Launch of the Welsh Fire and Rescue Services Road Safety Strategy 2015-2020
In response to the Welsh Government's 'Road Safety Framework for Wales', Monday 20th July saw the launch of the Welsh Fire and Rescue Service's 'Road Safety Strategy' providing a framework for the three Welsh FRS to communicate and implement their road safety commitments on a national and local level.
Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS), Chris Davies said: "Road safety has improved considerably in recent years. In 2014 there were 8,208 reported casualties as a result of road traffic collisions in Wales, this is a 30% reduction on the number of casualties seen on our roads 10 years ago. While the number of incidents has declined, statistics show a 12% increase in the number of people seriously injured on our roads in the last year, with poor driving and observation the leading cause of collisions. Clearly, while much has been achieved through collaborative working with our road safety partners, more needs to be done.
A disproportionate number of vulnerable road users including young people (16 to 24 year olds) and motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured compared to other groups. Despite making up 11% of driving licence holders, young people represent 23% of casualties in road traffic collisions in Wales.
Motorcyclists accounted for 37% of those killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions, while accounting for just 1% of the road traffic in Wales. Motorcyclists are not necessarily at fault for collisions, their vulnerability means that they are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured. Whilst a diverse range of motorcyclists are involved in collisions, a disproportionate number of casualties are men, riding on rural roads in the drier months.
Wales has, and is projected to continue to have, the most aged population in the UK. Around 1 in 20 drivers involved in road traffic collisions in Wales are aged 70 or older. Older drivers have often held their licence for many years and the vast majority will not have undertaken any further training since passing their test, despite significant changes in driving conditions and, potentially, their own ability.
A co-ordinated effort in the education of road users, targeting specifically those identified most vulnerable groups, with a range of activities, interventions and publicity that result in behavioural change forms the core of today's road safety strategy.
This strategy sets out how the Fire and Rescue Services in Wales will support the Welsh Government's vision for a continued reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured on Welsh Roads, with the ultimate aspiration of no fatalities."
Station Manager Simon Brown, Road Safety Manager for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) said: "The All Wales Road Safety Strategy (2015 - 2020) encourages the Fire and Rescue Services' of Wales and their partners to work together to identify local risks within their areas and develop a targeted approach to reducing deaths and injuries on Welsh roads.
As such, SWFRS is extremely pleased to be continuing to work collaboratively on this strategy and associated activities with our partners that aim to make our communities and roads safer and save lives."
Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire & Rescue Service (NWFRS), said: "All three fire and rescue services in Wales have a common objective which is at the heart of everything we do - to work together for a safer Wales."
"We are delighted to be part of the All Wales Road Safety Strategy that will continue to ensure that we all work together as best as we can within the fire and rescue services across Wales and with our partner agencies to make the roads in Wales as safe as possible.
"As part of this strategy we are looking at a variety of approaches that organisations can take to improve road safety including training, education, publicity, sharing information and evaluation. By combining all these we hope that we will be able to improve road safety across Wales."