Clampdown on dangerous driving to be launched

Date published: 22 October 2018

A clampdown on dangerous driving is to be launched over fears residents are facing a rising safety risk.

Rochdale has seen a number of road smashes over the last year and the new taskforce will ‘bring reassurance to communities’, the town hall has said.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) statistics show there has been no particular pattern of incidents causing death and serious injuries increasing on Rochdale’s roads over the last few years. 

There were 55 last year compared to 42 in 2013, and 71 in 2014.

However many councillors say it is the one issue residents raise with them above all others.

Blackspots are said to include the A58 from Smallbridge through to the Calder Valley border. 

And Heywood residents have complained about drivers rallying on the streets of their town centre on the way to last weekend’s monthly car-meet.

Town hall chiefs unanimously voted last week in favour of forming the taskforce of councillors, partner agencies and members of the public.

It came after Councillor John Taylor tabled a motion at a full council meeting which said there had been a ‘marked deterioration in driving standards particularly in the evening.’

He told councillors that the use of the borough’s roads as a racetrack was ‘downright dangerous’ and that there was ‘clearly a huge issue that needs to be addressed’.

Councillor Taylor added: “Our communities demand we do this, it’s absolutely right we do everything in our power to work to address it.

“The way to address it isn’t about more resources or funding, it’s about working smarter, using technology and making this an integral part into how we do things here in Rochdale, so it becomes part of the very fabric of our policies and our actions.

“It’s not just for us as elected members and officers of the council to deal with either, there’s a role for all of us, partner agencies and the community at large.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure our roads are safe. Let’s face it, when accidents takes place the outcome is absolutely devastating and on occasion, fatal. That’s totally tragic in accidents that can be avoided.”

The motion was seconded by Labour’s Councillor Neil Emmott who said the safety of residents should be a priority for the council.

He also said there was anecdotal evidence of a culture among young people of hiring high-performance cars.

He said: “They can’t necessarily afford to buy a Ferrari or Maserati, but by clubbing together they can hire one for a few days, and I know a number of accidents have been caused by people driving too fast in hire vehicles.

“That may be something as a council we can look at, clearly that’s an issue.”

And Conservative leader Ashley Dearnley has called for more speed cameras to be installed across the borough.

He said: “I think when the government in 2010 got in there was a general feeling that there was almost an overload of measures to attack the motorist, almost a policy of removing cameras from places.

“In hindsight there’s no doubt that was a very dangerous and big mistake for the government to do. 

“If you went to the public now the feeling over those years will have changed significantly and they would support much more cameras, particularly at traffic lights and it’s traffic lights I think where we are going to have possible deaths.”

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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