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Reader letter: Safety engineers could save lives on A417 in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 20, 2013

Reader letter: Safety engineers could save lives on A417 in Gloucestershire
Comments (6)

ALMOST 500 people have been killed in road crashes in Gloucestershire in 12 years.

If a plane crashed killing 500 everything would be done to stop it.

I have a diploma in traffic engineering so question the prevailing view that it is all due to driver error.

Up until the 1980s, both the civil engineers and traffic engineers had put highway capacity as the top priority.

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Highway capacity is the maximum number of vehicles you can get along a road or through a junction.

Single three-lane roads and big gyratory systems were the main way of helping this high number of vehicles. But it had to change as it was killing too many people.

In the late 1980s, the civil engineer managing the traffic engineers at Shire Hall asked my opinion on what to do at Crickley Hill on the road from the Air Balloon roundabout to Brockworth, where there had been another head-on crash, killing many people.

I looked straight at my manager and said: “any traffic movement that is causing the death of so many people must be banned.”

His reaction was as if I had punched him on the chin.

But as a good engineer he agreed to the new unusual road layout drawn by our white lining expert.

After almost 48 years, I have retired from traffic engineering.

I agree that educating drivers is important, after all in a private capacity up to 1998 I ran the Love Your Neighbour go-slow campaign.

However, what the driver sees on the road before he makes his mistake can save his life. Safety engineering is vital. Engineers have saved more lives than doctors.

Roland R Parsons


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