D-day for A38 safety
Written by ROB SMYTH
THE campaign to improve road safety on the A38 has reached D-Day — with experts from the Highways Agency set to tour the accident-plagued road to decide if vital improvements are needed.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths revealed a group from the Government body would survey the dual carriageway as pressure for road safety changes intensified following several serious accidents.
He told the Mail: “This is an incredibly important meeting. It is key because no matter what has been said or done, the Highways Agency is the body that authorises and implements the changes that we need to see.
“This visit is the perfect chance for us to not only point out and specify problems but also show first-hand why the changes are not just needed, but vital.
“We can’t just cross our fingers and hope changes are going to be made. We have to work together to make sure that the A38 is made as safe as possible.”
Burton firefighters have now thrown their weight behind the campaign for improvements, claiming the issue was the ‘highest priority’ for them in the town.
They backed a raft of suggested improvement including the introduction of average speed cameras and closing the gaps in the central reservation.
MP TO HOST HIGHWAYS AGENCY STAFF ON SAFETY TOUR OF ROAD
BURTON’S MP has revealed representatives from the Highways Agency are set to tour the A38 later this month as part of an on-going campaign for safety improvements on the road.
Tory Andrew Griffiths confirmed that he would be welcoming officials from the organisation to the town on August 18 in an effort to show them first-hand the ‘urgent’ changes needed along the carriageway.
The MP told the Mail that the date was ‘key’ to his and fellow campaigners’ efforts to drastically reduce the amount of accidents with the possible introduction of average speed cameras, closing the gaps in the central reservation and reducing drivers’ excessive speed among the measures being sought.
He said: “I am pleased to announce I finally have a meeting with the Highways Agency which will hopefully allow us to get to the bottom of the problem on the A38.
“They will be bringing a special car that we will then go out in along the carriageway, so I can show them all of the areas that are of concern.
“I have had fantastic support from the police and fire service but the Highways Agency is the final piece of the puzzle.
“It important that we get them to see what we see and this is why this is the key point in this campaign.
“Hopefully the Highways Agency will see the issues and potential dangers on the A38 and be forced into action.”
Mr Griffiths has taken an active role in the campaign from the start. He has spoken about the issue in Parliament and also accompanied police during shifts on the A38 to see the problem first-hand.
FACTFILE: PROBLEMS ON THE A38
ROAD safety chiefs launched a campaign in a bid to slash the death and accident toll on the A38 following the death of the two sisters.
The tragedy sent shockwaves through the community, prompting Burton MP Andrew Griffiths to call on the Government to review the A38’s safety — a task quickly taken up by police and firefighters.
Bosses of these services, together with counterparts from ambulance, council, road, justice and health teams who form the Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership, are behind the new safety campaign.
The partnership is using law enforcement and education initiatives to heighten motorists’ awareness of the A38’s dangers and make their driving safer.
Though speeders, mobile phone users and drivers failing to belt up will be targeted, enforcement teams will also focus on motorists who flout other laws. Where appropriate, offenders will be offered education instead of the standard penalty points to improve their behaviour.
The campaign has also been backed by the East Staffordshire Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), an alliance of public, private, community and voluntary sector organisations designed to improve people’s quality of life.
Despite calls to make improvements on the A38, roads chiefs claimed that the stretch where the two sisters were killed was not a traffic collision blackspot.
Highways Agency officials said they had also scrapped a consultation on closing gaps in the dual carriageway’s central reservation, claiming the suggestion sparked ‘strong’ public opposition.