FEWER people were killed on our roads than at any time over the past 40 years.
Nineteen people were killed in traffic accidents in 2013 but police and campaigners last night said the number of fatalities was still far too high.
Chief Inspector Henry Parsons
Chief Inspector Henry Parsons, head of Thames Valley Police’s roads unit, warned: “It is not job done. It is not a celebration – we want that figure to be zero.”
And while fatal accidents fell 32 per cent from 28 in 2012, the Oxfordshire County Council figures reveal that there were 299 accidents in which people were seriously injured – a rise on the In all, there were 318 people killed or seriously injured (KSI) last year – 11 more than the 307 in 2012. Road safety experts say KSIs are the most reliable statistic to judge road safety on.
Six people aged 25 and under were killed on the roads – the same figure as last year. The A40 was the county’s most deadly road claiming three lives. Ch Insp Parsons said the fall in deadly accidents was in part due to improved car safety and safer road layouts.
But he said the police’s regular drink-driving checks and speeding tickets were helping to drive down the figure.
He also said education was key and said over seven years 19,000 young people in the Thames Valley had been shown the dangers of driving through the ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive,’ campaign.
Nicci Saunders became an ambassador for road safety charity Brake after her partner Joe Wilkins, a part-time firefighter, was killed on his bike in May 2012.
The 40-year-old from Eynsham welcomed the latest figure but said road safety messages needed to be pushed harder.
She said: “It doesn’t matter how safe your car is, it is how good the driver is behind the wheel.
“Because of what has happened to us we realise the mass dangers and how seriously just one mistake can change someone’s life.”
Steve Jefferies lost his 18-year-old daughter Olivia when she crashed into an oncoming car in Adderbury in 2011.
The 63-year-old said there should be more education in schools and perhaps restrictions on new drivers – such as a requirement to have a family member in the car for their first year behind the wheel, or a curfew limiting them to the road between 7am and 10pm.
He said: “Things like that would cut the fatalies down by a huge percentage.”
But he said: “There are always going to be people killed on the road, it’s inevitable.
“You don’t have to be racing, you don’t have to be drinking to have an accident. Some people are lucky and some people get away with it. But my daughter was unlucky. She didn’t get away with it.”
Oxfordshire County Council’s fire and rescue service launched the 365alive road safety campaign in 2006 in a bid to save 365 lives through education by 2016.
Mick Clarke, the service’s road safety manager, said his team was constantly trying to come up with new ways of spreading road safety messages.
He said: “Nobody leaves their house in the morning with the intention of being in an accident. But it only takes a couple of things to go wrong.
“What I want to do is get people out of that mindset that it couldn’t happened to me, because it could happen to anyone.”
Tony Kirkwood, from Oxfordshire County Council’s road safety team, said increased safety measures at accident blackspots had also helped to cut the loss of life on Oxfordshire’s roads.But he warned: “We should take care to point out that while the long-term trend is for less fatal accidents on our roads, year-to-year comparisons can be more fickle.
“We cannot therefore assume that 2014 and the years looking forward will continue to see totals as low as 2013.”
KILLED ON OXFORDSHIRE ROADS IN 2013
Andres Naveda, 23, a motorcyclist killed in Begbroke in August
Freddie Perry, 10, who died in a road collision in Didcot in September
Amy Reynolds, 26, died when her car left the A40 Northern Bypass, near Oxford’s Green Road roundabout, in January
Motorcyclist Sebastian Grootz, 28, was killed when he hit a telegraph pole in Drayton in September
Jack Webster, 22, who was killed in a crash near Witney, in January