These are the Lancashire roads getting new average speed cameras, as councillors issue warning over near misses
Lancashire county councillors have warned that the method for deciding which of the region's roads are targeted for speed reduction action is dangerously flawed.
Members of the authority’s internal scrutiny committee issued a cross-party call for near misses to be a factor in determining measures such as where speed cameras are sited.
Currently, there are 282 locations across the county where the infamous yellow camera casings are installed - with a smaller number of actual detection devices being rotated between them, prioritised according to where speed and casualty data suggests they are most needed.
Mobile devices are also deployed on a daily basis - with their positioning similarly based on information indicating the highest-risk speeding spots.
Half a dozen problem areas are targeted every morning and afternoon by Lancashire Constabulary - two in each of its three divisions - with a total of 166 locations currently on a list compiled by input from traffic policing teams, local authorities and reports from the public.
Dozens of new average speed cameras are also set to be introduced.
However, committee member John Fillis said that the qualifying criteria for a road accident for speed enforcement purposes rendered the resultant statistics “totally inaccurate”.
“Accidents are only being recorded when an individual is injured.
“So when cars are hitting people’s homes, mounting pavements or hitting signs, these [incidents] are not being taken into consideration - which is totally wrong.
“Because if a vehicle is coming onto the pavement, it's only a matter of time before a pedestrian is standing there,” County Cllr Fillis warned.
County Cllr Peter Steen added his voice to the concern, calling for Lancashire to be “pro-active rather than reactive” in its attempts to curb speeding.
“There is no way of collating near misses, which are reported on a regular basis to [councillors] and others,” he said.
However, Lancashire County Council’s road safety manager Jackie Brindle said that the authority was exploring how it could capture a “richer” set of statistics about potential accident blackspots.
“When we look at casualty data to assess whether an area is high risk or not, we are looking at...recorded injury collisions. In addition to that, where we receive a speeding concern, we do record the location and...we’re going to map the concerns on top of the casualties.
“So we will also have data on the perception of risk in that area - and, to some extent, that will pick up on near misses, because a lot of the complaints we receive are where there has been a near miss due to speed,” Ms. Brindle explained.
Members heard that there were no plans to increase the number of standalone speed cameras at fixed points across Lancashire - with the focus now shifting to average speed camera technology. An additional 88 of those devices are set to be installed along five routes in the county.
However, several councillors said that single cameras were the solution to many of the county’s speeding problems - and said that elected representatives should have more of a say over where they are installed.
Committee chair David O’Toole said that councillors “know our areas better than somebody sitting in an office” - and claimed that he had multiple examples of cameras being put in “totally the wrong place”.
Cabinet member for highways Keith Iddon acknowledged the value of councillors’ contributions - but said that decisions about the siting of cameras were largely dictated by traffic regulations.
A review will take place next year of the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership - the umbrella group of organisations attempting to make the county’s highways a safer place - two decades after it was formed.
The partnership’s current strategy is intended to reduce road deaths and the number and severity of injuries sustained on Lancashire’s highways - as well as to improve attitudes to road safety.
MORE CAMERAS ARE COMING
Five Lancashire roads which have been identified as amongst the most dangerous in the country will see average speed cameras installed along their highest-risk sections.
The county successfully bid for £8m from the government’s Safer Roads Fund and is now in the process of identifying exactly where the devices will be placed.
Lancashire did not have a say on which routes were selected - that decision as taken by the Department for Transport - but the county is responsible for the design of each of the schemes.
Laura Jones, from Lancashire Constabulary’s Central Process Unit said work was under way to “get a feel" for each of the roads.
“A lot for them have got smaller, quite picturesque villages within them - so we didn’t want to be putting big yellow gantries up. [Some] are biker routes, so we also wanted to make sure we were covering the areas where we would have the most effect.
“Once we have got an approved bidder [for the work]...I’m sure there will be opportunities to have local discussions about where they are installed - it’s definitely not set in stone,” Ms. Jones explained.
These are the five routes where a total of 88 average speed cameras will be installed:
A581 - Rufford to Euxton (additional traffic calming is also planned for this route)
A588 - Skippool to Lancaster
A6 - Lancaster to junction 33 of M6
A683 - Lancaster towards Kirby Lonsdale
A682 - Barrowford towards Long Preston
The projects will bring to 13 the total number of average speed camera schemes in Lancashire, after the devices were first installed on several routes in 2017.
CONCERNED ABOUT SPEED?
A list of locations that have been recently assessed over concerns about speeding is published and regularly updated by the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership - along with details of any proposed action.
Enforcement, speed indicator devices and engineering schemes are amongst the possible responses for routes identified as having the highest speeds and risks.
Residents are asked to check whether others have reported a particular area before doing so themselves. Locations will not be reassessed within three years of being previously considered.
A district breakdown of assessments can be found at: lancsroadsafety.co.uk/submit-concern/outcomes
New concerns can be registered via: lancsroadsafety.co.uk/submit-concern
74,286 - speeding offences detected by Lancashire Constabulary (2018/19)
46 percent - of Lancashire speeding offences dealt with by speed awareness courses (2018/19)
29 percent - of Lancashire speeding offences dealt with by fixed penalty notices (2018/19)
16 percent - of Lancashire speeding offences ending in court action (2018/19)
9 percent - of Lancashire speeding offences cancelled (2018/19)
166 - Lancashire locations visited on rotation by mobile speed enforcement vehicles
278 - static speed camera locations
Sources: RAC/Lancashire Constabulary/Lancashire County Council