Road safety chiefs fear post-Covid rise in crash deaths on Northamptonshire roads

Fatalities halved to 21 during 2020 as lockdowns kept people off the roads

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 10:39 am
Updated Thursday, 1st July 2021, 10:40 am

Road safety chiefs admit it will be a "challenge" to keep deaths and serious injuries down on Northamptonshire roads once the Covid pandemic is finally over.

Figures released this week showed the number of people killed and seriously hurt in the county during 2020 was the lowest since records began in 1960.

Deaths HALVED from 42 to 21 while casualties were down by 24 percent from 346 in 2019 to 278.

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The driver of this Fiat had a miracle escape on the A14 — but others were not so lucky
The driver of this Fiat had a miracle escape on the A14 — but others were not so lucky

But the chair of Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, Superintendent Tom Thompson, insisted: “It’s important to state that while we welcome the significant reduction in road casualties, we cannot afford to become complacent as we know 2020 was a year like no other.

“The decrease in traffic volume caused by the global pandemic and the coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions, clearly had an impact on our road casualty figures and therefore these reductions should be interpreted with caution.

“Therein lays the challenge for the NSRA in how to sustain this downward trend in casualty numbers once traffic flows and road user activity returns to a semblance of normality.

“Every person who dies or is injured on our roads is one too many and we must never forget that behind each statistic is a grieving family or someone coming to terms with a life changing injury.

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“Through education, engagement, engineering and enforcement, the alliance has worked hard to reinforce this message. However, we can’t do this on our own and as road users, we all have a responsibility for improving road safety.

“Our priority is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and this will not change as we continue to work together to improve road safety in the county."

Road traffic across Britain dropped by over a fifth in 2020 and remains below pre-pandemic levels as people are still encouraged to work from home where possible.

Reported injury collisions in Northamptonshire fell from 1,112 to 886, casualties sustaining serious injuries dropped from 258 to 221 and slight injuries from 815 to 646.

NSRA is a county-wide partnership between the police, fire & rescue service, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner's office and Northamptonshire Highways which was set up in November 2018.

It brings together key partners to work on initiatives which aims to improve road safety across Northamptonshire through education, engagement, engineering and enforcement.

NSRA will soon announced a refreshed Strategic Road Safety Plan setting out priorities and key actions for the next two years aimed at improving road safety and reducing casualties in the county.