Sharp increase in fatal road crashes in Suffolk in last three months
- Credit: Archant
There have been almost as many fatal collisions in Suffolk this year compared to the whole of 2020, new figures reveal.
Road safety figures showed Suffolk recorded the fewest road deaths of anywhere in the country outside the City of London last year, while also recording the eighth lowest number of overall casualties last year.
Department for Transport figures showed that there were 12 fatalities and 1,273 casualties of all severity on Suffolk's roads in 2020, compared to 25 fatalities and 1,925 casualties the previous year.
Police welcomed the news as a positive reflection of driving behaviour and efforts to enhance road safety - but warned that 2021 had already seen 10 fatal collisions on Suffolk's road, including seven since the 'stay at home' rule was lifted at the end of March.
Sergeant Barry Abbott, from Suffolk's serious collision investigation unit, said numbers had been coming down prior to Covid – partly due to vehicles being safer, advances in medical care, and the proactive work of officers covering Suffolk's road network.
"As the roads get busier, we all need to think about focusing on our driving skills," added Sgt Abbott, who said the 'fatal four' main factors in deadly collisions – speed, drink and drug-driving, not wearing a seatbelt and mobile phone use – were still as relevant as ever.
"As the country opens back up, we've seen an increase in things like drink-driving, but we're fortunate that the majority of people abide by the law, and we should pay tribute to that," he added.
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"It's not only safety and medical advancements, but people are also doing their bit."
Latest constabulary figures showed that bicycles were involved in 19% (46) of collisions in which someone was killed or seriously injured in 2020/21, compared to 14% the previous year.
In 2020, Suffolk and Norfolk police ran eight 'Close Pass' events, involving officers in plain clothes on pedal cycles with video equipment, to target motorists failing to allow sufficient room.
Sgt Abbott said: "Sales of bikes have gone through the roof in the last year and they remain as vulnerable as ever.
"Although cyclists make up a small proportion of road users, they are involved in a far too high proportion of collisions."