Dorset Breaks New Ground With Road Safety Centre

Weymouth Vehicle Safety Venue First Of Its Kind In Britain


A new vehicle safety centre is being created in the Dorset town of Weymouth, in a bid to slash the tally of fatal road accidents in the county.

The centre is the brainchild of two charities - Weymouth's Community Safety Centre and Bournemouth-based LV Streetwise. They aim to reduce the accident rate that saw 1,200 casualties on the county's roads last year, which included 28 deaths and 326 serious injuries, the Dorset Echo reports.

Based at Radipole Lane, the centre - the first of its kind in Britain - will include simulated features like a train station, a level crossing, a bus stop, shops and various roadside obstacles, all of which recreate real-life potential dangers. It is being funded with help from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service and the Dorset police and crime commissioner, who have provided £180,000 for groundworks.

In addition to this, Network Rail is planning to supply a small rail line, foot crossing and road crossing for Roadwise, aimed at teaching drivers to be safer around the two levels crossings in Dorset, at Pole and Wool.

Discussing the new centre, chief executive of Safewise Alison Shelton said it will help to "deliver the sustainable changes in behaviour needed to make our roads safer".

"The layout will allow young drivers, motorcyclists, older drivers and pedestrians the ability to learn on a life-size road layout including buildings - either painted on hoardings or constructed from real brick, roadside furniture, a train at a station complete with track and a level crossing, pedestrian crossing and hazards," she added.

Chris Denham of Network Rail said that while its aim is to close most of the UK's level crossings, some will have to remain open and it is important for people to be educated in their safe use, since they are the "highest risk" area of the organisation's operations.

According to Network Rail figures, there have been ten collisions between trains and cars at level crossings in each of the last three years.

Expert Opinion
This is an interesting and innovative idea which is based around the simple objective of improving road safety. As a result, its creation and launch can only be welcomed.

"Through our work, we see a number of cases when people have been killed or seriously injured on the roads, so we understand the massive consequences such incidents have on victims, their loved ones and the wider local community.

"It will be interesting to follow the success of this new centre in terms of reducing accidents in the local area, as there may be scope to introduce similar schemes in other areas with a high number of serious road traffic collisions."
Colin Ettinger, Partner