Drive to keep death off county's roads

TODAY is the day we need to come together to help save lives on our county's roads.

Naomi Cassidy

TODAY is the day we need to come together to help save lives on our county's roads.

As the numbers of people killed or seriously injured in road crashes show a sharp rise, The Evening Star, together with Suffolk County Council and the other vital agencies in the county, are taking action.

An intensive ten-week campaign called Save A Life is being launched focusing on four core areas to tackle; speeding, using mobile phones, drink and drug driving, and not wearing seatbelts.

Since the beginning of the month, there has been a noticeable increase in police officers out on our streets in all the county's major towns, including Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, to ensure the culprits are caught.

The latest statistics already show staggering results, with an incredible 514 people getting fixed penalty notices for not wearing a seat belt.

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Figures show that last year at least five people involved in fatal crashes would have survived if they had been wearing seat belts.

Nigel Pickover, editor of The Evening Star, said: “The reason we are backing this wholeheartedly is because if this Autumn the community through the Evening Star, other media and the fantastic efforts of the Roadsafe team, including Suffolk Constabulary, can save just one life, then everything we are doing would be worthwhile.

“There has been great success in saving lives in the past but we should not stand idly by because statistics have a habit of running away with themselves.

“We want to make Suffolk's roads the safest in the whole of the country.”

Guy McGregor, chairman of the Suffolk Roadsafe Partnership Board and portfolio holder for Environment and Transport at SCC, said: “The county council is putting up the money to enable the police to carry out this work.

“We were concerned that the numbers of those killed or seriously injured in accidents were showing an unacceptable wrong turning.

“Roadsafe took the view that we needed to take immediate action and reinforce the message about road safety.

“Any death on the road has a traumatic effect on relatives and friends. There is also the fact that each fatality costs taxpayers about £1million.

“We were also increasingly concerned about the number of accidents involving motorbikes. The whole aim is to make our roads safer.”

Deputy Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer, vice chairman of the Suffolk Roadsafe Board, said: “These are extremely worrying statistics and we are concerned that many road users are not taking traffic offences seriously enough.

“Too many lives are being needlessly shattered and wasted so we are getting tough on offenders. If you break the law and risk lives then we'll catch you.”

- This map has been produced to show the top ten worst collision spots in the county. The rankings are based on the number of accidents which took place between July 2007 and July 2008.

It is more heavily weighted depending on the numbers of fatal or serious crashes.

The worst collision site is the A12, which has seen three deaths and 19 people suffering serious injuries, during that period.

Despite the busy route of the A140, it was just knocked off the top ten list.

- Have you or a family member been a victim of a serious road crash? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail