Suffolk’s police chief says more needs to be done to reduce fatalities on our roads

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner. - Credit: Archant

At the recent Police and Crime Panel held in Lowestoft, road safety was the main discussion and I'm sure you'll agree keeping Suffolk's road network safe and free flowing and safe is crucial.

One challenge we face is increasing traffic volumes on a predominantly old and antiquated network, which, in most cases is not fit for purpose. We can't do too much to change the road network but we do need to do more to reduce fatalities and serious injuries.

The data presented to the panel showed very clearly the two main high-risk categories for involvement in road traffic accidents are young men under the age of 25 and motorcyclists. Panel members asked for my thoughts and I thought this column presents an ideal opportunity to share these thoughts. Firstly, we must remember any road fatality is a tragedy for those involved and their friends and families (after all you can't really place a financial value on human life) and I believe in many cases accidents are down to driver error or poor driving, so we must do what we can to develop our driving skills.

Perhaps we should all reflect that when we drive a vehicle we are potentially in charge of a lethal weapon and appreciate driving is not a right, but a privilege and drive considerately and carefully - I realise that's what most responsible people do but sadly there's a small minority who have a cavalier disregard for theirs and other people's safety.

This background is one of the reasons behind making sure our roads policing unit receives as much investment as possible so the enforcement of the 'Fatal Four' (speeding, mobile phone use, seat belts and drink/drug driving) can continue, so we can improve Suffolk's road safety record.

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Education is vital and the Suffolk Roadsafe Board has invested in school programmes for young drivers and there are specific motorbike training courses. I believe it's only by working together that driving standards will improve, backed up with appropriate enforcement, we can make our roads safer for all users from pedestrians to lorry drivers. Longer-term investment in our roads will help -but that's long term, and so let's see what we can do individually and start now!

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