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Deaths on roads at seven-year low
THE number of fatal crashes in Worcestershire have plunged to a seven-year low despite spending on new road safety measures falling behind rival counties.
The Department for Transport has launched a new user-friendly website which highlights the nation’s accident hotspots.
The new site, which is now live, gives taxpayers everything they need to know about where crashes happen and how, flagging up areas of concerns in the UK.
The number of deaths on county roads are at a seven-year low with only Dudley, Birmingham and Solihull being safer in 2011 across the West Midlands.
In 2005 34 people were killed in Worcestershire compared to 15 in 2011.
Serious road crashes are also down from 263 seven years ago to 160 in 2011, although the figure did creep up by 25 on 2010.
Worcester remains the county’s crash capital, followed by Kidderminster and Evesham as the second and third places drivers are most likely to be involved in an incident.
Worcestershire spent £2.3 million on making roads safe in 2011, compared to £4.9m in Warwickshire despite both of the counties having 2,500 miles of highways to maintain.
The data lists spending on all new measures to make roads safer which typically includes lights, warning signs, traffic calming measures and widening. Worcestershire spent £2.3m in 2011 compared to £3.9m in Gloucestershire, £4.9m in Warwickshire and £2.6m in Wolverhampton. It did, though, dwarf the figures of £1.1m in Shropshire and £1.3m in Herefordshire.
The spending does not include potholes, which County Hall is repairing at a rate of 200 a day following the harsh winter weather. The new website has been launched in a bid to drive up standards and keep local authorities on their toes.
Councillor John Smith, the county’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “It’s a big educational thing in terms of making people aware of the roads right the way through the age groups and the reductions in the figures are part of that.When we get told about blackspots we always go and take a look and do our own audits. For us it’s not necessarily about speed cameras, it’s about drivers being aware of their speed and knowing what their safe limits are.
“We are always trying to improve things and one death is too many.”
Council chiefs have now decided to divert an extra £2.5m into the budget between now and 2015 to maintain roads after surveys showed that this was peoples’ second biggest priority after social care.
Public satisfaction over Worcestershire’s roads is just 42 per cent, despite it being a main focus of the authority’s Conservative administration. The Department for Transport says corresponding figures for 2012 should be on the site before the end of the year.
To see it for yourself visit road-collisions.dft.gov.uk.
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