WATCH: Full video report on the launch of a new plan for Kent's roads
Kent County Council has revealed details of its strategy to eliminate road fatalities by 2050.
Under the banner ‘Vision Zero’ it commits to a wide-ranging response to try to dramatically reduce deaths and serious injuries over the coming decades.
Currently, an average of 45 people lose their lives in the county in traffic accidents each year.
Central to the plan is a focus on encouraging businesses that use lorries and vans to purchase vehicles with the best possible safety equipment.
At the launch event at the former Manston Airport, lorries, vans and cars were demonstrated with features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assistance.
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, told ITV News Meridian: “We need fleet operators, especially with vans and trucks, to tick those boxes – to specify that equipment – because it’s not only about protecting other people, it’s about protecting your driver, your most precious commodity.”
WATCH: Autonomous emergency braking in action
Prince Michael of Kent was among the dignitaries at the launch event, which brought together representatives from National Highways, Kent Police and Project EDWARD.
Van safety is a key part of the new strategy, especially given their increasing use because of rising demand for home deliveries. Vans were involved in 2,156 incidents in the five years to the end of 2020, causing 3,174 injuries including 36 deaths, according to KCC.
Anne-Marie Penny, Senior Road Safety Adviser, National Highways said: “There will be more drivers, we’re going to see more deliveries. So, we’re going to have a bigger focus on how to keep delivery drivers in the right frame of mind, how to deal with mental health and any issues that come out of being on the road for long periods.”
The formal announcement of the strategy followed a public consultation.