Chron Comment: January 3

A shocking start to 2012 in terms of road deaths was mirrored in the very last few days of the year when five people lost their lives in accidents across Northamptonshire.

Every death is a bleak statistic and a reminder of the ongoing dangers of driving, in particular when coupled by speed, mobile phone usage, drugs and alcohol or not wearing seatbelts.

The fact remains, however, 2012 was still the fifth lowest recorded since records began more than 50 years ago.

Questions will be asked as to the effect, for example, of speed cameras being switched off across the county last March as well as continuing concerns about street lighting, which was also massively scaled back a few months prior to that. Many of the inquests have yet to be held on those who lost their lives in 2012, so it would be presumptuous for anyone to lay the finger of blame on any particular incident.

However, politicians surely have a duty to ask whether there should be a rethink on the Casualty Reduction Partnership whose funding was removed last year to save money.

2012 was a year which started and ended with a string of road fatalities . Let’s hope 2013 sees far fewer road deaths - better still, none at all - and proper political action to see what can be done to reduce this continuing dark shadow over victims and their families.