New speeding taskforce group aims to save lives

Residents will be given more of a say on how to stop drivers speeding in their neighbourhoods, thanks to a new organisation set up to tackle the problem in Oxfordshire.

The speeding taskforce group is a joint initiative involving Oxfordshire County Council, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and the Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner. Announced to coincide with Road Safety Week, its aims include educating drivers about the dangers of breaking the speed limit and helping communities to tackle the issue.

Councillor Liam Walker, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Delivery and Operations, who sits on the taskforce, said: “Speeding is rightly one of the top issues that residents in Oxfordshire are concerned about and this is an opportunity for us to all work closer to explore new ways to reduce it. We all have a responsibility as drivers to play our part and through this new taskforce I hope we can work closely with communities to start looking at solutions to reducing speeding on our roads.

“This may involve more enforcement from Thames Valley Police or the county council changing the layout of roads or reducing speed limits in areas, but the key point of this group is to bring us together so we can start to have these conversations and focus on the changes needed so we can save lives.”

The speeding taskforce group is made up of Cllr Walker, Paul Fermer (Oxfordshire County Council’s Assistant Director of Community Operations), Matt Barber (Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley), Superintendent Colin Hudson (Head of Roads Policing Unit for Thames Valley Police) and Andy Ford (Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Road Safety Manager).

Matt Barber, Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, said: “Speeding and road safety is a legitimate concern for almost every community in the Thames Valley. By taking a strategic approach, which involves improving Community Speedwatch, more targeted, intelligence-led police enforcement and safer road management by councils, we can cut speeding, reassure communities and, ultimately, save lives.”

Initial virtual meetings have been held to identify how the different organisations can share data about key accident and speeding hotspots. The group wants to focus on more awareness campaigns, alerting drivers to the effects and consequences of speeding and giving the issue as much attention as drink-driving or not wearing a seatbelt.

It also aims to support communities that want to help tackle speeding by ensuring they have the support to set up Community Speedwatch groups in their area to monitor motorists who break the limits.