AN AI system to crackdown on mobile phone use while driving and enhanced average speed camera enforcement are some of the measures announced to improve road safety across the region.
The long-term ambition – the Refreshed Regional Road Safety Strategy 2023-2030 – has been drawn up and in consultation with a range of partners including local authorities and the emergency services and agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board.
Its ultimate aim is to reach a point where nobody is killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads – known as ‘Vision Zero’.
On the road to this is an interim target has been set to reduce the numbers of killed and seriously injured casualties by half by 2030.
The partnership has committed to work together and take collective responsibility for achieving this important target using an approach combining street design, enforcement and education.
Measures in the pipeline include more AI systems to identify motorists caught on camera using their mobile phones while driving or not wearing a seatbelt.
There will also be enhancement of average speed camera enforcement, including increasing the use of speed awareness courses to educate motorists.
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said: “We’re stating here that even one life lost is one too many although we also recognise that this is a challenging task hence why we’re setting incremental targets to guide us along the way.
“Key to this is not only targeting issues as they arise, but also designing our roads and networks to reduce risk from the outset. That’s why we’re developing new safe cycle routes, boosting public transport priority arrangements and ensuring safer junctions.
“With this strategy as the foundation, we now need to translate ambition into tangible action – taking further steps to reduce speeding and dangerous driving.
“Together, we can and will make our roads safer for all users whether they’re in a car or lorry, on a bike or on foot.”
The new strategy updates the previous 2019 strategy; since that launch the WMCA say there has been a 16 per cent reduction in serious or fatal collisions, which as well as preserving life and limb has reduced the annual cost to society by £25million.
Simon Foster, Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the Road Safety Strategic Group said: “I am holding West Midlands Police to account, to prevent, tackle and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour on our roads.
“The force has agreed to crackdown on rule breakers on our roads, set up two new police teams to bring dangerous drivers to justice and make it easier for people to report dangerous driving. Keeping people safe on our roads is a top priority.”