Number of deaths on Suffolk roads now at six year high

The A134 at Assington.

The A134 at Assington. - Credit: Archant

This year’s death toll on Suffolk’s roads is now the worst since 2009 after six fatalities in the last 13 days, according to police figures.

The latest tragedy involved a man in his 60s who became the 35th person to die in 2015 after his Skoda Fabia hit a tree on the A134 at Assington, near Sudbury. The crash occurred at 10.10pm on Tuesday.

Between 2010 and 2014 there was an average of 26 road deaths a year. In 2009 there were 42 fatalities. Following Tuesday’s tragedy Suffolk Constabulary stressed the need for people to drive or ride their vehicles with care and pledged to continue to do all it could to ensure road safety.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I’m so very sorry once again to learn of the latest fatality on Suffolk’s roads and of course my first thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the bereaved.

“I understand the level of fatalities is now the worst for six years and whilst I don’t know the details of the latest tragedy I will be asking the constabulary’s serious collision investigation team to see if there are any lessons to be learned which will help improve road safety for all users in the county.

“At this stage I can only repeat my message to everyone to drive carefully and ensure vehicles are properly maintained.

“The responsibility for better driving lies with the individual and this needs to be backed up by enforcement by Suffolk police.

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“Extra investment is already under way in roads policing with the new motorcycle unit launched last week.

“I really want to reassure every road user in the county that we are completely committed to do whatever we can to try and help reduce the numbers of fatalities and injuries on our roads – it is an absolute priority.”

Inspector Julian Ditcham, of the roads policing unit, said: “To lose a loved one as a result of a road traffic collision in whatever circumstances is devastating.

“It is one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can go through.”

He added that officers were stopping motorists on a daily basis for using their mobile phones at the wheel, for failing to wear seatbelts, for drink or drug driving and for speeding.

Insp Ditcham also said a roads casualty reduction team is in operation to educate drivers and motorcycle riders about road safety, and multi-agency vehicle checks take place on a regular basis.

He stressed all drivers should ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and drive appropriately for the conditions.

This includes defrosting all the windows of their vehicles during winter months.

November has been a particularly bleak month with the deaths of 25-year-old Rowan Draper, from Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, and another person, when their car burst into flames in Frostenden, near Halesworth, early on November 12.

Police have not released their identities as formal identification has yet to take place, although Mr Draper’s family has issued a tribute.

Later the same day David Cook, 46, of Leiston, died when his van crashed into The Crown Inn in Snape.

Three days later Norwich couple Oliver Appleby and Sarah Delf also lost their lives. They were on the A140 at Yaxley when their car was involved in a collision with a lorry at around 8.30pm.

The double tragedies came four months after retired teacher William John Dyal, 77, his wife, 75-year-old Helen, from Ely, and 24-year-old Matthew Grant and 28-year-old Chris Merchant, both from Mildenhall, died in a head-on collision in Worlington on July 17.

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