Danger bends at centre of safety launch

Norfolk transport officials have unveiled a pioneering £1.5m road safety scheme, just hours after an accident near Watton where the project is being tried out.

Norfolk transport officials have unveiled a pioneering £1.5m road safety scheme, just hours after an accident near Watton where the project is being tried out.

The county council's transport experts yesterday launched a series of measures, ranging from hi-tech innovations to campaigns,in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents.

At present accident rates, these can claim up to 70 lives in Norfolk every year.

After a short briefing at Broom Hall, near Watton, councillors and officers attended a presentation at the Ovington bends on the A1075 Watton-Dereham road, where flashing chasing chevrons are on trial.

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Earlier in the day, a man driving a blue Mazda car was trapped in his vehicle and suffered minor injuries at the same scene.

Police said the cause of the accident, which involved no other vehicle, was not known. But transport experts insisted that the new measures were improving road safety in the area.

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Norfolk County Council has Beacon status for road safety, and working with partners such as the police and health authorities through the Casualty Reduction Partnership, has gained national recognition for initiatives such as the award-winning 'Loser' campaign aimed at younger drivers.

With 77pc of incidents happening on the county's rural roads according to council statistics, the county council's transport experts are now looking to test a series of measures in north-east Norfolk.

These include a new green de-restriction sign to warn drivers they are entering the minor road network where not all hazards will be marked.

Some roadside trees, especially those which self-seed, will be removed or guarded and half-metre run-off strips will be added at key points on fast A roads to give errant drivers more chance to regain control.

Officers say village roads will be “de-cluttered” by removing traffic signs and new rear-facing speed cameras will be introduced. The cameras will be targeting motorcyclists in particular, as their registration plates which are at the rear cannot be read by current equipment.

Alec Byrne, Chairman of the Norfolk Casualty Reduction Partnership, said: “This rural project gives us the chance to spare even more families from the trauma and misery that go with serious road accidents. Working within a demonstration area will give us a chance to see which measures are effective at reducing the number and severity of accidents. Lessons learned can then be applied across Norfolk and the rest of the country.”

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said the project launch at Broom Hall, Saham Toney, was chosen because it is close to the A1075 Ovington bends where hi-tech chasing chevrons have been added to cut accidents.

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