Police concern over road death toll

A SENIOR police officer has said he is “concerned” about the high number of fatal crashes on Suffolk's roads so far this year.

Lizzie Parry

A SENIOR police officer has said he is “concerned” about the high number of fatal crashes on Suffolk's roads so far this year.

Chief Inspector Mike Bacon, from Suffolk's Roads Policing Unit, said speeding, drink driving, using mobile phones while driving and not wearing a seatbelt continued to be a factor in many serious accidents.

And with the onset of the wintery weather he warned there may be a surge in the number of collisions in the next few months if people are not careful.

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Between January 1 and November 2, a total of 35 people died on the county's roads compared with 31 in the whole of 2008.

Thirteen of those were car drivers, five car passengers, 10 motorcyclists, six pedestrians and one was a cyclist.

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Twelve of those killed so far this year have been under 25 years old.

Chief Insp Bacon said: “The increase is concerning, each one of these collisions is a tragedy for the families involved.

“It is important to say although the number of fatalities has risen, the number of serious injury collisions is lower than this time last year, 291 so far compared to 314 over the same period in 2008.”

He explained the role of the Suffolk Road Safety Partnership, working with Suffolk County Council, the safety camera partnership, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, ambulance representatives and the Highways Agency, in working to reduce serious collisions as part of their 'No Excuses' campaign.

Their primary focus revolves around the three E's, enforcement, education and engineering.

He added: “Speed is the main killer whether you are in a car or a pedestrian. If a child is hit at 40 miles an hour they have an 80% chance of dying, at 30 miles per hour a child would have an 80% chance of surviving.”

- Ask yourself - in hazardous driving conditions, is your journey essential?

- Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.

- Make sure you check the condition of your vehicle regularly, check tyres and test your brakes after driving through flooded roads.

- Dazzle from the low winter sun can be dangerous, keep a pair of sunglasses in your car and slow down.

- Stopping distances in wet weather can be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads.

- The rain and spray from vehicles in front can make it difficult to see and be seen, keep well back from the vehicle in front.

- Allow more time for your journey, with additional stops en route in difficult driving conditions.

- Take a fully charged mobile and emergency clothing.

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