The aspiration that we have zero road deaths and zero serious injuries on our roads.
Because although people make mistakes and have lapses in judgement, nobody deserves to die in a road crash.
We have seen steady reductions in casualties over the last 50 years, but in recent years these improvements have stalled. We must look for new ways to continue these improvements if we do not want to accept death and injury on the roads. Death isn’t an acceptable price for mobility. We know it can be achieved.
We have always been focussed on finding the best ways to reduce death and serious injuries on the road. Traditional road safety has achieved a lot, but we now understand that we need to have a wider approach and strengthen all the layers of protection rather than relying on humans to be perfect all the time.
It involves everyone who uses the road and everyone who can influence how roads and vehicles are designed and used. It accepts that people make mistakes but still holds them accountable for their actions. Road safety is no longer something one department in the council does, it is something we all do because we all benefit from it.
By helping and encouraging people, businesses and public authorities to work together on preventing death and serious injury. We will use good quality data and research to ensure we promote effective ways of reducing death and serious injury, we will campaign and lobby. We will implement the safe system approach, work with our communities and others who want to see his vision achieved.
Even if we don’t achieve zero as soon as we’d like to, every crash prevented is a boost to the economy, a reduction in congestion and more money for public services. In Essex alone road crashes involving injury cost the public sector £130m per year, and cost businesses nearly £90m. The emotional cost to families far outweighs the financial too. We can’t afford not to strive for this.
The safe system approach seeks to strengthen all the layers of protection around the road user so it looks at the road, the user, the vehicle, speed and the post-crash care. The road layer for instance, seeks to minimise opportunities for crashes that will result in death and serious injuries by reducing crash energies to those which the human body can withstand. This might be by separating different types of traffic or by reducing speed limits. It includes road safety education so that drivers know the law, their responsibilities and the consequences of not complying but accepts that even well educated, aware and trained road users will still make mistakes. but increases collaboration with healthcare providers, fleet buyers and vehicle manufacturers to coordinate layers of protection that prevent and reduce death and serious injury.
From 2009-2019 there was a 40% reduction in death and serious injury on the roads of Essex.
The Safe Systems approach which makes Vision Zero possible requires an investment of time and money. We won’t ignore any quick wins but recognise that the major change we are after will take time to implement.
The most important thing you can do is think about how you use the road and plan how to avoid those situations where you have not been 100% focussed on getting around safely. Begin to think about the roads as a system requiring everyone to cooperate and influence others by setting a good example. Take pride in setting the highest standards for others to follow. Road users need to comply with the law. Reducing speed will have the greatest effect on the number of deaths and serious injuries.
There are many reasons this is important to everyone, avoiding death or serious injury of yourself or a loved one, making use of the roads a more pleasant experience with fewer traffic jams, improving the local economy and freeing up taxpayer’s money for other public services.
A death by natural causes while driving is not counted as a road death in official statistics. If a driver suffers a medical episode which results in a collision that causes injury to themselves or others, then this is counted in official statistics. Mobility is important for health and wellbeing which is why we need to work beyond traditional road safety to give everyone the freedom of personal mobility – including people whose health prevents them from driving safely.
We intend to make all roads safer, starting with those that pose the greatest risk. This takes time so will be at least a 20 year project in Essex.
There are many important safety related tasks carried out by Essex Highways, including fixing potholes. Balancing these priorities with the need to deliver a cost-efficient service for the taxpayer means sometimes things take longer than we’d like. Reporting problems to https://www.essexhighways.org/tell-us will ensure they do feature on the Essex Highways to do list (or equivalent response for other authorities)
We have successfully lobbied for more roads policing officers and work really closely with them to ensure that they target locations and behaviours that lead to deaths and serious injuries Our new strategy includes sending more officers to areas that may have historically seen relatively little visible policing. Police officers can be anywhere but they can’t be everywhere. We also have our Extra Eyes initiative which seeks to identify poor or dangerous driving via dash cam submissions from the public. Find out more on our website.
This is what Vision Zero is all about. Through Essex Police we will hold more and more drivers to account if they choose to drive while impaired. We will use education and the media to underline how drink driving is socially unacceptable and help people plan ahead and avoid situations where they may end up drink driving. We need people to report impaired drivers through Crime stoppers or directly to the police and need passengers to speak up and not get in a car with a driver who they think is impaired. Everyone plays a part in making it a totally unacceptable behaviour.
We will continue to build on our successful involvement of young people in road safety through education and communication channels such as social media. We will work with them to help them understand how to identify and manage risk taking and encourage them to talk amongst themselves to make risky driving socially unacceptable among their peers.
Many older drivers are among the safest on the road, but there are a small number who are no longer physically capable of driving safely. We run free training courses for older drivers to help them continue to drive safely as they get older. We need the help of communities, families and older drivers themselves to help them change their road use from driving to other forms (bus, taxi, community travel, friends etc.)
If you have a camera on your handlebars, then you can send footage of any close passes to Extra Eyes. This will allow a Police Officer to view the incident and depending on what can be seen from the footage the driver may receive a warning letter, points and a fine or have to attend a retraining course. In the last month, nearly 40 drivers were prosecuted for close pass via our Extra Eyes initiative. We train over 6000 children each year on Bikeability and evidence shows that trained cyclists make better drivers.
Yes, through Essex Highways we will work to improve the available infrastructure for cyclists, making sure it is well designed, useful and safe. Through Essex Police we will hold more drivers to account if they drive carelessly or dangerously around cyclists, taking reports of offences though Extra Eyes and also proactive policing of the roads. We will educate motorists and promote mutual courtesy between all road users.
Our new strategy involves more resource allocated to respond to community concerns. If you contact us via saferessexroads@essexhighways.org with your concerns we can advise or direct your enquiry to the appropriate person.

👈 Return to Vision Zero homepage

Scroll to top