Road safety campaigner speaks out following death of Leicester student on the A47 at Thorney Toll

16:46 04 August 2014

Sukhdeep Singh Johal

Sukhdeep Singh Johal

Archant

A Fenland campaigner has spoken out about road safety after a woman was jailed for six years for texting and calling on two phones moments before causing a crash which killed a 27 year old student on the A47 at Thorney Toll.

Marina Usaceva, 31, of Peterborough, was driving a green Jaguar X-Type between Peterborough and Wisbech on March 15 last year, when she crashed into the back of a Peugeot 206.

The shunt pushed the Peugeot into the path of an oncoming Tesco articulated lorry – killing the driver, Sukhdeep Singh Johal, of Leicester.

Graham Chappell, campaign organiser for the Fenland Road Safety Campaign (Charlotte’s Way), said it was a terrible tragedy of driver distraction and added that that stretch of road had concerned local residents for years who have been pressing for a lower speed limit in a campaign backed by local MP Steve Barclay.

He said : “The death of Sukhdeep Singh Johal, in this A47 collision, was an awful tragedy for his family and loved ones, and all concerned, and a terrible confirmation of the dangers of driver distraction.

“The cause of this fatality may not have been primarily speed related, but it highlighted, once again, the additional risks experienced by those trying to access homes and services on this stretch of road.

“It is regrettable that the responsible UK Highways department, continues to respond dismissively to calls from local residents for the speed limit to be reduced from 60mph, at least to 50mph, to better reflect the additional care required for safe passage on this part of the A47.

Elsewhere on this road, notably between Peterborough and Leicester, at every similar location where the road passes through a clusters of homes and other services, a lower speed limit applies.”

Mr Chappell said that the Highways Agency responded by saying that the A47 between New Cut roundabout (near Thorney) and Guyhirn has an injury collision rate below that of the national average for roads of similar character and shows a decreasing trend.

But Mr Chappell said: “This does not address the particular issues and accident/collision history specific to Thorney Toll, and additionally, given that the national trend over the past 10 years has seen a very significant reduction in serious injury accident rates and a halving of the fatal RTA rates for the country as a whole, it would not be a surprise if the accident rate on this stretch of the A47, has also been reduced, but by how much in relation to the national trend?

“It is a ‘zero tolerance’ approach that has led the trend in the developed world towards progressive improvement in road safety outcomes.

“There remains no room for the kind of complacency implied by this statement from the local branch of the UK Highways Agency, which, by the way, was responsible for estimating the cost of installing a simple ‘Village Hall’ sign, for Thorney Toll, at £30,000.”

A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “Safety is a top priority for the Highways Agency. We are currently looking into the accident data for this stretch of road and assessing whether there is any work which can be done to improve the situation.

“There is a safety camera along the A47 at Thorney Toll, which is enforced by the police. The A47 between Peterborough and Leicester is not part of our road network.

“We’re happy to discuss any representations made by local residents and campaigners.”ENDS

1 comment

  • This is a terribly tragic story but in my opinion lowering the speed limit would not have made a difference. In fact many drivers see the speed camera & slow down to around 50mph in any case. It just illustrates how distracting mobile phones can be & how people believe that 'just driving' is a simple, mundane task which doesn't require full attention. Phones have such a 'pull' now -how many times do you see cyclists busy on them while negotiating past pedestrians on the path? People don't seem to be able to do 'just one thing' any more, with such tragic consequences.

    Report this comment

    lincslass

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

More news stories

2013: Fields End Water Doddington, new deluxe self catering lodges. official opening by Steve Barclay MP. The site's owners say they will use profits from a housing development to fund the park's expansion.

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay has thrown his weight behind a businessman’s proposal to build 10 homes that planners say will result in “an incremental erosion of the countryside”.

17:13
Darcie Tegerdine had her head shaved to raised funds for charity.

A community-minded cadet from Whittlesey who went as far as having her head shaved for charity has picked up a prestigious award.

16:45
Breathalyser.

Revellers may be forced to take a breath test to get into pubs and nightclubs as part of a pilot scheme to combat binge drinking.

16:22
Bonnets and bunny egg-stravaganza parade at Park Lane Primary School, Whittlesey.Picture: Steve Williams.

Pupils donned their most spectacular headwear for their school’s Easter bonnet parade.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Cambs Times e-edition today E-edition