ENHANCED average speed camera enforcement and a crackdown on mobile phone use while driving are among measures to be rolled out following the adoption of a new regional strategy to improve road safety.

The Refreshed Regional Road Safety Strategy 2023-2030 was agreed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) Board on Friday (September 15) having been drawn up in consultation with partners including local authorities and the emergency services.

The strategy sets out the long-term ambition to reach a point where nobody is killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads – known as Vision Zero.

Meanwhile, an interim target has been set to reduce the numbers of killed and seriously injured casualties by 50 per cent by 2030.

Organisations involved, who form the West Midlands Road Safety Partnership, have committed to work together and take collective responsibility to achieve the target using an approach combining street design, enforcement and education.

The new strategy updates the 2019 strategy, with WMCA chiefs saying that since that launch there has been a 16 per cent reduction in serious or fatal collisions.

Actions currently in the pipeline include enhancement of average speed camera enforcement – including increasing the use of speed awareness courses to educate motorists; more use of AI systems to identify motorists caught on camera using mobile phones while driving or not wearing a seatbelt; lower speed limits; and further rollout of the Fasten Your Future campaign which targeted younger drivers who were found less likely to wear a seatbelt.

Tens of millions of pounds is also being invested by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the WMCA, to create safe cycle routes – such as the A4123 in the Black Country.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chairperson, said: “It’s imperative that we continue our efforts to improve safety on our roads and this strategy sets out our collective ambition to do just that.

“Even one life lost is one too many although we also recognise that this is a challenging task hence why we’re setting incremental targets to guide us along the way.

“Key to this is not only targeting issues as they arise, but also designing our roads and networks to reduce risk from the outset. That’s why we’re developing new safe cycle routes, boosting public transport priority arrangements and ensuring safer junctions.

“Safer roads relieve pressure on our emergency services, enhance our environment and foster wellbeing.

“With this strategy as the foundation, we now need to translate ambition into tangible action - taking further steps to reduce speeding and dangerous driving. Together, we can and will make our roads safer for all users whether they’re in a car or lorry, on a bike or on foot.”

Simon Foster, Police and Crime Commissioner and chair of the Road Safety Strategic Group, added: “Preventing, tackling and reducing crime and ASB and the number of people tragically and avoidably killed and seriously injured on our roads is a top priority.

“The Refreshed Regional Road Safety Strategy 2023-2030, is part of the collaborative commitment of partners to ensure safety on our roads for everyone, including pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle users. Safety on our roads is everyone’s responsibility.

“I am holding West Midlands Police to account, to prevent, tackle and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour on our roads. The force has agreed to crackdown on rule breakers on our roads, set up two new police teams to bring dangerous drivers to justice and make it easier for people to report dangerous driving. Keeping people safe on our roads is a top priority.”

The Refreshed Regional Road Safety Strategy 2023-2030 includes far-reaching measures to change how people travel across the West Midlands.

The creation of 15-minute neighbourhoods, introduction of 20mph speed limits, encouraging people to walk, wheel, cycle and scoot rather than using the car and densifying urban living are all talked about in the plan which aims to deliver a green revolution to the road network.