Concern over safety of Essex roads after string of serious crashes in December

Essex Police casualty reduction manager Adam Pipe.

Essex Police casualty reduction manager Adam Pipe. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

The number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) is causing major concern to those working to reduce accidents.

From April 1 to November 30 this year there have been 502 people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads, slightly below the 504 last year.

However there have been a number of serious accidents in December which has taken this year’s figure beyond that of the previous year.

These include a fatal crash in Kirby Cross, a serious accident on the A120 and collision in Broomfield which left a man with life-threatening injuries.

Essex Police, along with its partners in the Essex Casualty Reduction Board, is working to both educate motorists and catch those who break the law,

Adam Pipe, casualty reducation manager for Essex Police, said: “There are some real areas of concern.

“We are not the only force noticing a rise, and nationally in the first half of the year there has been a 4% rise in people seriously injured and a 3% increase in those killed.

“These are worries I have not seen for a long time.

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“Where previously we would have a week or two of incidents, and then it goes back down, we are now seeing a sustained period of KSIs and that is very worrying.

“We are trying everything to address that, with a significant level of enforcement in the right areas at the right time and to educate drivers as well working with our partners.

“We want safer roads – it is why we turn up to work every day.

“People are failing to respect all road users and appear to think they have a God-given right to use the road in any way they like.

“What we see is a lot of aggression. But it is about showing respect to other road users, respect to the law and in some ways taking a deep breath.

“People can apply pressure to friends, family and work colleagues and ask them to take a good look at themselves.

“It is the simple things that can cause and prevent accidents.”

In 2014 there have been 149 KSIs involving motorbikes, compared to 121 last year, while there has been an improvement on the number of cyclists hurt with 61 compared to 76 in 2013.

“Motorcycles are without doubt the big issue for us this year,” Mr Pipe said.

“It is not so much at weekends, but mid-week commuter riders. We have had a very dry start and end to the year which has extended the motorcycle season.

“There have been four incidents where young secondary school age boys using mobile phones have stepped out into the road and being hit in the last two months.

“A significant number of vehicles have failed to stop at the scene of the collision – they are small numbers but disturbing.

“There are also worrying issues around older drivers where they are at fault – they are perhaps failing to judge the path or speed of oncoming vehicles, particularly in the evening.

“We are trying to engage with the older community to look at how they can address their behaviour and maybe have that difficult conversation about whether they should give up their licence.”

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