RUTLAND’S roads are becoming safer, according to figures published this week.
Statistics from Rutland County Council show that there are fewer accidents now than 10 years ago but leader Roger Begy says this does not mean the road safety efforts will stop.
In 2002 38 people died or suffered serious injuries on roads in the county, with 161 suffering slight injuries.
Last year the number had been reduced to 18, with a further 96 suffering slight injuries. But Coun Begy (Con) said the council will keep trying to reduce the numbers.
He said: “Every time we get a series of crashes or fatalities on our roads it is heart-wrenching.
“We can’t wave a magic wand and stop them altogether but we have to take every opportunity to try.
“We will not rest on our laurels because every death is one too many.”
The total number of people killed or injured on Rutland’s roads peaked in 2005 with 214 casualties, two of whom died and 25 had serious injuries.
The number of fatalities was highest in 2010 when 12 people died in accidents in the county. Last year there were two deaths.
In October, 2010, the county council organised the second road safety summit in the county to tackle the problem areas and danger zones.
It invited the emergency services, driving instructors, schools, colleges and community groups to decide what had to be done.
Rutland police commander Insp Kam Mistry said: “Road safety is one of our priorities and we do quite a lot of speed enforcement campaigns to try to educate drivers about the dangers of speeding.”
The first summit was held in 2007. Coun Begy said he believed it was the turning point in the council’s efforts to improve road safety.
“It enabled us to get everyone together, to share their knowledge and experience and to come up with a plan of action that tackled the priority areas of engineering, speed and education,” he said.
One of the key actions to come out of the first summit was the council covering the cost of under 21s wanting take part in Pass Plus. Since then more than 785 young drivers have taken part in the Pass Plus scheme to help them become better drivers and provide additional experiences such as motorway driving, city driving, night time and rural driving
Coun Begy said: “Statistics show those driving mainly in the countryside are 37 per cent more likely to be involved in a collision.”
Last year the council made significant improvements to roads that were highlighted as being accident blackspots such as the Sounding Bridge on the A6003 at Manton and the A6121 in Ryhall.
Traffic calming, speed indicator signs and the mobile speed camera have also been used to reduce speeds on roads in the area.
Coun Begy said: “We have made significant progress in recent years and I’m pleased to see our hard work reflected in the figures published this week.
“As a council we’ll continue to work hard to improve road safety even further.”
For more information about Pass Plus for visit www.rutland.gov.uk or call 01572 722577.