Community Speed Watch groups out in force for Global Road Safety Week

A Community Speedwatch volunteer in action

Residents in Essex are likely to see in increase in Community Speed Watch (CSW) volunteers in local towns and villages this week in support of the global week of action. Speed is the theme for this year and volunteers in Essex will be out reminding motorists of the need to slow down, gave space and save lives.

Community speed watch is a national initiative that sees fully trained members of the public use speed detection devices to monitor vehicles travelling on roads with limits of 20mph, 30mph or 40mph.

If a speed offence is detected, a letter is sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle – with the aim of educating them to reduce their speed and stick to speed limits.

Repeat offenders – or those who are ‘well over’ the speed limit – are highlighted to Essex Police, who decide whether to prosecute.

Essex now has over 1,000 CSW volunteers, supporting their communities across the county. Each year, nearly 30,000 letters are sent by the scheme to speeding drivers in an attempt to reinforce the need to slow down.

Martyn, CSW volunteer from Rayne, said: “I have been involved in Speedwatch for over ten years. My involvement with Speedwatch commenced when I was Chairman of Rayne Parish Council and we were receiving increasing comments from parishioners about speeding motorists.

Initially we were reporting over 15 people per hour when we were out, but this has now reduced to four or five. Motorists appear to have learned that there is a consequence if they are speeding when we are active, and many passing pedestrians make positive comments and children stop to see what we are doing. The majority of drivers respond positively and give a wave or a thumbs up – they are grateful of the work we are doing to slow people down and protect members of our community.

Over the last decade there has been many incidents that have stood out. The truck that deliberately accelerated past us, the van that drove past at 10 miles per hour to mock us, the motorists who see us and turn into a side road before we are able to read the number, the motorist who was not exceeding the speed limit but was annoyed that we were checking his speed. He stopped and demanded by whose authority we were acting. The parent who rushed past us delivering her children to the nearby school only to be recorded speeding, once again, on the return. But also the motorists who stop and thank us and even motorists who ask how they can start a Speedwatch group in their village.

I believe that Speedwatch makes a difference, which is why I volunteer. The support for the group is motivating as many villagers are our friends and they now drive within the speed limit and consequently slow the traffic that would otherwise speed. We are aware that there are motorists who speed when we are not around but there does not appear to be the same level of complaints about speeding.”

Andrea MacAlister, RTC Reduction Manager, said: “We are committed to supporting and growing volunteer groups, such as Community Speed Watch.  Their activity demonstrates a strong commitment to safety for local areas.”

For more information on the Community Speed Watch scheme, visit Community Speed Watch – SERP (saferessexroads.org)

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