Councillor John Taylor, who served with Greater Manchester Police for three decades is calling for a clampdown on dangerous driving on Rochdale’s roads. He says there has been a ‘shift in attitude’ among motorists that urgently needs to be addressed.
Councillor Taylor moved a motion at the latest full council meeting in which he proposed the forming of a new group, made up of councillors, police and other ‘stakeholders’ to tackle the issue.
The motion states that there has been a 'marked deterioration in the standard of driving, particularly in the evenings, where instances of dangerous driving and excessive speed have been commonplace.
“This is an issue across the whole borough, and it is of serious and increasing concern to our communities. The dangerous use of our highways is now so prevalent it has morphed from anti-social behaviour to a serious road safety issue.'
Councillor Taylor says that since he was elected as Wardle and West Littleborough in May -and for 18 months campaigning before that – road safety has been ‘the biggest topic of concern’ among residents he has spoken to.
He said: “Driving standards have deteriorated, not just in my ward but across the borough and no doubt far beyond that. When I raised that there were ward councillors saying ‘it’s the same in my ward’, there have been letters in the press and it’s in the news – it’s a widespread issue, and something that needs addressing. I believe that the problem is not fully appreciated as it can often go unreported and unrecorded. We do get quite a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who see things and hear cars in the night that sound like they’re speeding along the roads. Much of that goes unrecorded.”
Councillor Taylor, who began and ended his police career in Rochdale, does not believe cuts to the force he served for three decades are behind the rise in poor or dangerous driving.
“There’s been a change, a shift in attitude towards it, that’s what I think and it needs pulling back again. I was a police officer for 30 years and we never had a police officer at every street corner and every set of lights, this is something that’s more a change in attitude.”
Councillor Taylor is hopeful that his motion, which received cross-party support, could bring about improvements on the borough’s highways.
Councillor Taylor added: “I think it can help and I think that can be the vehicle to actually find solutions, what we need to do is embed a response to this into the fabric of everything that takes place. I think there’s a role for the council, a role for the police – there’s a role for everybody in society to make sure they are acting responsibly. There’s a role for parents to make sure their children are driving responsibly, and everyone is aware of the dangers. There’s a role for everybody.”