Urgent talks over US safety

URGENT action has been demanded by road safety chiefs after it emerged that 15 American servicemen had died on Suffolk's roads since 2003 - during which time just one airman based in the county has been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

URGENT action has been demanded by road safety chiefs after it emerged that 15 American servicemen had died on Suffolk's roads since 2003 - during which time just one airman based in the county has been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The shocking statistic came to light in the wake of the death of 23-year-old Jacob Butler, who died in a collision on the A1095 near Reydon on Tuesday.

The senior airman was assigned to the 48th Component Maintenance Squadron based at RAF Lakenheath and is the 15th member of the American military to die in a Suffolk road crash since 2003.

Just one Suffolk-based airman - 22-year-old Airman 1st Class Jason Nathan, from RAF Lakenheath - has died on operational duty in Afghanistan or Iraq during the same time period.

A spokeswoman for RAF Mildenhall said: “Obviously vehicle safety and safety in general are a huge concern for us. We have a robust training programme but unfortunately these types of incidents still occur.” Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's road transport portfolio holder, said extensive discussions were under way between the US airbases and the county council over road safety training.

Mr McGregor said: “We believe there's some assistance we can give to the American personnel. None of us wants to see lives being lost on our roads.”