Rising road deaths a ‘very great worry’

Flowers at the scene of the fatal accident involving a motorcyclist on the B1115 between Hitcham and

Flowers at the scene of the fatal accident involving a motorcyclist on the B1115 between Hitcham and Little Finborough on Friday evening. Photo: EADT - Credit: Archant

Senior police officers in Suffolk are to look again at how to improve road safety as the number of fatal collisions in the county continues to rise.

A male motorcyclist was declared dead at the scene of a two-vehicle crash with a car on the B1115 between Hitcham and Little Finborough, near Stowmarket, on Friday – the 18th fatality this year.

In 2014 there were 30 deaths on Suffolk’s roads – an increase from the 25 that died in 2013.

Speaking at the weekend Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, insisted work is taking place to implement more safety measures.

He also called for action to try to reduce the danger on Suffolk’s roads, with a meeting between himself and the head of road policing in the county Chief Inspector Chris Spinks due to take place in the near future.

Mr Passmore added: “I am very concerned about this rise. I know there can be statistical anomalies, but the fact that the number of deaths increased last year and are on course to rise again this year is a matter for very great worry.

“I don’t have any firm answers myself. We need to look at the accidents to see if there is any pattern – and then to take appropriate action.”

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Mr Passmore said a new team of motorcycle-based traffic officers was being formed which should help to enforce speed limits on roads where it was not possible to place speed enforcement vans. Across the country there has been a significant fall in the number of fatalities on Britain’s roads over the years.

Between 2000 and 2013 the number of road fatalities in the country fell by 50% – there were occasional years with an upward “blip” but overall the trend came down.

In Suffolk the year with the lowest number of recorded fatalities was 2010 when 20 people died in road accidents. The following year the number leapt to 30.

By comparison, in the late 1970s and early 1980s there were regularly 70 or 80 road deaths a year – with fewer vehicles on the roads.

Changes to legislation, including compulsory seat belts and the unacceptability of drink-driving are credited with helping to cut these figures.

And while the spate of accidents recently has thrust the spotlight on to road safety, last year the number of fatal accidents reached 26 in August and then tailed off during the autumn and winter.