New report reveals terrible toll of crashes on Norfolk’s roads
The terrible toll on Norfolk’s roads has been laid bare by a new report which provides the most complete picture yet of why so many people have had crashes in the county.
The report reveals that, in a five year spell, more than 13,000 people were hurt on the county’s roads, with 228 of those people losing their lives.
There were 140 children killed or seriously injured in that period - almost half of whom were pedestrians who were hit by vehicles.
The report goes into such depth that it has identified the days on which certain types of road users have been involved in crashes, with the highest proportion of reported killed or seriously injured crashes happening on Fridays and Saturdays.
It also reveals that young, male drivers, are more likely to be involved in a crash on a Saturday and are more likely to be involved in a crash if they come from the more deprived parts of the county.
The study also showed the most common reasons given for road accidents were “failed to look properly” and “loss of control”, followed by “failed to judge other person’s path or speed”.
The most frequently recorded contributory factor for crashes in which people died was “loss of control”.
Traffic bosses say the new report, which hones in on the years 2007 to 2011, will be of vital use in helping prevent further crashes.
They say it will help them to devise specific campaigns to keep people safe on the roads and has already identified a particular need to focus on pedestrians and cyclists as groups at particular risk.
Tim Edmunds, team manager (highways network) at Norfolk County Council, said: “What we have tried to do is to dig under the information that we get from the statistics of how many people have been killed or seriously injured and break it down into who is getting hurt, so we can target ways to keep them safer.
“Historically, the three main groups we would target are young people, older drivers and motorcyclists. But more recently, the new information available to us showed us that there was a group of what we call vulnerable people - such as pedestrians and cyclists - who we needed to be targeting.
“By meshing together the statistics with things like hospital admissions, the days of the week people have been getting hurt and socioeconomic factors we have a more complete picture of who is being hurt.
“That information will help us better target how to prevent them being hurt in the first place.” Mr Edmunds gave an example of how that would work.
He said: “There was an interesting statistic around females of high school age, getting hurt on Fridays in November. There’s a huge spike then.
“That’s when the clocks go back, but it was strange that it was so gender specific. What it means is that, this October, we will be using social media to reach those people and to warn them to make sure they do not find themselves added to those statistics.”
While the number of people being killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads was well down on figures from a decade ago, Mr Edmunds said the past 18 months or so had seen some of the graphs heading in the wrong direction.
And he gave a surprising reason for those increases. He said: “There are lots of factors for that, but I think one of them is that the economy is turning.
“As the economy improves, people become more active and that means they will be out in their vehicles more often. During the recession, the number of young people getting new driving licences dropped and, as the economy grows, there will be more young drivers out on the roads.
“For a rural country like Norfolk there are pressures because people need to use their cars to get around. And with a growing population and the dualling of the A11, with more people likely to be visiting Norfolk, that will add to the pressure.”
The report was put together by Norfolk County Council and brings together statistics from Norfolk police, hospitals, public health, Norfolk Fire and Rescue and the East of England Ambulance Service.
The number of people killed or seriously injured on Suffolk’s roads has significantly decreased over the last 12 years. In 2012 there were 24 fatal, 337 serious, and 2143 slight casualties.
In Norfolk, there were 40 fatal crash location sites in 2013, compared with 70 in 2002.
• What do you think needs to be done to prevent the number of crashes on the region’s roads? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.