New safety call after latest fatal crash

ROAD safety campaigners said last night the number of fatalities on Suffolk's roads this year was "unacceptable".

John Howard

ROAD safety campaigners said last night the number of fatalities on Suffolk's roads this year - now up to 11 - was “unacceptable”.

National road safety charity Brake called for a number of measures to stop the rising tide of deaths on Britain's roads.

The latest accident in Suffolk happened at Stonham Aspal, near Stowmarket, just before 10.30pm on Wednesday and involved a BMW and Ford Fusion.

The Ford driver, who is believed to be in his 40s and who did not live locally, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the BMW estate, who lives in the area, was taken to Ipswich Hospital with leg injuries, and emergency services said he was undergoing surgery yesterday. His condition is described as serious but stable.

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Suffolk police said there had now been 11 deaths on the county's roads this year - involving five drivers or passengers in cars, three pedestrians and three cyclists or motorbike riders.

During the same period last year, there were 13 deaths on the county's roads, and in the same period in 2006 there were 12 fatalities. Overall there were 39 people killed on the county's roads in 2007, and 47 in 2006.

Rachel Burr, a campaigns officer with Brake, said: “Even one death is one too many and 11 deaths in the space of a few months is an absolute tragedy.

“The number of deaths on our roads is unacceptable and too high. We would like to see the Government putting more effort and more funding into preventing these terrible tragedies.

“We would like to see more road traffic police on our roads so people do not speed, and better education for drivers. The drink-drive limit could be reduced.

“Road safety education in schools is an absolute must but it is not compulsory. By the time youngsters hit the road as drivers, they should understand the risks they are facing.”

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said: “Every death on a road in Suffolk is a tragedy for the friends and family involved.

“There have been particularly severe weather conditions and the numbers, thank goodness, are relatively low. But they are not acceptable.

“Our efforts will remain high on the financing of improvements on the roads and education process, particularly in terms of speeding.”

A spokeswoman from The Department for Transport said: “This year we are spending around £16m on our highly successful THINK! road safety education campaigns and in recent years we have increased the penalties for drink driving and make it easier for the police to catch and prosecute offenders, while the number of dedicated traffic officers has risen.”

N Suffolk police are appealing for any witnesses to the fatal road accident on the A1120 at Stonham Aspal to contact Pc Jerry Abigail on 01473 613500.

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