Speeds reduced on North Devon Link Road

DEVON County Council s biggest ever road safety campaign has helped to reduce traffic speeds on the A361 North Devon Link Road. The majority of drivers on the A361 are now travelling below the national speed limit and, according to survey figures from Oct

DEVON County Council's biggest ever road safety campaign has helped to reduce traffic speeds on the A361 North Devon Link Road.

The majority of drivers on the A361 are now travelling below the national speed limit and, according to survey figures from October 2009, the average speed of all vehicles on the North Devon Link Road was less than 60mph.

The Devon Country Mile project has trialled a number of initiatives since it launched in 2008 to improve road safety on rural roads, specifically in the area between Exeter and Barnstaple, bordered by the A361, the A377 and the A396.

Traffic sensors embedded in the A361 have been providing detailed information on the types of vehicle, as well as their following distance and speed on the road. The sensors have helped police and the Devon and Cornwall Safety Camera Partnership identify the specific times of the week where motorists are exhibiting risky driver behaviour. This has helped police target their resources, and provide more enforcement from the new police observation platforms.


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A study in October 2008 revealed that 78% of car drivers on the A361 were either driving too fast or too close to the vehicle in front. However, speeds recorded from more than 3.5 million vehicles travelling on the North Devon Link Road in the eastbound direction at Ashmill between June 2008 and October 2009 have shown that motorists are now driving slower on the A361.

The number of vehicles travelling between 65mph to 70mph reduced by 2.4%, whereas more vehicles were travelling below the national speed limit. Those driving between 45mph to 50mph increased by 2.2%, and traffic driving at 50mph to 55mph also increased by 2.2%.

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The results reflect the investment of half a million pounds of safety improvements on the North Devon Link Road, providing better speed limit signs and road markings, says the council. An education campaign has also played a large part with leaflets being produced to provide safety tips and advice for when driving on the A361.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "These figures reveal that the innovative work being carried out as part of the Country Mile is working and the aim now is to ensure it has a lasting effect in making our rural roads safer. I'm delighted that we have been able to work so effectively with our partners to achieve these outstanding results. Educating drivers and riders has been a feature of this campaign and it proves it can be a powerful tool in changing behaviour to reduce the number of accidents and casualties on our roads."

Inspector Richard Pryce of Devon & Cornwall Police, said: "Driving in excess of the speed limit has the potential to put all road users in danger. The police are always keen to work with our partner agencies to educate drivers and to ensure that people drive at a speed that is within the law and importantly suitable for the current weather and road conditions. The Country Mile Project will continue and we hope to achieve further success and make the roads in Devon safer for everyone who uses them."

A spokesperson for the Devon and Cornwall Safety Camera Partnership said: "Although the figures show speeds have changed, the feedback from our officers is that they also see less poor driving than previously, and at least one motorist who regularly uses the A361 told us they are pleased that the number of people that drive irresponsibly seems to be reducing. We would like to thank the increasing majority of drivers who are driving safely and within the limit.

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