Average speed cameras are to be installed on two key Fylde coast link roads for the first time, The Gazette can reveal today.
A 7.5m stretch of the A583 between Peel Corner and Preston Old Road in Clifton is one of eight sites in Lancashire to be earmarked for the motorway-style cameras.
A two-mile stretch of the A588 in Pilling is also included.
Average speed cameras use number plate recognition technology to detect vehicles and calculate their average speed by measuring the time taken to travel between two fixed points and are
frequently used on motorways during sections of roadworks.
Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “In an ideal world drivers would observe the speed limit and we would never have speed related casualties and deaths; but we all know that that is not the case.
“These measures should help to save lives.”
The section includes the Kirkham bypass, once dubbed a the Fylde’s ‘death trap’ road.
The speed limit along the majority of the route is 50mph.
Figures show there were 50 accidents - two of them fatal – on that stretch of road over the last five years.
The last fatal incident on the route came last June when a 78-year-old man was involved in a collision close to the Ribby Hall roundabout.
Cameras are also being installed on the A588 between Pilling and Preesall,
That road, which links Poulton to Lancaster and runs through the villages of Stalmine and Hambleton, has claimed more than a dozen lives over the last 15 years.
It is hoped the introduction of average speed cameras, which monitor a driver’s speed will help bring down the accident rate on both routes.
Average speed check signage will be used to inform drivers that they are entering an average speed control zone.
Eight routes across Lancashire have been chosen and work begins today to install cameras on the first route – the A6 London Road, Preston, between the Capitol Centre (Winery Road) and Albyn Street East, with enforcement likely to begin around March.
The other routes will have a staggered installation period with all cameras in force by the end of 2017.
Lancashire Constabulary’s assistant chief constable Tim Jacques, chair of the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership, insisted safety not profit was behind the move.
He said: “We don’t want to catch you speeding. Our primary aim is for all drivers to adhere to the safe speed limits on our roads, and these particular roads are proven to be amongst some of our most dangerous.
“It is well researched and documented that speeding can kill, but we know that a combination of education, engineering and enforcement can change behaviours and save lives. This is particularly important where there are recurring problems.”
The installation of cameras has been welcomed in both Wyre and Fylde.
Coun Liz Oades, who represents Kirkham South on Fylde Council, said residents had expressed repeated concerns over safety on the A583.
She said: “I have recently been approached by people living on the new-build estate off Preston New Road who have said they are worried about safety along this route.
“People in the community are worried and there is a history of accidents.
“Only last year there was a fatal accident very close to Kirkham.
“The thing about average cameras is they reduce speeds along the whole route, not just in one spot.
“Drivers have no choice but to slow down. I hope that will help make this a safer road.”
But Fylde MP Mark Menzies warned the aim of the cameras should be safety and not profit.
He said: “I have recently been contacted by a number of constituents at Kirkham who have highlighted concerns at the speed of traffic along the road close to new homes developments in the area.
“There has been a history of accidents on the A583 and hopefully this will help reduce those numbers.
“However, I hope the motivation for this is genuinely one of road safety, and not to be a revenue-raising exercise from motorists.”
On the A588 between Pilling and Preesall, where the speed limit is 60mph, there have been nine crashes in the last five years – two of them serious and one fatal.
Coun Vivien Taylor represents Wyreside on Lancashire County Council.
She said safety improvements on the A588 are long overdue but called for improvements along the whole of the route.
Coun Taylor said: “Any measure which improves road safety has to be welcomed.
“There is no doubt speed contributes to accidents. A lot of people use these roads without knowing how they can catch you out.
“There is evidence along the route which shows how often people end up in trouble.
“Every time you pass a new hole in the fence or hedge you worry about the consequences.
“I hope this is just the start of a strategy for the whole route and we can prevent further tragedies.”
The A588 between Singleton and Lancaster is consistently named among England’s 10 most dangerous roads and was targeted earlier this year by the Department for Transport for additional road safety investment.
Lancashire County Council has made numerous improvements to the route in recent years including the introduction of new, lower speed limits.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw made clear a stick rather than a carrot was needed to convince drivers of the dangers of speeding.
He said: “In an ideal world drivers would observe the speed limit and we would never have speed related casualties and deaths; but we all know that that is not the case.
“The casualty toll on these routes has to be tackled and I am pleased that the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership is investing to make these routes safer for all.
“Evidence shows that speed is often a factor in road deaths and serious collisions, so these measures should help to save lives.”
Research by the RAC Foundation showed that the numbers of fatal and serious collisions decreases by around a third after average speed cameras are introduced. As part of the LRSP’s average speed project, research will be conducted to review speed data, traffic flow and casualty information on all of the routes.
County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our roads have become much safer over the past decade with far fewer casualties overall.
“However there are particular roads where the record of speed related casualties remains high, despite considerable investment in targeted safety engineering measures.
“The evidence suggests that average speed cameras will help to tackle this problem, and I look forward to these roads becoming safer following their introduction.”
Where are the cameras?
• A583 Preston New Road (7.5m)
• A588 Head Dyke Lane, Pilling (2m)
• A656 Southport Road (1.2m)
• A59 Brockholes Brow, Preston (0.5m)
• A6 London Road, Preston (0.7m)
• A675 in Belmont (8.5m)
• A682 Gisburn Road, Pendle (5.2m)
• B6232 Grane Road, Haslingden (4.7m)
Why have these roads been chosen and do they work?
The proposed routes chosen by the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership because:
• There is a history of collisions and casualties within the routes.
• Speed surveys indicate that speeding vehicles is an issue.
• Some of the routes have been identified as needing action around speed and road safety issues, but there aren’t any other realistic or appropriate enforcement options.
• There will be sanctions for anyone detected breaching the speed limits, where eligible they will be given the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course to learn about the dangers of speeding, accept a conditional offer of a fixed penalty or for higher speeds the matter may be referred to court.
• The fine for speeding is at least £100 and at least three points on your licence.
The cameras will use number plate recognition technology to detect vehicles and calculate their average speed by measuring the time taken to travel between fixed points of a known distance apart.
According to the RAC Foundation, the use of average speed cameras cuts the number of crashes resulting in death or serious injury by more than a third.
Its research found the average reduction in personal injury collisions of all severities was 16 per cent.
The first stretch of road to become permanently managed by average speed cameras was on the A6514 Ring Road in Nottingham back in 2000.