by PCSO Andy Smith 5520
North Yorkshire Police has launched a major new road safety campaign to tackle the five most common causes of fatal collisions.
Known as the ‘Fatal 5’, they are careless driving, drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, excessive speed and distracted driving, including mobile phone use.
In the past five months, there have been 20 fatal collisions in North Yorkshire.
The campaign aims to make a significant reduction to that number over the next five months. Each month, there will be a targeted road safety operation and educational campaigns to tackle each of the five causes.
North Yorkshire Police has also introduced three all-new Road Safety Officer posts as part of the push to reduce casualties, who will co-ordinate educational work across the force and in communities throughout the county, including schools and colleges.
An all-new role of Traffic Special Constable has also been introduced, with five joining the team initially. And an initiative to educate and prosecute drivers using footage supplied by the public has been relaunched as Operation Snap.
Every piece of footage sent to Op Snap is reviewed by a specially-trained police officer. If an offence is identified, the driver can be prosecuted or told to take a driver improvement course.
To submit information or dashcam footage to Operation Snap, visit www.northyorkshire.police.uk, click ‘report it’ and select ‘road traffic incident’, then follow the steps.
The response forms part of the York & North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership—a new group involving North Yorkshire’s emergency services, local authorities, highways and key stakeholders. The organisations will work together on ways to reduce fatal crashes, looking at everything from responding to concerns from communities to changes to road layouts. Superintendent Emma Aldred said: “This is an intense push on the five main causes of fatal crashes in North Yorkshire over the next five months.
“We’ll have a strong road policing presence and will be unapologetically tough on those who endanger the lives of others just so they can shave a few seconds off a journey, answer a call while driving or have that ‘one for the road’ which puts them over the limit.
“More than 90% of the collisions we deal with are due to human error. So, we’re also doing a lot of work to prevent people making those poor decisions in the first place.”
Supt Aldred added: “Careless driving destroys lives. We deal with the consequences first-hand, and they are deeply traumatic in so many ways.”
So far in 2021, there have been 30 fatal crashes in North Yorkshire. This compares to 39 for the whole of 2020.
The number of fatal and serious injury collisions in North Yorkshire have fallen considerably in the past decade. Fatal collisions dropped from 49 to 39 between 2011 and 2020, which is a 20% drop.
Serious injury collisions, which include broken bones and life-changing injuries, fell from 468 to 252 during the same period—a 46% decrease.
Supt Aldred said: “Traffic levels have actually increased during this period, so this reduction reassures us that it is possible to improve driver behaviour and reduce casualties with campaign work like this.”
North Yorkshire Police thoroughly investigates every fatal and serious collision to determine what caused it. This data is then used by the force and the York & North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership to make the county’s roads safer.