Road safety officers, community speed watch volunteers, traffic officers and school crossing patrols are amongst the local heroes taking centre stage in a campaign to improve road safety in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Road Safety Week starts on Monday 15 November and this year is celebrating those road safety heroes who help keep people safe on the roads.
Backing the national campaign is the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership, who are using the campaign to highlight the work of the partners and those individuals making a real difference to road safety.
Kevin Wilcox is a road safety officer providing education and training to young people. Kevin who has been working in road safety for 20 years explains in this short video what he does and why it’s more than a job for him.
Lollipop man Vinny Rogers is a School Crossing Patrol Officer with Staffordshire County Council. Vinny explains what he loves about his job and about the role we all play in keeping roads and road users safe. Watch Vinny in action here.
The local heroes will feature on social media throughout the week, alongside a live broadcast from Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service as part of their Safe+Sound community education programme. On Wednesday 17 November at 10am, Key Stage 2 pupils will be able to tune in to a live 30-minute broadcast on the importance of staying safe when on the roads, as well as other vital safety messages. There’s more information at Safe+Sound – Learn Live (learnliveuk.com).
A live Facebook chat with Road Safety Education Officers Hannah Boast and Paul Cope will also take place at 11.30am on Wednesday 17 November at St. Paul’s CE Primary School in Longton. People can watch the broadcast, being hosted by Cllr Daniel Jellyman, on Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Facebook page.
Speaking on behalf of the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership, Deputy Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, Helen Fisher said: “Road safety is a top priority for myself and the Commissioner. It’s vital we keep our road network as safe as possible for everyone who lives in, works in or visits Staffordshire.
“Partnership is key to this. I’m delighted to support this year’s Road Safety Week campaign, highlighting the heroes from Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership who work hard every day to keep our communities safe on the roads.
“Everyone has a role to play – so follow #RoadSafetyWeek on Twitter and let us know about your own local heroes.”
National Highways, who oversee the motorways and some A-roads throughout Staffordshire including the M6 and A500, are also supporting the campaign. Lee Gilbert is a traffic officer who works to keep people safe on these roads, monitoring traffic and attending incidents in a distinctive black and yellow patrol vehicle.
Lee has been doing the job for six years and loves what he does. Lee said: “I spend all day helping people during, quite often, one of the worst days of their lives.
“Nearly everyone I meet is experiencing an incident on the motorway for the first time ever and naturally they’ve no idea what to do. Panic then sets in. I love being the person that is trained and equipped to ensure that their panic is diffused, nothing escalates and that they get home safely. There’s no other job like it.” This short video explains the work of the traffic officers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpCt4DHJW4o
Sam and Adrian are Community Speed Watch volunteers in Armitage & Handsacre and work closely with Staffordshire Police to improve safety in their community, by checking vehicle speeds and identifying drivers found to be speeding.
Talking about her role, Sam said: “This is a really good scheme and I’m so glad I signed up to do it. We’re serious about making the village safer for everyone and when we are out, I have noticed that drivers do slow down. People think we’re trying to catch people speeding but we’re actually trying to re-educate them about the importance of safe driving, especially on our village roads.”
Adrian added: “Our overall aim is to make our roads safer for everyone and hopefully some drivers now think twice about exceeding the speed limit and do drive more considerately. We’re really pleased to be supporting Road Safety Week and hope the local community support us and maybe even join us.”
Road Safety Education Officer Hannah Boast said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting this year’s road safety week to highlight this important topic. Teaching children how to be safe on or near roads takes many people – parents, families, teachers and road safety officers being just a few.
“We work in schools across the area to give children and young people the skills and knowledge they need to keep themselves safe, now and in the future. What we do is really rewarding, especially when you see children putting into practice what they have learned in our sessions. Heroes come in many forms, especially when it comes to keeping people safe on the roads.”
Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country.
Further details on this year’s campaign can be found at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk. People can also support the campaign by following #RoadSafetyWeek on Twitter and sharing the posts on their social media channels.