‘I was holding the phone so I could see where I was going, what am I supposed to do’?

October 27th saw the Safer Essex Roads Partnership promoting Vision ZERO in the Chelmsford area.

Staff from the Essex Highway’s education and engagement team, The Essex Fire & Rescue Service road and water safety team and Essex Police were spread across the City of Chelmsford, engaging with hundreds of people.

Essex Police stopped over a hundred motorists travelling on Princes Road, including 46 people not wearing their seatbelt and 27 who were risking the safety of themselves and everyone else on the road by attempting to use a mobile phone while driving.

As well as being reported for these offences, the drivers were spoken to by a road safety technician to highlight the dangers involved and explain how the day was a part of our Vision Zero goal to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Essex to zero by 2040. Several offered an excuse for not complying with the law including; “The seatbelt made me uncomfortable because I need to use the toilet” and that they were “….holding the phone so I could see where I was going, what am I supposed to do?”.

Hundreds of people were spoken to outside the Tesco supermarket on Princes Road and in Chelmsford High Street as the partnership promoted Vision Zero and the increased risks in using the roads in the dark as the clocks go back. Children were given one of the new ‘Be Bright Be Seen’ activity leaflets and a reflective band, with their parents and carers being reminded to make sure they were visible to other road users. Drivers were reminded of the need to take and extra look for more vulnerable road users.

84 motorists were reported for speeding on Chelmer Road and Downham Road with speeds of over 70mph recorded in the 50mph limit, and over 50mph recorded in the 30mph limit. Although the weather was unusually warm the roads were wet all day due to constant showers, meaning the stopping distances and the possibility of these motorists being injured or causing an injury were greatly increased.

Speeding, being distracted by using a mobile phone and not wearing a seat belt are predictable and preventable causes of death and serious injuries in road traffic collisions. Together, we can prevent the unacceptably high numbers of road users coming to harm on our roads.

Please, wear your seatbelt, watch your speed and turn off your phone.

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