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PCC holds Constabulary to account over roads policing

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner has today received at his Public Accountability Conference (PAC) an update around roads policing statistics. The statistics compare 2020 to date to the whole of 2019.

Serious or fatal collisions have reduced by over 52% from 2019 with casualties falling to 224 from 442 with hospitalisations reduced from 23.8% to 13.8%. Fatalities on Cumbria’s roads in 2020 have fallen to 16 from 31 in 2019. Young males between the ages 26-35 are more likely to be involved in serious collisions.

The five key contributory factors to collisions resulting in fatalities or serious injury, locally, are drink/drug/tired driving, lack of seatbelts, speeding, distracted driving i.e. mobile phone and risky driving such as over-taking at junctions. So far in 2020, Cumbria Constabulary has prosecuted 290 drivers using mobile phones and 15,849 speeders. Over 50% of those caught speeding have attended speed awareness courses with evidence highlighting education is 3x more likely to decrease dangerous driving than enforcement alone.

Drink and Drug driving remains one of the biggest causes of dangerous driving in Cumbria. So far in 2020, almost 15% of the 1858 drivers tested failed or refused the breathalyser test.  478 drug wipes of drivers tested positive in 2020, up 39 from 439 in 2019. To date, 960 drink and drug offense charges have been handed out in 2020 with drug driving offences being double that of drink driving offences.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Road safety and dangerous driving is an issue that is raised with me often by the public and with good reason.

“My Public Accountability Conferences give me the opportunity to hold the Chief Constable to account on these issues and receive information around what the Constabulary are doing to tackle issues – in this case serious and fatal road collisions.

“It’s clear that the Roads Policing teams are doing a great job at deterring and catching dangerous drivers across the county including those who are visiting the Lake District.

“Halving the road deaths in the county is a huge success and we are striving to reduce that number even further to zero but this is not just a police issue it is a community wide effort that is needed to end road deaths in Cumbria.

“COVID-19 restrictions meant less vehicles on our roads this year which of course adds to the reduction in incidents but the police are still out across the county targeting hotspots that are known for dangerous driving.

“The figures around drug and drink testing are a testament to this with more positive drug wipes having taken place in 2020 so far than the whole of 2019.

“Roads policing has been a national focus this year with the APCC carrying out a national roads safety survey with 396 Cumbria residents taking part in this.

“This information will be used as evidence for future legislation changes from the Government.

“Road safety is one of my main priorities for Cumbria and I continuously strive for better education and prevention around dangerous driving which is why I was pleased to receive these statistics of Cumbria’s road policing.

“I will continue to hold the Chief Constable to account for the force’s performance at my Public Accountability Conferences where I receive regular updates and scrutinise how the Constabulary are addressing the changing nature of all types of crime on behalf of the public.

“Cumbria is a safe county with a strong performing police force all of whom work hard to fight all crime.  I know that they will continue to perform well across the county and make Cumbria an even safer place to live.”

Superintendent Andy Wilkinson, Cumbria Constabulary said: “One of the Constabulary’s priorities is to reduce the number of fatal and serious injured casualties caused in road traffic collisions on the county’s roads.

“Our officers work 24/7 to keep our roads safe, by proactively patrolling the highways, stopping vehicles and engage with the public on the dangers they face.

“This involves effectively dealing with those who show a disregard to public safety.

“We also prioritise our education and enforcement approach to those locations and demographics deemed to be the most vulnerable.

“Our Mobile Support Group work within the Casualty Reduction and Safer Highways Group which takes a multi-agency approach with partners to tackle road safety issues within the county.

“The group meets monthly to address local and countywide issues, and direct how partners can work together to enhance safety and reduce risk.”

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