‘Dangerous’ roads targeted in two-year Countrymile project.

A CAMPAIGN that has helped reduce collisions on some of North Devon’s most dangerous roads by more than 40 per cent has been commended by a leading road safety group.

Roadsafe said the Countrymile project, Devon’s biggest ever road safety project, had delivered innovation and achievement ‘in bucketloads’.

From April 2008 to March 2010 collisions on the A361 North Devon Link Road, the A377 between Barnstaple and Exeter, and the A396 between Exeter and Dunster, fell by 41 per cent compared with the average figure between 2002 and 2006.

A package of educational, engineering and enforcement work included half-a-million pounds of safety improvements on the A361, such as better speed limit signs and road markings.

Traffic sensors were also embedded in the road which can show the type of vehicle, following distances and speed on the road.

The areas were chosen because of the high proportion of casualties killed or seriously injured in road collisions – 21.5 per cent, compared with 13.1 per cent for Devon.

Casualties in the Countrymile project area rose slightly in 2011 but the area is still performing better than other rural parts of Devon and continues to make a positive contribution to the county’s road safety record.

Presenting the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award, Adrian Walsh, director and secretary of Roadsafe, said: “You have provided short and long term solutions which can be replicated elsewhere.

“You have excellent leadership and outstanding commitment; long may that continue and the public will benefit from that.” Countrymile was operated by the Devon Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, which comprises Devon County Council; Devon and Cornwall Police; Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service; the Devon and Cornwall Safety Camera Partnership; Devon Primary Care Trust; and South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

The project was supported with £1.5million of funding for the project from the Department for Transport.