Norwich motorists urged to take care on the roads this Christmas
A plea has been issued to motorists to take care and stay safe this Christmas and New Year after a rise in the number of deaths on Norfolk's roads.
Figures released by Norfolk Constabulary show there were 42 deaths on the county's roads between January 1, 2011 and December 12, 2011, compared to 37 in the same period last year.
The figures, which also show a decrease in those seriously injured from 302 in 2010 to 295 this year prompted calls from police and road safety chiefs for people to take care as thousands prepare to hit the road for the Christmas getaway.
Inspector David Ball, of Norfolk Road policing, said: 'Norfolk remains a safe county but only because the majority of drivers take care. My message would be to recognise the responsibility that comes with driving and make sure you're safe to do so. Make sure the vehicle is properly maintained and keep your attention on what you're doing at all times.'
Insp Ball said some fatal or serious crashes were down to just 'sheer misfortune' but reiterated the point that everyone needs to do all they can to drive safely.
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He added: 'Remember to stick to speed limits, keep your distance from other vehicles and be patient in slow traffic.'
There has been a recent spate of deaths on the roads, with three people being killed last weekend alone.
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Iain Temperton, chairman of the Think!Norfolk partnership, a multi-agency organisation which works to try and reduce road deaths in the county, said the onus was on road users themselves.
He said: 'We all have a responsibility to use the road as safely as we can and that means giving it a bit of thought. Every death or injury on the road is avoidable and that's the biggest tragedy of all. With the right amount of planning and right amount of thought is doesn't have to happen. If it's going to take you four hours it will take four hours. There's no point in trying to rush it to get there any quicker that's when it all goes wrong.'
Mr Temperton said people could take simple steps to ensure they remained safe on the roads this festive period, adding: 'Make sure the vehicle is ready for the journey but just as important is making sure the driver is too and make sure you're not tired and there's no alcohol in the system after the office party the night before.'
For more information about the work of the Think!Norfolk partnership or for road safety advice log onto www.think.norfolk.gov.uk