Report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport.
23.1 The Assistant Director, Communities introduced the report. The report provides the Committee with an update on the final outcomes of the East Sussex Road Safety Programme, which started in 2016. It has been identified from evidence both nationally and locally that the vast majority of Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) crashes and over 90% of collisions are due to driver behaviour or driver error. Therefore, the Programme trialled a number of interventions designed to change driver behaviour and reduce the number of Killed or Seriously Injured collisions (KSIs) in the County. The trials were developed by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) in conjunction with Sussex Police and other Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) partners. The Programme was funded by £950,000 from Public Health, based on the Public Health Outcomes Framework which identified that the proportion of people either killed or seriously injured on East Sussex roads was higher than the average rate for England.
23.2 Randomised controlled trial methodologies were used so that the evaluation of the outcomes is robust, and results can by applied with a high degree of confidence. There have been very few previous road safety trials that have used this methodology, which uses data science to show which interventions work in improving road safety. The Programme has included work on five behaviour change trials and the high risk sites trial. The high risk sites trial makes physical changes to how the road appears to drivers at certain sites to see how this changed driver behaviour. Four out of the five of the behaviour trials demonstrated positive outcomes, which included the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NiP) trial and the Anniversary trial. The results from the high risk sites trial of 15 schemes showed a reduction in the average number of crashes and the average number of casualties per annum.
23.3 Following the successful outcome of these trials further Public Health funding has been allocated to develop more trials. The Behavioural Insights Teams has been appointed to do this work which will take place during the summer of 2022 for implementation in the autumn.
23.4 The Committee welcomed the successful outcome of the trials and the positive impact that was made on the number of collision and KSIs. Anything that reduces collisions and casualties in East Sussex is very welcome. The Committee discussed the report and a summary of the questions raised and points made is given below.
23.5 Some Committee members commented that the high risk groups, such as the 18-24 year old age group, are well known and it would appear that the Council is spending money establishing the target groups and causes of collisions (such as driver inattention) which it already knows about. The Assistant Director, Communities outlined that it was important to be guided by the data and researching the target groups properly enabled an accurate understanding of the situation to be developed. This dispelled a number of myths such as elderly drivers and out of county drivers cause more KSIs, which turned out not to be the case. It also confirmed that distraction is a key element in collisions.
Focus on KSIs
23.6 The work focusses on KSI data, and the Committee asked what other sources of data on collisions were used (e.g. insurance claims data, analysis of people attending speed awareness courses, Community Speed Watch etc.) in order to try and prevent collisions. Some members of the Committee commented that they felt there was an over emphasis on KSIs and historic (after the event) data rather than looking to prevent casualties caused as a result of speeding and making residents feel safe. For example, future emphasis for expenditure could be through the adoption of school streets, low traffic neighbourhoods and 20mph zones as outlined in documents such as Gear Change and Reaching the Destination Safely to create safer streets. It might be better to focus expenditure outside schools and reduce speeds in areas important for walking and cycling, rather than on crash sites that occur randomly across the County.
23.7 The Assistant Director, Communities explained that KSI data was used as this was the best evidence that was available. It is important that work is driven by the data and the focus of the work is to change driver behaviour in order to reduce casualties. It should be noted that the trials did cover the whole population and not just the target groups, and information from the speed awareness courses and who attends them was used in the design of Notice of Intended Prosecution trial. The Assistant Director, Communities confirmed that data from the Community Speed Watch scheme was considered as part of the Operation Crackdown trial.
High Risk Sites trial
23.8 The Committee commented that looking at the map of the sites involved in the trial it appeared that some electoral Divisions are not represented and asked how the sites were selected for the high risk sites trial. The Assistant Director, Communities explained that sites were selected from across the County based on the analysis of three years KSI data. Sites were selected which had the highest number of KSIs and where it was possible to implement measures to make the road environment self-explaining. Each year the Road Safety Team carries out an assessment of crash sites and develops a programme of works based on the results.
Evaluation of trials
23.9 The Assistant Director, Communities confirmed the outcomes of the trials are robust and are statistically significant. The data has been validated and all results have been independently assessed and audited by BIT statisticians. Therefore, the results can be applied more widely with confidence.
23.10 The Committee asked if the 18-24 year old age group could be encouraged to take up the use of ‘black box’ technology which monitors driving behaviour. It was confirmed that the team are looking at ‘black box’ technology and mobile phone apps that track driver behaviour and are working with insurance companies as part of the next phase of the work. The role of car manufacturers in the introduction of new technologies in vehicles to make them safer is also key in reducing KSIs.
23.11 Some members of the Committee commented that the Police focus appeared to be mainly on speeding enforcement and questioned whether there should be greater emphasis on moving offences such as use of mobile phones or other driver distractions and the propensity to offend. Clarification was sought as to whether only the Police could enforce no parking on zig zag lines outside schools.
23.12 The Assistant Director, Communities clarified that the money raised from Speed Awareness training courses is used to fund the work of the SSRP. ESCC works closely with SSRP partners, including Sussex Police, and is engaged with the work on the new Speeding Strategy for Sussex. It was clarified that Civil Parking Enforcement Officers can carry out enforcement where there is dangerous parking.
23.13 The Committee RESOLOVED to:
(1) To note the positive outcomes of the East Sussex County Council (ESCC) Road Safety Programme, which included:
a. Notice of Intended Prosecution (NiP) Trial - receiving the redesigned NIP and leaflet significantly reduced speeding reoffending by 23% within 6 months. Over the 6-month trial this meant 170 fewer reoffences than business-as-usual, or 6 per week. This would translate to 560 fewer reoffences over the 6months if everyone in the trial had received the new leaflet and new NIP.
b. The Anniversary Trial - Drivers who received the Anniversary letter were 8%less likely to speed between 7 and 12 months later than those who did not. Over the 6-month trial this meant 80 fewer reoffences than business-as-usual, or 3 per week; and
c. High Risk Sites Trial - results from 15 schemes have indicated a 49% reduction in the average number of crashes per annum and a 61% reduction in the average number of casualties per annum
(2) To note the development and implementation of a further evidence based behaviour change road safety programme.