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More crashes result in serious injury, but death toll down over last year

Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team PICTURE: NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK POLICE

Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team PICTURE: NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK POLICE

Norfolk and Suffolk Police

More people have been seriously hurt on Suffolk roads over the last 12 months 
than in each of the five previous years, according to government figures.

Yet the death toll currently stands at a seven-year low – with 23 lives lost in 12 months to November, compared to 33 by the end of 2017.

The Department for Transport estimated 290 people were severely injured – about one in seven of all 2,061 crashes, compared to about one in eight of 2,139 in 2017.

Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt said the constabulary’s own sums registered a 3% fall in fatal and serious injury crashes up to November 4 – from 224 to 217.

“We’re talking about small numbers against an increase in traffic on the roads,” he added.

“Although fatalities are down, serious injuries were slightly up.”

When measured in 2017, traffic levels were higher than ever – up 7.6% since 2011.

While no obvious reason can be attributed to a fall in deaths and rise in serious injuries, advances in emergency care and changing behaviours could be factors.

“We’re seeing better response times and a difference in where people are taken after an accident,” said Det Insp Hinitt.

“Serious head injury patients are generally taken straight to Addenbrooke’s Hospital – and emergency services now conduct a lot of joint training.

“Fewer people die as a result of not wearing a seatbelt – but you can still drive down any road and see someone using their phone.

“Most people wouldn’t get in a car with someone who’d been drinking. Fewer would feel as comfortable challenging a driver for using their phone.

“Speed is always an issue. We live in a rural county where a lot of single vehicle accidents are caused by speed on country roads.

“We’re also seeing a really high number of positive drug wipes.

“It staggers me that we have to keep putting the same message out – that speed, drink or drug driving, using a mobile phone and not 
wearing a seatbelt are most likely to cause fatal accidents.”

Although road conditions worsen in the winter, when police around the country also crack down on Christmas drink-drivers, Det Insp Hinitt said fatal accidents were no more likely in December.

“There are still people willing to take that risk at Christmas, and we always think ‘please be careful’ when more motorcycles come out in the summer, but there’s no time of year we consider better or worse than any other,” he added.

A flurry of fraudulent bank notes have surfaced in Suffolk, with fraudsters trying to pay for low-value items with fake money.

Suffolk police have charged a man in connection with a burglary at a town centre bed and breakfast.

The rate of unsolved domestic abuse, serious sex offences and robberies is rising across Suffolk – and fewer victims are supporting police investigations.

A man has sustained injuries and another was arrested following an alleged road rage incident between two lorry drivers.

A car was seized for having no valid MOT or insurance after originally being stopped by police for having a defective headlight.

Food will be served at a popular Ipswich pub for the first time after a mother and son duo took over earlier this year.

A new picture of missing person Andrew Derrett has been released in a bid to try and find him.

Charity supporters are donning their Christmas jumpers today for Save the Children, raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to give children a better future.

A policeman who went to the scene of the stabbing of Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens has described it as “the most challenging” he’d ever had to manage.

It’s snow joke - the Met Office has forecast the cold stuff this weekend in Suffolk and north Essex.

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