Harlow MP, Robert Halfon has been awarded a Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month Award for his efforts to introduce a 50mph speed limit on a notorious three mile section of the Crooked Mile in Waltham Abbey, by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line.
Robert started his campaign for a lower speed limit and other road safety measures, such as improved signage and better road-markings, in November 2011 following a meeting with constituent Mrs Hurst. Her grandson Leonard Hurst, 27, along with his girlfriend, Natalie Wiggins, 20, was killed in a head-on collision on the Crooked Mile on 26 February 2011 and she wanted to take action to prevent more deaths. In 2011 there were 11 crashes on the notorious stretch of road.
In December 2011 Robert joined forces with local councillors Richard Bassett and Yolanda Knight who supported his calls. He continuously contacted Tracey Chapman, the councillor responsible for Highways at Essex County Council, to urge her to improve safety on the Crooked Mile and contacted the local police to ask them to ensure that road users were not driving at an excessive speed.
On 6 February 2012, after a further three-vehicle crash involving four people earlier in the month, Robert launched an online petition calling on Essex County Council to introduce a lower speed limit and other road safety measures such as improved signage and better road-markings on the Crooked Mile.
350 local residents got behind the campaign and the council responded by agreeing to lower the speed limit on a three mile stretch of the road to 50mph and make additional improvements to signage and road markings.
Robert welcomed the decision, but has publicly stated that it is vital the new limit is rigorously enforced and he will continue to monitor the situation.
Residents can continue to add their name to the petition to show their support for safety improvements on the Crooked Mile.
Robert Halfon MP, said: "I am very grateful to Brake for receiving this award. This has been a long campaign to improve road safety at the Crooked Mile. There have been too many incidents on too many occasions and something needs to be done. I accept this award on behalf of all the road users of the Crooked Mile and for my constituents who have suffered because of the lack of road safety in the area."
Ellen Booth, Brake senior campaigns officer, said: “The Crooked Mile is a deadly stretch of road with a shocking casualty record so it’s excellent news that the Council has decided to act following the hard work of MP Robert Halfon alongside Mrs Hurst, local residents and councillors. It’s vital that the situation is closely monitored to ensure that further measures aren’t needed to prevent crashes and that drivers are reducing speed appropriately. Brake also urges all local drivers to pledge to drive within speed limits at all times to reduce needless and horrifying crashes and casualties.”
Road users can sign the Brake’s Pledge on safe driving on Facebook.
Helpline for people affected by road crashes: 0845 603 8570