Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has pledged to keep a watchful eye over the county’s road safety performance following a higher than normal number of fatalities.
Figures presented to a meeting of the Strategic Governance Board on Monday (July 28) show the number of Killed and Seriously Injured (KSI) casualties on the county’s roads to the end of December 2013 have fallen by 44 to 378 – the lowest-ever recorded by the Force. However, more recent data suggests that at the end of this calendar year, the number of KSIs is likely to increase to 2012-11 levels. This is partly due to a rise in the number of fatalities between January and June, from 12 in 2012-13 to 24 this year.
While the overall rise in KSIs is expected to be small and represents a long-term downward trend in casualties, the performance is being closely monitored to ensure that any trends are identified and actioned.
Motorcycle collisions continue to dominate the KSI statistics, responsible for 89 of the 378 casualties in 2013 (24%). Despite the continued overrepresentation, 2012-13 saw the lowest annual figure of motorcycle KSIs and the overall trend for the past five years is down.
Young motorists also make up a significant proportion of KSIs with 26 of the 101 car driver casualties aged between 17 and 25. Meanwhile, pedal cyclists account for 51 of the casualties recorded and pedestrians 72.
The Force is committed to the delivery of the Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership’s action plan and supports the monthly Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) road safety campaigns. It is also responsible for a wide range of enforcement activity and awareness campaigns across the county to tackle road safety and encourage motorists to abide by the law.
Commissioner Charles said: “Reducing road fatalities and injuries is a huge priority and every hour spent on making our roads safer whether by enforcement, training, education or engineering improvements is worth it if just one less casualty is reported.
“While the picture at the end of December is encouraging, the anticipated increase this year is disappointing. Behind every one of these figures is a family suffering trauma, devastation and loss and robust action is needed to ensure that we continue to save lives.
“We need to respond collectively to this problem and work closely with our partners to target those problem areas which are disproportionately responsible for more collisions and injuries. This means permanently changing driver behaviour by training or by punishment. Research shows that many motorists don’t comprehend the impact their driving has on other road users and we need to challenge this.”
Police in Derbyshire continue to target the ‘Fatal Four’ driving behaviours which contribute to collisions and which can be positively addressed via education and enforcement. These are excess speed, drink/drug driving, no seatbelts and mobile phone use.
Other driver-related contributory factors in the top ten include loss of control, careless, reckless or hurried driving and aggressive driving.
Derbyshire Constabulary currently operates a number of multi-partner road safety initiatives including Operation Safedrive, which involves CREST (Casualty Reduction Enforcement Support Team), HM Revenue and Customs and VOSA. This scheme targets the Fatal Four as well as other offences. Figures for the first quarter of 2014 showed at least one Operation Safedrive took place each week with 391 seatbelt offences and 144 mobile phone offences identified.
Meanwhile, the number of motorists caught speeding in 2013-14 hit 38,985 – a rise of 77%. Of this total, 16,451 motorists completed a speed awareness – an increase of 42.4% on the previous 12 months.
Police forces have found it traditionally difficult to prove mobile phone offences as the use of the mobile needs to be proven – not just the holding of it. However, the Force is considering the possibility of introducing body-worn cameras for some officers to wear in order to video offences taking place, especially motorists who text with their phones on their laps.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Wednesday 30th July 2014