AFTER more than 80 crashes in Bolton resulting in someone being killed or seriously injured, there are fears that driving behaviour may be worsening in the borough.

Concerns are rising about the state of driving as congestion increases on the roads, while traffic policing suffers from cuts to officer numbers.

Barry Sloane is an observer for Bolton’s IAM RoadSmart group, giving extra training to drivers young and older with an advanced course.

He said: “The standard of driving has clearly deteriorated, it’s there for everyone to see.

“There has been a big increase in traffic congestion and people want to get home — everybody has got their own reasons for not driving like they should.

“Police officer numbers are also down and if traffic officers are cut, how long does it take for someone to become a fully-qualified traffic officer? It’s years of training to build that force back up again.”

He added: “There’s a fall in patience because the roads are more congested and there has been a drop in traffic officers. There is only so much local authorities can do with cameras.

“We need police officers to catch people. If you think of the number of people the police are stopping, how many bad drivers are really out there?”

Young people who are new to the road are particularly vulnerable to trouble behind the wheel, according to the observer.

He said: “I sometimes think to myself, I don’t know whether I would be alive or seriously injured if it was not for the advance driving course.

“When you are 18-years-old, you think you’re the best driver in the world. I was the original testosterone-fuelled male, I thought I could drive like a driving god but it was the course that really taught me how to drive.”

The key to making the roads safer and improve driving is through extra training, says Mr Sloane, including skills which would not typically be covered in the run up to a driving test.

He said: “Driving lessons teach you for a test, but the advanced training teaches you how to behave on motorways, how to deal with smart motorways — things you don’t learn for the test.”

“We want to improve things through driver training.”

The IAM RoadSmart group runs four courses a year at the University of Bolton for people looking to build on their driving skills.

Mr Sloane said: “We get people who have been involved in major collisions and we get people who have taken a break from driving.

“We get people who have recently become grandparents and feel they should should make sure they are as good as they can be.”

IAM observer Bailey Williams, 18, will also be helping other young people brush up their driving skills with a new course. Anyone wanting further information can email