Man in 30s is 16th person killed on Suffolk's roads this year
PUBLISHED: 07:30 13 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:57 13 July 2019
Archant Norfolk 2017
Nearly three times as many people have been killed on Suffolk's roads in the first half of 2019 than in the same period last year, it has emerged.
This week a man in his 30s, who died 11 days after a lorry collision on the A143 at Great Barton, became the 16th person to die following a road accident so far this year.
That is nearly as many as were killed in the whole of 2018, and is up from six fatalities recorded by police at this point last year.
Why has the number of deaths increased?
Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt, of Suffolk's roads and armed policing team, said his colleagues have looked back over each collision - and have been unable to identify specific trends or causes.
But he slammed drivers continuing to flout the law by using phones at the wheel or drink and drug driving - branding the latter "prats of the road".
"Last year we had particularly low figures with 18 people dying on the roads.
"And if you look back over the last five years, the deaths this year are around where we would expect them to be," he said.
"Saying that, any death is one too many.
"We are seeing more and more people using their phones - they're now using apps to listen to music, even playing games.
"People are still not using seatbelts, especially delivery drivers who are jumping in and out of their cabs.
"But those idiots, as I call them (drink and drug drivers) are completely irresponsible.
"They are the prats of the road."
'Nobody gets in their car not wanting to come home again'
Det Insp Hinitt also revealed how tough it can be delivering the heartbreaking news of a death to a family.
He added: "Nobody gets in their car not wanting to come home again. Nothing, no phone call, nothing is worth losing your life for and putting your family in that position. Just imagine that knock on the door, and the sight of a police officer with a white hat on and they have got to tell your family member that you have died on the road.
"Imagine if they are told it was because you were on your mobile phone. Think of the pain you will bring your family."
What's the situation in Essex?
In Essex, 15 people died on the county's roads in the first six months of 2019. That compares to 23 deaths in the same period last year.
Inspector Rob Brettell, of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "While these figures are moving in the right direction, one death on our roads is still one too many.
"There are many factors that could lead to someone having a collision such as weather and driver behaviour.
"I'd urge all road users to take steps to ensure they reduce the chance they're involved in a collision such as not being distracted by using your phone, don't get behind the wheel after having a drink or taking drugs, don't drive at excess speed, and always wear your seatbelt.
He added: "We're committed to keeping people safe and continue to carry out proactive operations targeting poor driving.
"Intelligence from the public is really important to help us identify people flouting the rules of the road and I would urge anyone who has any information to call us on 101."
Victims of fatal crashes in 2019
Claydon High School teacher Matthew Jack was among those killed on Suffolk's roads this year.
The 49-year-old was cycling through Creeting St Mary when he was involved in a crash with a Land Rover on Good Friday (April 19).
His family paid tribute to the "outstanding PE teacher" in the days that followed.
Daniel Cole, a young father expecting his second child, died in an accident on the A14 near Newmarket in January.
His family said he "would light up any room with his cheeky smile".
Delcine Allen, from Ipswich, died in a crash on the A14 at Copdock on January 7.
The same day, Richard 'Ricky' Tapp from Melton died in a cycling accident on the B1083 in Sutton.
In Essex, tributes were paid to 21-year-old motorcyclist Jake Wilkinson, who died in a crash in Brock Hill, Runwell, on March 20.
Fellow biker David Norris, 53, died in Utling near Maldon on March 29.
His family described him as a "beloved life partner, stepfather, grandad and friend".