Pedestrians and all roads users to be targeted.
From spray painting roads to taking to the wheel of an HGV, West Midlands Police and Central Motorway Police Group are targeting driver and pedestrian distractions during national Road Safety Week.
Warnings reminding pedestrians to stay ‘street smart’ will be cropping up on roads close to schools and colleges throughout the West Midlands as part of the national drive to make the roads safer for all.
Traffic officers are going up with colleagues from Central Motorway Police Group, West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Ambulance Service and charity, Brake, to make sure Midlands road users get the road safety message loud and clear.
During a week of action designed to cut out distractions posing a risk to road users, CMPG officers will be using an unmarked HGV to monitor truckers using the Midlands motorway network, tackling drivers failing to ‘belt up’ when they get behind the wheel, carrying out speed checks at key danger spots and targeting ‘boy racers’ illegally gathering and racing on the region’s roads.
Inspector Paul Bennett, from West Midlands Collision Investigation Unit, is leading the campaign for CMPG. He said: “Road Safety is a priority for us each and every day, however campaigns like these give us the opportunity to highlight the danger that is posed to others when people don’t pay full attention.
“We’ve seen lorry drivers watching TV while driving, people doing their make-up behind the wheel, eating their lunch while driving at high speed on the motorway, as well as some of the more common acts like using a mobile phone or sat nav. It only takes a second’s distraction for events to take a deadly turn; a vehicle could stop suddenly in front or a pedestrian could step out into the road.
“A car or lorry is a machine that needs full attention to ensure it’s used appropriately and doesn’t turn into a deadly weapon.”
And the road safety campaign doesn’t end with motorists; pedestrians are also being warned to keep an eye on the road. Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman, from West Midlands Police Force Traffic Unit, said the idea to spray paint road safety messages on the tarmac is one that’s come from across the pond. “We are all too aware, from the incidents that we often deal with, that young people can often be oblivious to the world around them when they are using their electronic devices; be it their mobile, iPod or tablet.
“People get engrossed in the screen and are too busy watching or typing rather than looking where they are going. It was then that we stumbled across an idea that came out of Yale University where they spray painted messages such as ‘look up’ or ‘look where you are going’ on the road surface.
“Some people may see it as a gimmick, but the whole point is to raise awareness and make people think. If it saves one person from coming to harm then it’ll be worthwhile.”
The messages will be spray painted, with temporary ink, on roads and pavements outside education centres across the region.
National Road Safety Week runs from 18th-24th November. More can be found regarding National Road Safety Week by visiting the Brake website – www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk