Work is underway to install average speed cameras along a 50mph stretch of the A449 in Worcestershire in a bid to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured.
The project on the road between Hartlebury and Ombersley is the first of its kind to operate within the West Mercia Police area. The system aims to influence and change driver behaviour so that the speed limit is adhered to throughout the whole section of the route by enforcing an average speed 24 hours of the day.
The project is a partnership between West Mercia Police, Worcestershire County Council and speed technology firm Jenoptik and has been made possible through funding from West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner Road Safety fund. During the past three years in West Mercia three people have been killed on the 50mph section of the A449 with a further four suffering serious injuries. Speeding or inappropriate speed was noted in the majority of incidents as a contributory factor.
Geoff Collins, Jenoptik’s Deputy Managing Director commented, “We are pleased to be providing the enforcement technology that will help to make the A449 a safer road. Having installed more than 200 SPECS schemes to date, Jenoptik are confident that road users and residents alike will soon be seeing the benefits of safe and smooth traffic flows”.
T/Superintendent Gareth Morgan, West Mercia Police commented, “The installation of these cameras is part of our efforts to improving safety on the A449 and the opportunity to use new technology to combat this is an exciting move for us. There are many families that unfortunately know far too well the devastating consequences that speeding and collisions can lead to. Reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads is our priority and reducing the speed that people travel is a key part of this.. Apart from the obvious consequences if you are involved in a collision, if prosecuted for speeding, the minimum penalty is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points. You could be disqualified from driving if you build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of 3 years”.
“Too many people die or are seriously injured on our roads,” added PCC John Campion. “Road safety continues to be at the heart of my work as Commissioner with my focus being on tackling inappropriate speed and driver behaviour. Schemes such as this are a vital tool to ensure we reduce the life changing impact of poor driver behaviour on our roads.”
Councillor Tony Miller, Worcestershire County Council said, As a newly elected County Councillor for this area I welcome this new initiative. Speed is a concern that is often raised by my local constituents so it is great that we can use this technology to try and reduce speeds along this stretch of the A449 and in turn reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured.
Jon Fraser, Worcestershire County Council Highways added, “We are pleased to be able to work alongside West Mercia Police in supporting the use of this technology. I am confident that the new average speed system for this stretch of the A449 will go a long way in making the road a lot safer for all road users”.
Installation work will be taking place throughout the summer with the cameras due to go live in September. During this time existing speed enforcement cameras and mobile vans will be still be in operation. Ongoing evaluation will be taking place and will inform future decisions over how this technology can be used in other areas of West Mercia.
(Picture – Jenoptik)