Agenda item


Purpose of the report:  Scrutiny of Performance


Following an increase in road casualties in Surrey in 2014, a motion was debated by the Council on 13 October 2015. It was highlighted that the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board is the place for Member scrutiny of the council’s road safety activities. This report describes the work undertaken by the council and partners to reduce road death, injury and anti-social use of Surrey’s roads.





Duncan Knox, Road Safety Team Manager

Kay Hammond, Cabinet Associate for Fire and Police Services


Key points raised during the discussion:


  1. The Road Safety Team Manager introduced the report by highlighting key points, informing the Board that the Drive Smart partnership had been renewed, allowing for the upgrade to safety camera enforcement. In addition the team is looking at ways to obtain funding in areas which may not be covered by the budget, a particular example is the war memorial junction in Esher which is known as a hot spot for collisions. The final point was the emerging figures for 2016 for KSI’s (killed or seriously injured) which look promising in comparison to recent trends in previous years.


  1. In reference to page 52, the Board asked for clarification as to why KSI figures spiked between 2013 and 2014.The Road Safety Team Manager explained that it wasn’t just Surrey but that figures spiked nationally.. 2014 was an unusual year, known to be the wettest and hottest year, having a big effect on all road users. However in 2015 the numbers reduced and 2016 figures look encouraging. Another factor that played a part in increasing road casualties by severity was the increase in traffic.


  1. There was a discussion around the increase in pedal cyclist casualties on page 54 of the report. The Board sought assurances on what measures can be taken to reduce the figures, as they are still considerably high. The Cabinet Associate for Fire and Police Services explained to the Board that Surrey has a legacy which stems from the Olympics for cycling, making Surrey a popular cycling destination. Therefore where you have increase in numbers you will have an increase in casualties. There has been investment put in to publicity, in terms of advising cyclists how to take precautions on the road and for motorists too in sharing the road and being patient. However there is personal responsibility too, that has to be understood by all road users.


  1. The Chairman of the Board requested more in depth analysis of each of the road user groups to be provided, for a broader understanding of the KSI trend. The Road Safety Team Manager said that this information was available and would send it to the board after the meeting.


  1. A board member stated that Surrey has the slowest traffic in the country but still has the highest number of casualties. The Road Safety Team manager stated inappropriate or excessive speeding occurs in between areas of congestion, and slow traffic does not necessarily prevent collisions from happening. However in an attempt to tackle these roads which have the worst record for speeding and casualties, in response they are looked into for improvement to avert further collisions and fatalities.


  1. The Cabinet Associate for Fire and Police Services reminded Members that the Council’s corporate responsibility is resident experience which includes cyclists, motorists and pedestrians and that we should be mindful to everyone’s needs and not just one sector of the community, promoting equality and fairness.


  1. The Board sought the need for more useful information, suggesting trends to include the analysis of speed limits, age groups and time of day in relation to KSI’s. The Road Safety Team Manager indicated that the breakdown of the following information requested upon can be provided.


  1. Members of the Board encouraged the need for reflective cyclist clothing to be promoted. Officers shared this view and raised the importance for cyclists to be visible, which is achieved by positioning themselves well on the road as well as wearing effective clothing. The Board was assured it is part of the media and publicity campaign.


  1. Furthermore, the Road Safety Team Manager explained that large parts of the LEP funded schemes will include improved cycling infrastructure.



  1. There was a discussion around motorists speeding and the Board wanted more detail in what could be used as preventive measures. The Road Safety Team Manager clarified that through Drive Smart speeding motorists are given the option to attend speed awareness courses, however if this fails to educate the road user and further speeding offences occur the motorist will face severe penalties. In addition Surrey has a good approach in addressing motorists to reduce speed with electronic vehicle activated signs and conventional road signs on the approach to nearly all safety cameras.


  1. The Chairman of the Board reminded Members for the purpose of this report that only accident involving injury is counted in the police statistics, accidents involving damage for insurances purposes was not involved in national statistics.


  1. Officers explained to the Board the request to present data analysis on the various speed limits that cause injury can be provided. It was reiterated that separate fact sheets are available on different trends and can be provided where requested.


  1. The Road Safety Team Manager explained to the Board the Police monitor the roads that require it... In addition, lots of money is being spent in town centres, in particular roads of concern are investigated covertly to see if resident concerns are real. List of these roads can be provided. A member asked for local speed management plans to be shared with the board. Offices explained that these had already been presented to local committees. If there is a specific concern in an area the police can investigate the claims further.


  1. The Board was informed on the progress in upgrading speed cameras, converting them to a digital system. The cameras will be able to pick up speed limits on a longer stretch of road and will act as a good deterrence. This conversion would take 3 years to complete.


  1. A Member wanted clarification on whether the number of school patrols was reduced in the county. It was made clear the number of patrols has not reduced and is still maintained. However the main barrier is the struggle in recruiting people for the position and creating interest in these vacancies.


  1. The Board was advised that Community Speed Watch cannot prosecute offenders as civilians cannot issue penalties, only the Police can enforce this. However if the offender is caught on more than 3 occasions the police can visit the resident in question and give a warning or serve them with a penalty.


  1. The Road Safety Team Manager acknowledged that not all collisions are reported but shared the fact that the statistics provided in the report comes from the best collision reporting system. Some ‘slight injury’ collisions are not reported because although injury has been suffered, the incident is not reported to, and does not come to the attention of the police.


  1. Members were informed that police enforcement programmes on the roads do work. However before police enforcement, the site needs to be investigated to determine the extent and nature of the problem to determine the type of intervention that is required, before police enforcement can take place. Although police presence is reassuring on side of the road, this level of enforcement cannot be dedicated by the police all hours of the day, every day of the week.  There are some sites that would be better dealt with via engineering solutions in the longer term.  





The Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board noted the following recommendations:


  1. That although there was a reduction in road casualties in 2015 compared to 2014, there has been general increases in cyclist, pedestrian and motorcycling casualties over recent years.


  1. That the Drive SMART partnership has been renewed, and this will ensure that safety camera enforcement will be self funding. It will also allow any surplus funds from driver retraining courses to be invested in additional road safety interventions.


  1. That road safety interventions delivered in Surrey are based on analysis of local and national data and research to ensure that they are intelligence led and evaluated to ensure value for money.




EP4- For the Road Safety Team Manager to circulate to the board casualty fact sheets for individual road user groups.


Supporting documents: