Road safety campaign launched in Luton as traffic increases following lifting of Covid restrictions

But opposition group fear initiative will be meaningless without enforcement

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 4:38 pm

Luton Council is urging motorists to drive safely as it launches a new road safety campaign in response to the increased volume of traffic on Luton’s roads following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, the clocks going back and as we head into winter.

It says speeding is one of the main contributors in collisions and one of the fatal four driving offences, which also include drink and drug driving, not wearing a seatbelt, and driving whilst distracted.

The Labour-run council's campaign aims to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on Luton’s roads, although Liberal Democrat opposition councillors are questioning whether the initiative has much substance.

Luton Council has launched a road safety campaign

Cllr Rob Roche, portfolio holder responsible for highways, said: “Speed limits are there to protect the public and to assist traffic flow. Driving too fast or at an inappropriate speed for the road environment or conditions means that drivers have less time to react and near misses can easily turn into collisions, or worse.

"Speeding kills – it is as simple as that. It is one of the four biggest dangers while driving and the difference of even just a few miles per hour can be the difference between life and death.”

The council's latest campaign is one of a number looking at road safety in the town, including think before you park, which encourages drivers to be considerate of school children and residents during school drop off and pick up times, and winter car safety.

But the Lib Dems say all Luton's speed limits are effectively advisory because "every driver knows they are not enforced”.

“When was the last time anyone was fined for ignoring a 20mph speed limit in Luton?” said Liberal Democrat leader Councillor David Franks. “I asked that question once and was told it was in 2017 and speeding was not the main reason for the fine, speeding was just an add-on offence to something else.

“How many residents complain to their Labour councillors about speeding in their neighbourhood? I do know Liberal Democrat councillors get speeding complaints all the time. We do try to get more enforcement but can only tell our residents that the council is hopeless at enforcing anything.”

“A couple of years ago the council did a two weeks’ speed check on Old Bedford Road and found almost a third of vehicles were travelling at more than 50mph. What did they do about it? They stuck up a sign on one of the lamp posts saying this is a police speed watch area, which of course everyone knows it isn’t.”

“The carefully worded press release announces not one single action the council intends to take, so apart from issuing the press release what are they actually going to do? Probably nothing – as usual.”

Is there much speeding in your part of Luton? Email [email protected]