Road users in Southend-on-Sea are being urged to pledge their support as part of a campaign across the county to help eliminate deaths and serious injuries on local roads.
The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) is calling for individuals, schools, businesses and organisations across the county to sign the Vision Zero pledge – promising to take responsibility for their safety and the safety of others, whenever and however they use the roads.
The online pledge was launched on 17 May to coincide with UN Global Road Safety Week.
Among the first people to sign the Essex Vision Zero pledge were Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, and Cllr Lesley Wagland OBE, Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, at Essex County Council, and Chair of the SERP Governance Board.
While road deaths and injuries are gradually reducing in the county, 48 people were killed and 770 people were seriously injured in crashes on Essex roads in 2022 alone. Road collisions cause immeasurable physical and mental suffering for victims, families and communities, said the council.
Vision Zero is the aspiration to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries in Essex by 2040. This can only be achieved if everyone plays their part in making our roads safer places.
By signing the pledge, which is now available on the SERP website, members of the community will commit their support for zero road deaths in Essex.
On signing, they will be asked to take action in the following ways when they use the roads:
- To be alert, considerate and careful, every time I use the roads
- To drive within the posted speed limit or more slowly, to allow for unforeseen risks
- To always wear a seatbelt and insist that my passengers do the same
- To put my mobile phone away or on silent when driving and avoid other distractions
- To always ensure any alcohol or drugs have left my system before driving
- To ensure I am well-rested and not tired before driving
- To look twice at junctions or before pulling away in a vehicle
- To follow Highway Code guidance while walking, cycling or driving
- To share the roads and allow plenty of space for everyone including horses, bicycle riders and pedestrians
- To support and encourage friends, family colleagues and others to use the roads safely too
Cllr Kevin Buck, cabinet member for highways, transport and parking, said: “Road safety is a matter of the utmost importance. Although nationally, road deaths and injuries are slowly reducing, even one serious injury or death is one too many.
“I urge all living in Southend to take action, and you can start by signing the pledge and asking others to do the same. No journey is worth the rest of your life!”
Roger Hirst said: “Road crime, including speeding, drink or drug driving and using your mobile phone at the wheel, kills more people in this county than all other crimes put together.
“These deaths and the devastating impact they have on families and communities across our county are preventable.”
He added: “It is vital we support this campaign and the Safer Essex Roads Partnership to deliver Vision Zero. In our Police and Crime Plan for Essex, improving safety on our roads is a key priority with the objectives of continuing to improve road safety, promote safer driving behaviours and robustly targeting those who cause the most harm on our roads.
“Small changes can make a real difference. By working together to make sure our friends and family are aware of the risks, we are all doing our very best to keep our roads safe.”
Cllr Lesley Wagland, Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning, at Essex County Council, and Chair of the SERP Governance Board said: “I pledged my support to the aspiration for zero road deaths and serious injuries on Essex roads when I took over the role as chair of the Safer Essex Roads Partnership. It would simply be wrong for us to have any other aspiration for the people of Essex.
“The SERP partners recognise that we need to do more to reduce risks for all road users, however, we also need everyone who uses the roads to be aware of the potential consequences of making a mistake; both to themselves and to others and to do all that they can to keep themselves, their family, friends and those who may be less able to take care of themselves, safe.
“If you want to help us get to zero please sign the pledge to show your support for a safer Essex.”
Many authorities across the world are now committed to Vision Zero, which can be achieved through the ‘Safe System’ approach. The approach accepts human error, but requires everyone to understand their role in making the system work safely.
The Safe System is designed so that when people do make mistakes, any resulting impact forces are low enough to avoid death or serious injury.
These measures are split into five layers of protection:
- Safe speeds
- Safe vehicles
- Safe road use
- Safe roads and roadside
- Post collision response
To mark the launch of the Vision Zero pledge, the partnership has released a series of videos and social media posts to raise awareness around the risks we all face when we use the roads and explaining the importance of supporting Vision Zero.