Road safety plea af­ter rise in se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts -

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’

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