Drivers blamed for rising death toll

ACCIDENT experts say the rising death toll on Suffolk's roads is mainly due to driver error.So far 52 people have died as a result of accidents on the county's roads this year – more than the toll for the whole of 2002.

ACCIDENT experts say the rising death toll on Suffolk's roads is mainly due to driver error.

So far 52 people have died as a result of accidents on the county's roads this year – more than the toll for the whole of 2002.

County councillor Peter Monk, portfolio holder for public protection, said the public was too quick to blame other factors instead of taking responsibility for their own safety and the security of other drivers.

He said: "Despite the safety measures the county council takes and the advances in car design, people are still having accidents. Once we get in that excellent vehicle, we seem to think we are safe.

"Speed is the biggest single factor. I have 40 years of motor-racing experience, so I am not against speed, but I know the dangers of speed.

"The onus comes down to the road users – 95 per cent of accidents are due to driver error, which is upsetting for the families who have lost someone who didn't cause an accident. But to really get to the heart of the matter, it is the people."

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Mr Monk said the council was issuing its advice to motorists now to stop the increase in road deaths, which he described as "very concerning", particularly as the last two years had seen a downward trend in the number of deaths.

In the past ten years 500 people have been killed on Suffolk's roads. The highest number of casualties was 58 in 1996 and the lowest 23 in 1998.

Chief Inspector Alan Pawsey of Suffolk police said there had been an "abnormal number" of multiple deaths this year in crashes involving just one car.

He said: "There has been a large spike in the number of fatalities. Regrettable though that is, we have to look at the bigger picture.

"We could say 'Let's go out and do something radical here and change the world', but what it boils down to unfortunately is speed.

"The roads don't claim people's lives. It is people that have done this to each other and to themselves."

Rod Sore, team leader for safety and signals at the county council, said its budget for road casualty reduction – about £2.5million – was being spent on about 60 schemes this year that would save 80 lives and thousands of pounds of police and hospital money.

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