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More people being killed on Northumberland’s roads

Deaths on roads in Northumberland are increasing.
Deaths on roads in Northumberland are increasing.

More people are being killed or seriously injured in road accidents in Northumberland, despite a drop in road casualties.

Department for Transport data shows 12 people were killed and 157 people seriously injured on Northumberland’s roads in 2017.

In nine of those accidents, children were taken to hospital.

The overall figure for people killed and seriously injured has increased from 155, the yearly average from 2010 to 2014, to 169 last year.

The DfT uses the yearly average to measure change over time.

But this is despite the number of road casualties in Northumberland, which includes minor injuries, decreasing by 32 per cent over that time, to 755.

The data includes any injury sustained with a vehicle on the road – the injuries do not have to involve cars – with patients taken to hospital classified as a serious injury.

Broadly, the number of injuries on the road has been decreasing across England as car technology improves.

However, while there are fewer accidents, there are more severe injuries.

The number of people killed or seriously injured in accidents increased by 12 per cent over the time period.

RAC road safety spokesman, Pete Williams, said: “This new data makes for sobering reading – there has now been no substantial reduction in fatalities since 2010, with the numbers killed on the roads remaining stubbornly high.

“It also remains the case that casualties among some vulnerable road user groups, specifically pedestrians and motorcyclists, are rising, which is a concern.”

In Northumberland, three pedestrians were killed. Of those seriously injured, 19 were pedestrians, 13 were cyclists and 33 were riding motorbikes.

Mr Williams added: “Speed limit compliance also remains a real problem, with more than half of vehicles recorded speeding on 30mph roads and nearly one in five drivers travelling at 30mph or more in a 20mph zone.

“With traffic levels rising, and people’s dependency on the car also increasing, a shift in focus is needed at both national and local levels to begin to tackle the problem.

“On a day-to-day basis, it is every driver’s responsibility to ensure they are driving safely by not breaking speed limits and reducing distractions in their vehicles so their attention remains firmly on the road.”

Northumberland’s casualty rate is greater than the North East’s average but lower than the England casualty rate.

The road safety charity Brake called on the Government to lower speed limits.

A spokesman said: “Our most vulnerable road users, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, remain at dangerously high risk on our roads, paying the price for the dominance of the car in our lives.

“Pedestrian deaths increased to their highest level this decade whilst motorcyclists now account for nearly a fifth of all road deaths, despite their small numbers.

“The Government must invest in active travel to give people safe and healthy ways to get around and focus on improving the safety of our roads – starting with lower speed limits.”