Shock tactics in bid to cut road deaths

A HARD-hitting campaign has been launched in the run-up to Christmas to stem the rising number of deaths on the county's roads.Two fatalities last week saw the death toll from road accidents rise to 43 this year - seven more than in the whole of last year - and council bosses fear more lives could be lost with the festive season traditionally bringing a rise in the number of crashes.

A HARD-hitting campaign has been launched in the run-up to Christmas to stem the rising number of deaths on the county's roads.

Two fatalities last week saw the death toll from road accidents rise to 43 this year - seven more than in the whole of last year - and council bosses fear more lives could be lost with the festive season traditionally bringing a rise in the number of crashes.

They said they wanted to “shock” people into realising how their bad driving habits could have fatal consequences.

On Saturday, firefighters staged a recreation of a serious accident scene in a town centre to demonstrate to Christmas shoppers the trauma of a road crash.


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Hundreds of people watched on Market Hill, Sudbury, as crews from the town cut a man free from a car that had “crashed” and rolled on to its side.

Guy McGregor, county council portfolio holder for roads and transport, said: “Reducing the number of people killed and injured on our roads is a huge challenge for us.

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“These types of reconstruction displays are so important - we are trying to shock people to change the way they behave while driving.

“Christmas is the time of the year associated with good cheer, but unfortunately it is also the time of the year associated with road accidents.”

John Bromley, sub-officer at Sudbury Fire Station, said road crashes now took up a large part of the fire service's work.

“There have been too many deaths on the county's roads this year,” he said. “In Sudbury last year there were five fatal accidents in the lead up to Christmas - we don't want to see that happen again this year.”

Karl Rolfe, assistant divisional officer, who was overseeing the reconstruction, said: “You are 20 times more likely to die in a road traffic collision than in a house fire - and 70 times more likely to need us to cut you out of a car than rescue you from a house fire.”

Paramedic Alan Gaythorpe, who was involved in the “rescue”, said he blamed the deaths on drivers becoming too comfortable in their cars when they should be alert on the roads.

“People get comfortable in their nice warm vehicles with the radio on - they relax when they should be concentrating on what they are doing. It is important to get the message across to people that they should concentrate.”

Joanna Spicer, portfolio holder for public protection at the county council, said the “hard-hitting” road safety campaign included an initiative focussing on “the three Es” - enforcement, engineering and education - which is a partnership between the police, the Highways Agency and the fire service.

Further initiatives will include working alongside police in their annual festive drink-drive campaign, and educating young people through road safety events with titles such as Live and Learn and Road Kill.

The number of fatal accidents in the county this year has already sparked an inquiry from Suffolk Police Authority.

Last week, two motorcyclists were killed on Suffolk roads. On Tuesday, David Berry, 48, died when his machine was in collision with a Ford Fiesta in Trimley St Martin, near Felixstowe.

Two days later, Martin Armour, 41, from Norwich, was killed when his Triumph motorcycle was involved in a collision with a double-decker bus on the A144 between Bungay and Halesworth.

Police are appealing for witnesses to Thursday's accident and anyone with information should call Pc Sharon Taylor on 01986 835350.

lorraine.price@eadt.co.uk

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