Road casualties at lowest on record in Hartlepool

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OFFICIAL figures released by the Government have shown the number of casualties on the roads has dropped to the lowest level since records began.

The number of people seriously injured on the roads has dropped by six per cent to 21,657 in 2013 compared to 2012.

The total number of casualties in road accidents reported to the police in 2013 was 183,670, a fall of six per cent from the previous year, while the number of children aged up to 15 injured fell by nine per cent to 15,756 in 2013.

The number of children killed or seriously injured also fell, decreasing by 13 per cent to 1,980 in 2013.

Figures collated in Hartlepool show the town’s statistics are in keeping with the national trend.

Vehicle traffic levels have remained broadly stable with a small increase of 0.4 per cent between 2012 and 2013.

A total of 138,660 personal-injury road accidents of all severities were reported to the police in 2013.

This total is the fewest reported accidents in a single year apart from 1926 and 1927, the first two years national records were kept by the Department of Transport.

A number of reasons have been suggested as to being the reason behind the decrease, inclduing the recession which has resulted in less people using their cars and widespread road safety campaigns which have been introduced.

In the last 12 mnonths, several areas in and around Hartlepool have had speed limits cut to 20mph, including some of the streets off Park Road and the whole of the Headland.

The number of fatalities on the roads in Hartlepool was two, the same figure as the previous year, though the number of people seriously hurt dropped from 31 to 25 while injuries classed as slight dropped 190 to 155.

Despite the fall in accidents, road safety campaigners remain cautious and still say there are too many incidents taking place.

Institute of Advanced Motorists director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “The IAM welcomes the overall decrease in road deaths in 2013 which maintains the recent downward trends despite our roads getting a little busier as the economy picks up upward.

“We are however still killing nearly five people every day.

“It is worrying that motorways have seen a 14 per cent increase in deaths which is only partly explained by a 1.5 per cent increase in traffic on them.

“It is vital that the government keeps a close eye on these figures as the Highway Agency rolls out its programme of widespread hard shoulder running as opposed to proper motorway widening.”