THE number of fatalities on east Durham roads has reached a record low, police statistics reveal.
Sixteen people died in road traffic accidents on the roads of County Durham and Darlington last year - the lowest level since local government and police boundaries were changed 36 years ago.
The number is two down on the previous year.
Inspector Ken Cook of the joint Cleveland and Durham strategic roads policing department, said: "While we are obviously delighted that we have managed to reduce the number of fatal collisions on our roads, every single fatal road traffic accident is one too many.
"Our absolute priority remains to reduce this number even further in the coming years."
The 16 fatalities comprised six pedestrians, five vehicle drivers, two motorcyclists, a passenger in a car, a bus driver and the rider of an electric wheelchair.
Insp Cook added: "The main causes of fatal and serious accidents are still excessive speed, failing to wear a seat belt, driving while under the influence of drink or drugs and lapses in driver concentration.
"However, there is only one common denominator to all of these areas, and that is the driver.
"Tragically last year 16 families had to face up to the reality of losing a loved one as a result of a traffic collision on our roads, an unimaginable loss.
"While we continue to work tirelessly with our partners to reduce the number of serious or fatal accidents, we cannot achieve this priority without the full help and support of our motoring public."