Surrey Police and Sussex Police are urging road users to pledge their support towards a European-wide campaign to save lives.
The forces will once again be supporting Project EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Death), which aims to bring casualty reduction and road safety to the forefront of people’s minds.
In 2018 in Surrey, a total of 3,052 injury collisions were reported to police. Of these, 23 were fatal and a further 777 resulted in serious injuries.
In 2018 in Sussex, a total of 5,060 injury collisions were reported to police. Of these, 43 were fatal and a further 958 resulted in serious injuries.
Project EDWARD aims to reduce the number of fatal and serious collisions on our roads by raising awareness of road safety.
It is run by TISPOL, the European Traffic Police network, and takes place on Thursday 26 September this year, when the aim is to have zero fatal collisions on the roads across Europe.
However, the ultimate goal is to improve road safety for the longer term; not just one day.
Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Roads Policing Unit for Surrey Police and Sussex Police, said: “It is staggering to think there were 66 fatal crashes in Surrey and Sussex last year. The victims were all someone’s father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister. Put into perspective, fatal collisions significantly affect the wider community; not just the person directly involved.
“While we cannot comment on the circumstances of each incident, it goes without saying that many collisions could easily be avoided by having proper knowledge and understanding of basic rules on the roads.
“The ‘fatal four’ – drink or drug-driving, mobile phone use, speeding and not wearing a seatbelt – are the four most common causes of serious and fatal collisions, and it is these offences in particular that we would like people to cut out of their driving habits.
“In our opinion, even one fatality is one too many.”
Roads policing officers will provide high-visibility patrols across Surrey and Sussex on 26 September, assisted by the forces’ road safety campaign colleagues – Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and DriveSMART, Surrey.
However, officers will continue to respond to all roads policing matters as part of their routine duties 365 days a year.
Chief Insp Hodder added: “An average of 70 people die in collisions on roads across Europe every day. Although these figures sound high – and they are – we are still one of the leading countries for road safety in Europe.
“We need to build upon this expertise and this position to get the number of road deaths down, improve the knowledge and awareness of road safety, and encourage others to do the same. Even if you do not drive, we are all road users of one type or another, and unfortunately, we probably all know someone who has been in a collision.”
Road safety remains a key priority for Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne. She said: “I’m pleased to see our partners working together and pledging their continued commitment to road safety.
“One road death is one too many. By pledging today to use our roads responsibly, whether as a driver, cyclist or pedestrian, we can all start to make a collective effort to look out for each other and minimise the risk of a collision that could have life-changing consequences.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey David Munro said: “Every fatal collision that occurs has a devastating effect on all those involved, their families and the wider community which is why Project EDWARD carries such an important message.
“One death on our roads is one too many and we must do everything in our power to improve driver safety, increase awareness of the common causes of serious collisions, and reduce casualties.”
On 26 September, there will be road safety messaging on social media, in schools and in universities, being delivered to members of the public by casualty reduction officers. Enforcement will be carried out by dedicated patrols throughout the road network of the counties.
To support this day and the work carried out by Surrey Police and Sussex Police, East Sussex and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services, and local authorities, members of the public can sign up to the pledge, committing to become a better driver and encouraging friends and family to do the same. Sign up here: https://projectedward.eu/pledge/