'Road death toll like a jumbo jet crashing in county'
IF you count the number of people killed on the roads of Gloucestershire in the past 12 years, you would be able to fill a jumbo jet and have people left over.
That’s the shocking image put forward by road safety manager for Gloucestershire, Garry Handley.
He wanted to put in context the death toll on our roads as the Echo continues its RIP 479 campaign.
Garry said there would be an outcry if the 479 deaths, which have happened on Gloucestershire’s roads between the millennium and the end of 2012, occurred all at once in a plane crash. “But the drip effect makes them somehow more palatable,” he said.
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The death toll on our roads works out at an average of 39 people a year – a picture that is replicated across the country too.
He said: “It is an enormous tragedy that each day in Britain 10 people lose their lives on the roads.
“That’s 10 families absolutely torn apart.
“If we can educate and raise awareness we can prevent families having a loved one taken from them in a sudden and violent way.
“There is an increased number of people dying on the roads of the Cotswolds.
“But there’s been a lot of success to road safety.
“The numbers are going down.
“We collect information on every single injury.”
Garry, who has been involved in road safety for more than 30 years, has been one of the people developing and implementing education programmes for all kinds of target groups, in order to cut those numbers.
The Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership works with people from pre and primary schools, to elderly drivers, all with the aim of improving road safety by creating better drivers and safer roads.
Driver education had a considerably deeper and longer-lasting effect, he said, in tackling the big four – speeding, driving under the influence of drink or drugs, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel – the main causes of road crashes.
The most recent campaign, carried out in conjunction with Gloucestershire Police and Fire and Rescue Service was to ensure drivers were wearing their seatbelts.
The 2013 Seatbelt On campaign highlighted the fact that 543 drivers and passengers in the county were reported for not wearing seatbelts – all of whom could have been killed or seriously injured if they had been in a crash.
Some of the priorities for the partnership for this year include developing the Community Speed Watch Scheme, expanding the number of retraining courses for drivers, providing facts to local driving instructors about known local behaviours and locations and targeting young drivers through schemes such as an Under-17s car club.
The Echo is running a series of articles this autumn to raise awareness of the number of people dying on our roads.
It followed the deaths of three people in road accidents last weekend across the county, two of which were in Cheltenham’s Bath Road.
Killed on the roads of Gloucestershire (Figures from Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership): 2005: 53; 2007: 40; 2008: 39; 2010: 31; 2012: 33;