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Another revenue raising exercise from Dorset Road Unsafe

In the news recently:


We’ve even heard Brian Austin on the radio, telling us about the tragic consequences of road deaths, and telling us about some of the “excuses”. What he did not mention is that, as has been confirmed just up the road on the A31, consistent with what all those WITHOUT financial motivation investigating road safety for years have always known, “Speeding is not the cause of accidents”:


In the article he says “If we can get those caught on the Driver Awareness Scheme (DAS) course and offer some guidance on safer driving, everyone benefits.” However, those that benefit the most are likely to be Mr Austin and his colleagues, as if they did not choose these operations that get hundreds of drivers on the course, no one else would pay for Dorset Road Unsafe and they would probably be out of work.

Dorset Road Unsafe is not about road safety. Not even on its website is there any explanation / analysis of road safety benefit. By far the greatest outcome is vast numbers of safe drivers paying £110 each to go on the course. In just the last few years, tens of thousands of Dorset drivers have been on the course, large numbers of ludicrous speed limit reductions have been made, and as they themselves boast, awareness of “no excuse” has spread widely, and yet over these last few years, driving standards have not noticeably improved and road deaths seem to be on a steady increase. No one could call that a success.

Dorset Road Unsafe is primarily about money, jobs and careers for a small number of jobsworths and busy-bodies, this is damaging for many reasons but the worst is increased danger on our roads, both through the live risks of enforcement (that have resulted in at least one death) and the distraction from competent, honest and effective road safety work.

Anyone in any doubt should ask Dorset Police / Road Unsafe a few questions:

-          Why have they done everything they can to avoid detailing for more than 2 years now where the £millions taken for course fees is spent?

-          Why does it need the equivalent of 10 staff on £52K to deliver a simple course to 40 people?

-          Why do they claim more than 3 times the going rate for course premises?

-          Why have they failed to recognise and manage the risks of enforcement?

-          Why do they put disproportionate effort into targeting the problem that only contributes to only 7% of KSI accidents? By the way, that 7% will include boy racers, road ragers, drunks, criminals, habitual excessive speeders, etc. who have worked out how to avoid speed cameras, not the majority of normal drivers who put up the cash with so little fuss which makes them so attractive to target.  

-          Why did they install one of the country’s most lucrative cameras (greed on green) at a location with a ZERO KSI history? (Subsequently, the “excuse” Martin Baker at Poole Council came up with for its deactivation was saving money!!!!!!)

-          Why do they now focus on roads such as the A31 and Canford / Dorset Way, where it is clearly likely to be totally safe to exceed the ludicrous 50 limit, introduced typically not by engineers but by councillors who know absolutely nothing about any form of safety work (although the police who subsequently made vast amounts of cash happened to “support” the reductions)? For example, see http://www.ukroadsense.co.uk . The lack of consideration on these speed limit reductions is demonstrated by for example the speed limit review of Poole Council, even this suggesting a limit of 60 would have been suitable but choosing 50 not on any safety case but simply because they thought 60 would have been “unusual”! This difference takes the limit well below the natural speed for the road and has contributed handsomely to recent Police income where there is ABSOLUTELY NO SAFETY JUSTIFICATION, just a limit lower than it should be plucked out of the air.

-          I quote from http://www.dorsetroadsafe.org.uk/images/Documents/Minutes/DSRSPmeetings/DSRSP%20Meeting%2008-11-11.pdf

“the SEES Department under PG are working very hard in trying to establish a self funding and sustainable project”. This is an open admission that it is the money that matters. Would those “working very hard” to make money seriously be able to avoid the temptation to choose a jobsworth sitting in a van targeting the maximum possible number of safe, normal drivers, rather than optimising operations to effectively deal with the much smaller number of really dangerous drivers that cause the problems (clearly much less immediately / directly profitable)? It certainly doesn’t seem so. And then we hear Brain Austin dodging the question about if it’s all about the money!

I have plenty more.

But it’s easy for them, because they can just refuse to communicate when faced with inconvenient questions, that’s how they have handled the situation with me so far.

If it is decided that it is in the public interest to prop-up inefficiency / waste in our authorities with a tax on driving safely well below the original safe design speed of some of our important main roads (as for example Poole councillor Tony Trent seems to believe), then let Dorset Road Unsafe continue – but please let’s have some honesty, don’t try to tell us it’s about road safety. And reduce costs by firing all the jobsworths and just fine people depending on the day of the week and the colour of their shirt, it will be much cheaper.

If on the other hand we want to reduce suffering on the roads in Dorset, step one must be to shut down Dorset Road Unsafe and set up a new team with the correct skills and knowledge and motivated by casualty reductions, not the maximum possible money from “offenders” by removing them from the proper legal process in return for cash, where that cash directly benefits those making enforcement decisions (i.e as has been suggested, perverting the course of justice).

We must also not allow unqualified councillors with no safety knowledge to interfere in road safety work, we wouldn’t allow them to interfere with water or air traffic, would we? Thank goodness the recent interference by Cllr Thierry and others on further speed reductions on the A31 have been rejected – that £1.7m cost of “trials” might now be spent on something effective instead.