A COUNCILLOR has said that road signs on the Cornish border should state: “Welcome to Cornwall, x number of people died here last year, please drive carefully”.
The suggestion was made at a meeting of Cornwall Council’s neighbourhoods overview and scrutiny committee, which was discussing a road casualty reduction strategy.
Councillor Mike Thomas, who raised the idea, admitted that “not everyone will like” having such details on a sign, but said it could help encourage people to drive more safely.
Cornwall Council, working with partners including the police, is reviewing the road casualty reduction strategy after seeing the number of people killed or seriously injured rise by 34% since 2013 when the strategy was first published.
The committee heard that while the number of fatal accidents on Cornwall’s roads had remained largely static the number of people seriously injured had increased by 39%.
Nigel Blackler, head of transportation at Cornwall Council, told the committee that between 2007 and 2017 the amount of traffic on Cornwall’s roads has increased by 9.3%.
He said that 65% of all accidents happen on rural roads and 67.5% of all accidents where someone has been killed or seriously injured.
Councillors also heard that some roads also had a higher proportion of accidents – for example the A38 accounts for just 2% of Cornwall’s road network but carries 14% of the traffic and had 14% of fatal and serious injury accidents.
Motorcyclists also account for a disproportionate number of accidents – less than 1% of all traffic is motorcycles but they make up 26% of accidents where someone is killed or seriously injured.
Cyclists account for 0.5% of traffic but are involved in 5.4% of serious accidents and older drivers over 70 are involved in 7.1% of fatal and serious injury accidents.
Committee members spoke about their own experiences on the road with Ian Thomas raising concerns about people using mobile phones when driving and Colin Martin said that just that morning he had been undertaken by a motorcyclist on the A38.
Sue James, cabinet member for environment and public protection, said that there was a need to change the mindset of drivers who take risks on the road.
She added: “If you take a first aid course you have to regularly retake it. But with a driving test you take it at 17 and then never have to do it again.
“I have retaken my test but how many people have even read the latest Highway Code?
“The risk takers are the people who think they are good drivers and that it won’t happen to them.”
The committee agreed with plans to review the road casualty strategy which will be published and approved in the summer.