SHOCKING figures have been gathered showing the human and financial cost of accidents on South East Cornwall’s main road.
In the five years between 2018 and 2022 there were 196 collisions on the A38 between Bodmin and Saltash. Nine people lost their lives, and 203 people suffered injuries, 56 of those serious.
Now, in a bid to see action taken to improve safety, a local councillor is collecting further data.
Cllr Armand Toms knows that every accident is one too many for the families and individuals who suffer huge personal losses: now he is setting out to prove the case that the cost of each accident to the economy would in itself justify spending the money on upgrades to the A38.
Cllr Toms has been working with the Police Road Safety Project team Vision Zero to understand the costs to the emergency services and to the local economy when a collision occurs.
Each fatal crash brings a financial cost of more than £2.3-million, he says: each collision involving serious injuries a cost of more than £270,000, and even the more minor accidents cost tens of thousands of pounds.
The costs to the economy are calculated based upon the loss of working time, both of those involved in the accident and those waiting in queuing traffic.
Cllr Toms has calculated that the yearly cost of accidents on the A38 in South East Cornwall between 2018 and 2022 was more than £7.4-million – and that the total for the five year period was £32.2-million.
“It’s a staggering amount of time and money for this road,” he said.
“There has been another accident at the Menheniot junction this month and a driver with a head injury.
“When you think about the £14-million for a bridge to take out the Lean Quarry turning and the Menheniot turning it starts to makes sense.
“When you think how many millions of cars use this section of road and the impact on the safety of driver and passengers - this road needs to be prioritised.
“Every accident causes a delay which impacts on all of us that live in South East Cornwall.”
The Looe councillor is drafting a report to take to Cornwall Council’s cabinet which he hopes will persuade council leaders to back a three-part scheme to dual the A38, and to press Government for the investment needed.
Pressure group Safe38 was formed to campaign for safety measures on the A38 and to keep this issue in the public eye.
Its chairman James Millidge said: “Safe38 are delighted that our Cornwall Councillors are pushing for long term investment in the A38 in SE Cornwall.
“This road has for too long been overlooked while the A30 has seen large scale infrastructure improvements along its length. It is high time the strategic importance of the A38 for the whole of the Southwest is fully understood by Cornwall Council and National Highways.
“In the short term we need average speed cameras to help improve driver behaviour and reduce the most serious of incidents. However only a high quality dual carriageway will solve the myriad of deficiencies with this road.
“This would leave behind the current single carriageway sections to be used as local access roads for buses, cyclist pedestrians and local traffic providing SE Cornwall with an integrated transport network.
“The A38 has a well above average ‘Killed and Seriously Injured’ rate. There are severance issues at Tideford and Landrake, toxic air quality issues at Tideford, a low bridge at Trerulefoot, regular flooding at Notter, a road that is over capacity on its single carriageway sections, unsafe junctions at Menheniot, Looe and Bodmin Parkway to name but a few.
“It is an economic barrier to growth and we need investment in it that will save lives and secure livelihoods for generations to come.”