driving too fast for the conditions is a major factor.
So, over a number of years, North Yorkshire Police has introduced 12 safety-camera vans. The result is a gradual change in driver behaviour – the number of tickets issued is decreasing, suggesting people are slowing down.
This is good news because the vans do reduce casualties, as shown in 2015 by the University of Newcastle in an independent study.
Having said this, of real concern is a recent increase in the severity of collisions. In the past 12 months, fatal incidents are up from 30 to 40, with six deaths in January alone.
This requires North Yorkshire Police to review the size and remit of their roads policing team. Cameras cannot work in the dark, nor catch drunk or drug drivers and there are worrying indications these are on the rise.
What’s more, North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to decimate their road-safety team is a serious blow, particularly as they were focused on educating young people.
Turning to the money, in 2018/19, the camera vans generated a surplus of £142,477, of which £50k was granted to 95 Alive, the road-safety partnership, and £80k spent on Community Speed Watch. The previous year, the operation had no surplus at all.
North Yorkshire highways are dangerous. We cannot have people dying on our roads. And yes, drivers do need to stick to the law and to understand that the rules are there for a reason.
Driving at 35mph in a 30mph limit is, for example, literally a case of life and death.