Road safety plea after rise in serious accidents
More people are being killed or seriously injured on Kent’s roads, the latest figures reveal.
There was an 11% increase in the number of severe accidents in 2014 compared to the previous year.
In total, 658 people died or suffered serious injuries last year in crashes on the county’s roads – not including the Medway Towns or motorways – compared to 594 in 2013.
Of those, 49 were fatalities compared to 48 the previous year.
In total, there were 4,618 crashes resulting in 6,303 casualties, of which 609 were serious.
With the exception of Ashford and Dover, the number of accidents in all districts in Kent increased in 2014.
Poor behaviour by the road user – including driving under the influence of drink or drugs, speeding or using mobile phones at the wheel – contributed to 95% of accidents.
The annual figures, released by the Department for Transport, have prompted Kent County Council highways chiefs to urge road users to take more care.
KCC’s cabinet member for environment and transport Matthew Balfour said: “While the long-term trend for killed and seriously-injured crashes is downwards, it is concerning that there has been an increase in the number of killed and seriously-injured casualties in the county.
“These crashes have a lifechanging impact for those involved and their families. Research clearly shows that the vast majority are caused by poor driving or other human factors.”
The report shows accidents involving cars shot up by 309, with more 21-year-old drivers and 18-year-old passengers suffering serious injuries than any other age group.
There was also an increase in crashes involving motorbikes, from 547 in 2013 to 601 in 2014 with a peak in injured teenage riders on bikes with small engines.
Crashes involving goods vehicles bucked the national trend, with serious crashes dropping from 20 to 18 last year.
Accidents involving pedestrians rose by 20 in 2014, with children making up the highest percentage of people hit by vehicles.
Meanwhile collisions involving cyclists also rose, from 441 in 2013 to 480 in 2014.
The report reveals the majority of crashes happen on A-roads in built up areas, but the number of serious accidents in non-built up areas has risen year-on-year since 2012.
Nationwide, the number of serious crashes also rose, going from 23,370 in 2013 to 24,582 last year.
‘Research clearly shows that the vast majority are caused by poor driving or other human factors’