Road traffic accidents in the Thames Valley, home to some of the UKs busiest roads, have been reduced for the third year in a row as a result of a road safety initiative by Thames Valley Police that uses specialist traffic offence management technology developed by UK-based StarTraq.
Drivers in the Thames Valley caught on camera committing low-level traffic offences, such as speeding, not wearing a seat-belt or using a mobile phone, are now being offered the option of attending a driver re-education course instead of the usual fine and penalty points.
Last year more than 40,000 drivers attended re-education in the Thames Valley, where they are taught about the potential lethal dangers of the offences they have committed. As a result of the increased number of drivers taking the courses, research and the polices own figures reveal that casualties and re-offending rates have dropped, with some drivers ten times less likely to re-offend.
The increase in the number of re-education courses offered has been helped by the use of StarTraqs Traffic Offence Management System at the Thames Valley Police Central Ticket Office (CTO). When photographic evidence of an offence reaches the CTO, the StarTraq system automatically processes the offence, identifying suitable candidates for re-education and sending them an invitation to a course, alternatively issuing drivers a fixed penalty or notice of court action for more serious or repeat offences.
Dan Campsall, Communications Manager at Thames Valley Road Safety Partnership, says that using StarTraqs system means more drivers have the opportunity of re-education. He explains: The results that are achievable with this combined commitment to education and efficiency have had a measurable impact. The roads in Thames Valley have continued to return significant casualty reductions each year, with the lowest level of deaths on the regions roads for three years in succession.
With the systems we have in place, we have been able to increase the proportion of road traffic offenders taking the option of re-education from 3% in 2006 to around 50% in 2009 without huge increases in the cost of administration. An efficient back office system is a key building block required for the successful implementation of a flexible, customer focused approach to education.
Allan Freinkel, managing director of StarTraq, continues: StarTraqs work with the Thames Valley Police has ensured wider availability and higher take up of driver re-education courses, which in turn has helped to make the regions road safer. It has also been successful in changing the publics perception of police road safety initiatives by offering drivers an effective yet proportionate alternative to fines and penalty points.
As more police authorities around the country implement similar campaigns, making motorists face up to the dangers caused their poor and illegal driving behaviour, I am sure we will see fewer traffic offences, lower road casualty figures and safer drivers across the UK.
Research by Professor Frank McKenna at the University of Reading compared the attitude and intentions of drivers who had attended a speed awareness course with those that had been issued with a fixed penalty notice. Professor McKenna found that women drivers who had attended the course were 9.8 times less likely to intend to break the 30 mph speed limit, whilst men who had undergone re-education were five times more likely to intend to stay within the 30mph limit.
The Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership is now using StarTraq technology to build up a database of profiles of potential offenders that enables driver re-education programmes to be tailored to the needs of specific groups. The Young Drivers scheme (YDS), for example, is aimed at traffic offenders under the age of 25, an age group with a significant proportion of road casualties in the region.
Young drivers attend a two hour workshop and then complete five online e-learning modules on issues such as crash outcomes, attitude and alertness, safety margins, overtaking and anticipation and hazard perception. Research shows that after six months the re-offence rate for drivers who had attended the YDS scheme was significantly lower than those that had been given a fixed penalty.
For more information, contact Judy Davis at StarTraq on +44 (0)1295 237000 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or
Paul Beadle at Brazil, StarTraqs PR, on +44 (0)7801 105001 or e-mail email@example.com
StarTraq is a leading provider of efficient back office solutions specialising in the traffic enforcement sector, working with 13 of the UKs police forces and safety camera partnerships. We provide the software that processes traffic offences. Our modular Traffic Offence Management System performs ANPR on the data coming in from various media (video, film, DVD form cameras, and handwritten tickets from police officers), identifies vehicle owners, processes the ensuing correspondence, diverts those eligible for driver education and handles the workflow for the remainder through to conditional offer in an almost paper free environment. For more details, see our website http://www.startraq.com.