Lessons in driving safety for Somerset residents

DANGEROUS drivers on the notorious A38 have attended one of the first safety courses this week.

DANGEROUS drivers on the notorious A38 have attended one of the first safety courses this week.

Dubbed the most dangerous road in Somerset, claiming the lives and seriously injuring more than 720 people in the last five years, the A38 is the site of three serious crashes a week, usually involving local people.

In data analysis tests, accident investigators say some of the most dangerous black spots on the road are the Cross crossroads next to The New Inn and the junction with the M5 at Edithmead.

Residents living near the 35-mile stretch of road in the Somerset County Council area, from Shute Shelf in Axbridge to the Devon border, are being offered driver awareness courses in a bid to tackle the alarming number of accidents.

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Somerset Road Safety Partnership accident investigation and prevention manager Terry Beale said: "People will tell you that crashes are caused by bad roads. That is not true, 90 per cent are the result of driver error.

"For this reason driver education has to be a major element in the campaign to reduce the high casualty rates on the A38.

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"The courses are not finger wagging sessions, but friendly discussion groups, designed to give drivers and riders a greater awareness of road safety issues, and so influence their bad behaviour on the road.

"While we are learning to drive, we are a model of concentration, watching the road ahead for potential hazards. Unfortunately, once we pass our test and begin to feel more confident behind the wheel we tend to lose focus and concentration wanders, sometimes with disastrous consequences."

Parish councillors from villages and towns in the area, including Axbridge, Cheddar, Compton Bishop and Weare, were invited to sessions on driver safety in the hopes they will report back to their residents. Courses for members of the public are being organised across the region and the first was held in Bridgwater on Monday.

Anyone wishing to attend a course can call Somerset Road Safety Partnership on 01823 423430.

*Tell us what you think about drivers on the A38 by logging on to www.thewestonmercury.co.uk

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