Detective chief superintendent of Lincolnshire Police calls for action to eradicate road deaths
A letter from detective chief superintendent Andy Cox, Lincolnshire Police:
My name is Andy Cox and I am a serving detective chief superintendent, head of crime at Lincolnshire Police and the national lead for fatal collision investigation reporting to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
I was recently awarded UK Road Safety Leader of the Year by UKROEd. During the UN Global Road Safety Week in May I completed the #AndyCox200km challenge for two reasons:
- To raise money for RoadPeace, a national charity for road crash victims.
- To raise awareness of road danger and to put a spotlight on an issue which results in around five people dying and sixty people being seriously injured on UK roads every day.
The run began in London at the sight of the first recorded case of a pedestrian killed in a collision with a car in 1896.
I then ran 200km to the RoadPeace Wood at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. During the challenge I was joined by a number of people deeply impacted by the devastation of road crime, as well as many campaigning for change.
I raised over £50,000, but my mission continues far beyond the blisters and sense of accomplishment experienced at the finish line, and that’s where I need your help.
On the final day of the challenge, I released this message, which is a call to action detailing the core issues we must address.
To summarise, these are the actions we must take NOW:
- Acknowledge those killed on our roads by having an MP read their names in parliament every year. This must continue until there are no names to read, when we have eradicated dangerous driving from our roads. To hear the scores of lives lost each year will push the issue further up the legislative agenda, setting an example in parliament that makes it a societal priority to address, as well as for the relevant agencies across the sector.
- The length of driving bans should be increased for drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous or careless driving, as well as for extreme speeders and repeat offenders.
- A review of the exceptional hardship defence must be conducted. Defendants are often allowed to continue driving after having more than twelve points on their license. We must put victims and the safety of the public above the notion of an ‘entitlement to drive’.
- Dashcam technology must be actively encouraged nationally. Better technology for event-data recording as well as speed-limiters should be adopted by manufacturers and endorsed by insurers.
- We must urgently address how we talk about road crime. The media, the Police, the justice system all have a responsibility when discussing and reporting on collisions to treat it using the appropriate level of severity, reflecting the destruction that road deaths cause. There must be more coverage for fatal collisions and a better platform for victims to have a voice. We must stop talking about collisions and road deaths as an inevitability. Each death is in fact a devastating part of society that we have the power to prevent. News outlets should adhere to recent guidelines on this.
- The auto industry must take responsibility for how we prioritise vehicle power and speed. There should be less focus on 0-60mph capabilities, with the auto sector becoming a more prevalent influence in the road danger reduction mission.
We must not accept that road deaths are inevitable. Addressing the points above will contribute to a shift in how society views road danger and we must use shared knowledge and experience to implement the necessary changes.
Collectively we have the means to stop road deaths and we can do it now. I would welcome a meeting with key leaders working within the sector including governmental, who have the relevant skills and influence to deliver on this call for action and save lives.