Road users are being reminded of the importance of road safety following the release of the latest figures for fatalities on Somerset’s roads.
The statistics for 2016 from Somerset Road Safety show that 25 people were killed in 23 fatal collisions on the county’s roads last year.
This was an increase by three fatal casualties from the 2015 figure of 22, although fewer than in previous years and lower than the targets set by Somerset County Council as part of its long-term aim for a sustained reduction in casualties.
The Council’s road safety team receives reports following any injury accidents recorded by the police and carries out its own research to identify trends and look for ways to improve safety across Somerset’s 4,000 miles of roads.
This data is also used to compile the comprehensive annual Road Casualty Review which will be published later in the year. However, the initial findings for fatalities are released now to raise awareness.
In 2016, eight of the deaths were on urban roads, 14 were on rural roads with the remaining three on trunk roads (the M5, A303 or A36) which are also classed as rural.
Further analysis shows that 70 per cent of the fatal collisions involved cars, 13 per cent motorcycles, 13 per cent pedestrians and 4 per cent HGVs. Of the casualties, 64 per cent were drivers, 24 per cent passengers and 12 per cent were pedestrians.
In terms of ages, 44 per cent of the casualties were over the age of 59, 16 per cent were between 40 and 59, 20 per cent 25 to 39, 16 per cent in the 16 to 24 age group, and one casualty was younger than 16 years old (4 per cent).
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Road Safety, said “Publishing these figures each year helps raise awareness of road safety and really emphasises how important it is that we all think carefully about our actions during every journey.
“While the general trend in recent years has been for fewer people killed on our roads, the fact that three more people died in 2016 than in 2015 is a cause for concern.
“We will be looking carefully at the data in detail to identify if there are areas where we can carry out work to improve safety – be that through education or by physical measures on our roads.
“We work with many partners who also aim to reduce the dreadful toll of people who are killed and injured in collisions on our roads and will continue our efforts to improve safety in 2017 and beyond.”
Using latest Department for Transport figures, the 23 fatal collisions are estimated to have cost more than £46 million* in damage and lost output, not including the emotional impact of the irreplaceable loss of a family member.
Somerset Road Safety provides advice to thousands of people every year through educational events and also runs Bikeability courses for school children and trains School Crossing Patrols. The team also supports companies through the Mind Your Business programme and has more than 2,400 subscribers through Facebook and Twitter, generating an average in excess of 7,000 impressions each week. Please visit www.somersetroadsafety.org for more details.
The Council’s Small Improvement Schemes programme helps to resolve community concerns and road safety problems by providing engineering solutions at priority sites. For more information, please visit www.trafficchoices.co.uk/somerset.
The Government’s THINK! road safety campaign has a designated programme to improve safety on country roads, which is backed by Somerset County Council. Further details are available at http://think.direct.gov.uk/country-roads.html
Fatal crash statistics year by year:
2012: 27 collisions, 35 casualties
2013: 28 collisions, 28 casualties
2014: 32 collisions, 33 casualties
2015: 22 collisions, 22 casualties
2016: 23 collisions 25 casualties