Road deaths down, but more action needed
9:26am Thursday 3rd January 2013 in News
THE number of people being killed or seriously injured on Bolton’s roads fell in the first half of last year — but campaigners say more still needs to be done to prevent further tragedy.
A Bolton Council report has revealed there were five road deaths in the borough between January and June, including two children, and a total of 29 people seriously injured.
The figures were lower than the same period the previous year, when there were 10 deaths and 37 serious injuries.
In the first six months of 2012 there were also 308 minor injuries, up compared to 276 recorded in 2011.
Gary Whittle, secretary of Bolton and District Advanced Motorists, said: “As a result of government cut backs the road safety department in the council was virtually destroyed.
“We were very upset about it and we’ve been trying to get them to put on some mature drivers’ courses.
“We do think the council could do more to help reduce fatalities on the roads.”
Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton Council's cabinet member for highways, said: “We’re not aware of an approach from Bolton and District Advanced Motorists but we’d welcome discussions over some kind of joint approach.
“There have been cuts across all departments and unfortunately we’ve not been able to provide the services we had four or five years ago.
“We all have to be more careful on the roads as the accident potential is increasing due to there being more vehicles.”
One of the fatalities of 2011 was Reece O’Neill, who died in April at the age of 16, when he crashed his motorbike into a bollard in Marsden Road, Bolton.
And in July Faizal Umarji, aged 25, of Grierson Street, was jailed for four years for causing death by dangerous driving after he crashed into a car being driven by Halliwell grandfather Fred Hodgkinson.
Last year police set up a campaign called Operation Dice to tackle dangerous driving.
Franki Hackett, campaigns officer for road safety organisation Brake, said: “Every death and injury on our roads is an avoidable tragedy, and we all need to do more to keep people on Bolton’s roads safe.
“Drivers can make the biggest difference by staying well within speed limits, keeping phones switched off and out of the way, never drinking or taking drugs and driving and committing to drive less.
“The government can make a real difference by providing much-needed leadership by reintroducing casualty targets and reinstating ring-fenced funding for road safety at the local government level.”
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