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Bad drivers main cause of crashes on Norfolk’s roads, figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 10:49 14 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 14 October 2018

One of the crashes on Norfolk's roads. Photo: Norwich Police

One of the crashes on Norfolk's roads. Photo: Norwich Police

Norwich Police

Bad drivers, rather than poor road surfaces or the weather, is to blame for the bulk of crashes on Norfolk’s roads, according to newly-published figures.

Drivers and riders using mobile phones is an increasing factor in crashes, prompting a police inspector to say that needs to become as socially unacceptable as being driven by a drunk driver.

Drivers or riders not looking properly contributed to 568 accidents in Norfolk and 481 in Suffolk last year, while the second most common factor was failing to judge another vehicle’s speed, which occurred in 327 crashes in Norfolk and 226 in Suffolk.

Figures were drawn from Department for Transport data, where police can list one or more of 78 different factors for crashes, where at least one person is hurt.

In Norfolk, crashes where the driver or rider was impaired by alcohol climbed to its highest tally in five years, from 55 occasions in 2016 to 79 last year. Impairment due to drugs, was recorded a record 32 times last year.

Inspector Chris Hinitt, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team: Pic: Norfolk and Suffolk Police.Inspector Chris Hinitt, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team: Pic: Norfolk and Suffolk Police.

Use of mobile phones was a contributory factor in 18 crashes, the highest number in five years, while distractions in vehicles were a cause in 67 crashes.

Poor road surfaces contributed to just four accidents, while slippery roads to 181 crashes.

Breaking speed limits was a factor in 98 crashes, up from the 75 the previous year, while travelling too fast for conditions contributed to 109 crashes, up from 86 in 2016.

Insp Chris Hinitt, from Norfolk and Suffolk police’s roads and armed policing team, said: “What I’d say to anyone using the roads, is that when you set off, the only thing you should be thinking about is the safety of yourself and of other road users, and that’s whether in a vehicle or on foot.

“If people got that in their heads, that it’s about getting somewhere safely, not as quickly as they can, that would reduce the number of accidents.”

Insp Hinitt said it was disappointing messages from the Fatal 4 campaign - over speeding, mobile phones, drink/drug driving and seatbelts - were being ignored by some road users.

He said drug driving was now easier to detect, but on mobile phone use, he said: “We still see significant numbers of people using their mobile phones.

“We need to make it as socially unacceptable to get in a car with a driver who is going to use their mobile phone as it is to get into a car with a driver who has been drinking.”

A spokeswoman for Norfolk County Council said: “‘When we review road traffic incidents we often find that there are a number of factors that contributed to the cause including driving conditions, driver decisions and location.

“In line with advice from national experts, we are currently reviewing our road safety strategy to consider all of the elements of a safe system: users, speeds, vehicles and roads. An update to our road safety strategy will be shared at the communities committee next month.”

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