Road safety bosses urge drivers to change their ways in 2013 after death toll increase

Yeovil Express: Reporter Daniel Milligan goes out on the roads with safety bosses Nick Cowling and Terry Beale. Reporter Daniel Milligan goes out on the roads with safety bosses Nick Cowling and Terry Beale.

DRIVERS need to take more care behind the wheel - that’s the message from road safety bosses after figures indicated that the final death toll on Somerset’s roads in 2012 was due to be higher than in 2011.

Overall figures for the year are still being confirmed, but statistics from Somerset Road Safety show there had been 34 fatalities by the end of November – 17 more than all of 2011.

Among those to lose their lives in 2012 were Sophie Lack, 19, and Luke Porter, 22, who died when their car struck a tree near Thurloxton in September.

As well as the fatalities there were 135 serious injuries and 978 slight injury casualties on Somerset roads from January to September in 2012.

Terry Beale, the county council’s road safety manager, said despite the increase 2012 will not go down as the worst year ever and 2011 was an exceptionally good year on the roads.

He said: “Every fatal collision is a tragedy and affects so many people, but the figures are cause for concern.

“There are often a number of reasons why figures will vary year on year, and weather can play a part – it has been a particularly wet year so far – but what’s clear is that in 95% of cases the major cause is driver error.

“The main causes this year have been where people have made bad decisions or rash choices, whether overtaking, driving too fast or not concentrating.

“All our roads are safe if they’re driven correctly, and people drive within the speed limit and their own capabilities.”

Mr Beale hopes one New Year resolution for everybody will be to have a strong look at their driving and help cut deaths on our roads.

He said: “We hope everyone thinks about what they’re doing. Don’t drink and drive, concentrate at all times and try to avoid distractions. A motor vehicle can’t think for itself – it can only do what you tell it to.”

Dave Adams, of the Avon and Somerset Road Police Unit, said he hoped people try to make themselves an example of a good driver.

He said: “People will have received gifts like sat-navs, radios, CDs and phones but we don’t want them to be distracted, they need to be used appropriately.”

Somerset Road Safety offers courses and presentations on all aspects of driving and riding, and can give advice and guidance.

Call SRS on 01823-423430 or see Facebook, Twitter or www.roadsafetysomerset.org.uk

Comments (17)

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2:49pm Thu 3 Jan 13

jimee says...

stick the speed cameras back on
stick the speed cameras back on jimee
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Thu 3 Jan 13

St. Austell says...

Just go back to the horse and wagon and hope the horse doesn't bolt if you want to save motor accidents. That will slow things down and make life on the roads a little safer at the expense of the overall economy. But remember that my old schoolmaster witnessed a death resulting from a brewery dray running over a guy who was crossing a road when horses pulling the dray bolted. Meantime a "Good Little Earner" for Terry Beale!
Just go back to the horse and wagon and hope the horse doesn't bolt if you want to save motor accidents. That will slow things down and make life on the roads a little safer at the expense of the overall economy. But remember that my old schoolmaster witnessed a death resulting from a brewery dray running over a guy who was crossing a road when horses pulling the dray bolted. Meantime a "Good Little Earner" for Terry Beale! St. Austell
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Thu 3 Jan 13

St. Austell says...

Just go back to the horse and wagon and hope the horse doesn't bolt if you want to save motor accidents. That will slow things down and make life on the roads a little safer at the expense of the overall economy. But remember that my old schoolmaster witnessed a death resulting from a brewery dray running over a guy who was crossing a road when horses pulling the dray bolted. Meantime a "Good Little Earner" for Terry Beale!
Just go back to the horse and wagon and hope the horse doesn't bolt if you want to save motor accidents. That will slow things down and make life on the roads a little safer at the expense of the overall economy. But remember that my old schoolmaster witnessed a death resulting from a brewery dray running over a guy who was crossing a road when horses pulling the dray bolted. Meantime a "Good Little Earner" for Terry Beale! St. Austell
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Thu 3 Jan 13

LookingForLiars says...

"All our roads are safe if they’re driven correctly" Does correctly mean being telepathic in order to avoid Pothole's ???
"All our roads are safe if they’re driven correctly" Does correctly mean being telepathic in order to avoid Pothole's ??? LookingForLiars
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Thu 3 Jan 13

St. Austell says...

LookingForLiars wrote:
"All our roads are safe if they’re driven correctly" Does correctly mean being telepathic in order to avoid Pothole's ???
Yes but there are too many idiots who drive.
Thanks to my old ex Taunton Police driving instructor and ROSPA I believe that as a younger man I could drive safely and at speed in all conditions including ice, rain and snow despite the road surface.
Perhaps the driving test should include high speed driving ability as well as driving in other adverse conditions: bet this would reduce drivers and DVLA staff so would be avoided in the interest of the latter's career structure.
[quote][p][bold]LookingForLiars[/bold] wrote: "All our roads are safe if they’re driven correctly" Does correctly mean being telepathic in order to avoid Pothole's ???[/p][/quote]Yes but there are too many idiots who drive. Thanks to my old ex Taunton Police driving instructor and ROSPA I believe that as a younger man I could drive safely and at speed in all conditions including ice, rain and snow despite the road surface. Perhaps the driving test should include high speed driving ability as well as driving in other adverse conditions: bet this would reduce drivers and DVLA staff so would be avoided in the interest of the latter's career structure. St. Austell
  • Score: 0

9:39am Fri 4 Jan 13

Mi_Coc says...

Need a staggered qualification scheme in this country most pass their test and then start learning bad habits. We're not taught to overtake properly as it often tips you over the speed limit so only emergency service or people who want to learn advanced techniques hinged on roadcraft.

Speed cameras won't help much, I expect it will come down to everyone will have a black box as insurance companies are pushing them on us. Only the rich will be able to drive fast then and pay the extra premiums. So many people seem to drive around on their phones up your backside it can't stay as it is car insurance is going through the roof.
Need a staggered qualification scheme in this country most pass their test and then start learning bad habits. We're not taught to overtake properly as it often tips you over the speed limit so only emergency service or people who want to learn advanced techniques hinged on roadcraft. Speed cameras won't help much, I expect it will come down to everyone will have a black box as insurance companies are pushing them on us. Only the rich will be able to drive fast then and pay the extra premiums. So many people seem to drive around on their phones up your backside it can't stay as it is car insurance is going through the roof. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

9:42am Fri 4 Jan 13

Mi_Coc says...

LookingForLiars wrote:
"All our roads are safe if they’re driven correctly" Does correctly mean being telepathic in order to avoid Pothole's ???
Out of interests how many hours did you spend on a skid pan to cope with all those conditions?
[quote][p][bold]LookingForLiars[/bold] wrote: "All our roads are safe if they’re driven correctly" Does correctly mean being telepathic in order to avoid Pothole's ???[/p][/quote]Out of interests how many hours did you spend on a skid pan to cope with all those conditions? Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

2:53pm Fri 4 Jan 13

souwesterly says...

Mi_Coc - no need for black boxes - just in-car cameras. They cost little enough to buy and could be fitted as standard into new cars for a nominal price....
And in my opinion, 90% of all accidents are avoidable if only people drove properly. I don't mean driving at 20 mph - I mean concentrating on the traffic rather than being distracted by everything from phones to passengers.
Just how some people actually survive a road trip, I just don't know - when you watch their driving. I swear they must have bribed their examiner.
And as for potholes, LookingForLiars - keeping your eyes on the road ahead will help you avoid them - it works for me.
Mi_Coc - no need for black boxes - just in-car cameras. They cost little enough to buy and could be fitted as standard into new cars for a nominal price.... And in my opinion, 90% of all accidents are avoidable if only people drove properly. I don't mean driving at 20 mph - I mean concentrating on the traffic rather than being distracted by everything from phones to passengers. Just how some people actually survive a road trip, I just don't know - when you watch their driving. I swear they must have bribed their examiner. And as for potholes, LookingForLiars - keeping your eyes on the road ahead will help you avoid them - it works for me. souwesterly
  • Score: 0

6:46pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Mi_Coc says...

souwesterly wrote:
Mi_Coc - no need for black boxes - just in-car cameras. They cost little enough to buy and could be fitted as standard into new cars for a nominal price....
And in my opinion, 90% of all accidents are avoidable if only people drove properly. I don't mean driving at 20 mph - I mean concentrating on the traffic rather than being distracted by everything from phones to passengers.
Just how some people actually survive a road trip, I just don't know - when you watch their driving. I swear they must have bribed their examiner.
And as for potholes, LookingForLiars - keeping your eyes on the road ahead will help you avoid them - it works for me.
I agree that we shouldn't need black boxes but something is needed for 17-25 to bring the death toll and they seem to work.

I can't see how you can improve most drivers concentration without some form of penalisation. A lot of drivers are very much on their way to their next accident but if they don't have one they will consider their driving good. I have been using the we aa drive score to monitor and score my driving. Once you have completed 200 miles it gives their best quote.

For most people driving is an over learned activity so they go into auto pilot and do not concetrate. Of people like you or me try to tell them we they are going wrong they will state they haven't had an accident recently and therefore they are good drivers. If a black box tells them objectively how they are driving and rewards or penalising them on that basis maybe it will improve. Most people think anything driver training past Dsa test is for boring anal people with nothing better to do. You need only look a the numbe of poor police drivers there are to know there paid driving training was a waste of time.
[quote][p][bold]souwesterly[/bold] wrote: Mi_Coc - no need for black boxes - just in-car cameras. They cost little enough to buy and could be fitted as standard into new cars for a nominal price.... And in my opinion, 90% of all accidents are avoidable if only people drove properly. I don't mean driving at 20 mph - I mean concentrating on the traffic rather than being distracted by everything from phones to passengers. Just how some people actually survive a road trip, I just don't know - when you watch their driving. I swear they must have bribed their examiner. And as for potholes, LookingForLiars - keeping your eyes on the road ahead will help you avoid them - it works for me.[/p][/quote]I agree that we shouldn't need black boxes but something is needed for 17-25 to bring the death toll and they seem to work. I can't see how you can improve most drivers concentration without some form of penalisation. A lot of drivers are very much on their way to their next accident but if they don't have one they will consider their driving good. I have been using the we aa drive score to monitor and score my driving. Once you have completed 200 miles it gives their best quote. For most people driving is an over learned activity so they go into auto pilot and do not concetrate. Of people like you or me try to tell them we they are going wrong they will state they haven't had an accident recently and therefore they are good drivers. If a black box tells them objectively how they are driving and rewards or penalising them on that basis maybe it will improve. Most people think anything driver training past Dsa test is for boring anal people with nothing better to do. You need only look a the numbe of poor police drivers there are to know there paid driving training was a waste of time. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

10:52pm Fri 4 Jan 13

souwesterly says...

Sorry Mi_Coc,
Getting 17-25 year olds to drive sensibly is like asking kids not to play with toys. With all due respect to the intelligent and sensible ones, let those who wish to withdraw themselves from the gene pool do so - let Darwin take over. Hell - give them big powerful cars and let them self-destruct.
The only other comments I'd make in that context are that whilst they should be allowed to kill themselves off if they're that stupid, should they kill others off then they should be made to give up their right to live too.
Remorse for killing an innocent passer-by or a passive passenger is seldom seen these days and is doubtfully sincere when offered. Causing death by dangerous driving should carry a really stiff penalty.
Sorry Mi_Coc, Getting 17-25 year olds to drive sensibly is like asking kids not to play with toys. With all due respect to the intelligent and sensible ones, let those who wish to withdraw themselves from the gene pool do so - let Darwin take over. Hell - give them big powerful cars and let them self-destruct. The only other comments I'd make in that context are that whilst they should be allowed to kill themselves off if they're that stupid, should they kill others off then they should be made to give up their right to live too. Remorse for killing an innocent passer-by or a passive passenger is seldom seen these days and is doubtfully sincere when offered. Causing death by dangerous driving should carry a really stiff penalty. souwesterly
  • Score: 0

9:52am Sat 5 Jan 13

windswept and interesting says...

souwesterly wrote:
Sorry Mi_Coc,
Getting 17-25 year olds to drive sensibly is like asking kids not to play with toys. With all due respect to the intelligent and sensible ones, let those who wish to withdraw themselves from the gene pool do so - let Darwin take over. Hell - give them big powerful cars and let them self-destruct.
The only other comments I'd make in that context are that whilst they should be allowed to kill themselves off if they're that stupid, should they kill others off then they should be made to give up their right to live too.
Remorse for killing an innocent passer-by or a passive passenger is seldom seen these days and is doubtfully sincere when offered. Causing death by dangerous driving should carry a really stiff penalty.
I have to agree here.

Although there are some very careful 17-25 year old drivers, a large proportion seem to want to jump straight into the most powerful car they can straight after passing their test.

After taking so many lessons and a test, driving inside the legal limit, they are then unleashed onto the roads in turbos etc / GTI's etc and simply cannot handle them.

The standard of driving in that age group is shocking. Just drove down through Bath Road when the College is chucking out, particularly at the new lights by the old Cellophane car park - you can bet your bottom dollar up the outside lane comes a number of cars crammed with students, cutting up those on the inside lane.

We should restrict newly passed drivers to a max 1100cc for at least the first year of driving.
[quote][p][bold]souwesterly[/bold] wrote: Sorry Mi_Coc, Getting 17-25 year olds to drive sensibly is like asking kids not to play with toys. With all due respect to the intelligent and sensible ones, let those who wish to withdraw themselves from the gene pool do so - let Darwin take over. Hell - give them big powerful cars and let them self-destruct. The only other comments I'd make in that context are that whilst they should be allowed to kill themselves off if they're that stupid, should they kill others off then they should be made to give up their right to live too. Remorse for killing an innocent passer-by or a passive passenger is seldom seen these days and is doubtfully sincere when offered. Causing death by dangerous driving should carry a really stiff penalty.[/p][/quote]I have to agree here. Although there are some very careful 17-25 year old drivers, a large proportion seem to want to jump straight into the most powerful car they can straight after passing their test. After taking so many lessons and a test, driving inside the legal limit, they are then unleashed onto the roads in turbos etc / GTI's etc and simply cannot handle them. The standard of driving in that age group is shocking. Just drove down through Bath Road when the College is chucking out, particularly at the new lights by the old Cellophane car park - you can bet your bottom dollar up the outside lane comes a number of cars crammed with students, cutting up those on the inside lane. We should restrict newly passed drivers to a max 1100cc for at least the first year of driving. windswept and interesting
  • Score: 0

10:19am Sat 5 Jan 13

FreeSpeech? says...

650CC would do them for the first two years, a curfew and restrict the amount of passengers its what they do abroad and it works great.
650CC would do them for the first two years, a curfew and restrict the amount of passengers its what they do abroad and it works great. FreeSpeech?
  • Score: 0

11:23am Sat 5 Jan 13

Mark1970 says...

I have to admit that I passed my test on the fourth attempt. The third time the examiner thought that I was a professional driver and failed me on one thing that I had in total control.

I have driven for hundreds of thousands of miles, and never had an accident.

The age limit should be increased and decreased for driving.

Maybe have the limit set at 25 to 65 when bus passes are free.

Pot holes are just one cause of accidents, but the use of cheap tar mac is another, particularly in the wet is another.

I have skidded out at 10 miles per hour on some roads taking a bend and that has been in a couple of cars some safer than others.

The roads are just not safe enough.
I have to admit that I passed my test on the fourth attempt. The third time the examiner thought that I was a professional driver and failed me on one thing that I had in total control. I have driven for hundreds of thousands of miles, and never had an accident. The age limit should be increased and decreased for driving. Maybe have the limit set at 25 to 65 when bus passes are free. Pot holes are just one cause of accidents, but the use of cheap tar mac is another, particularly in the wet is another. I have skidded out at 10 miles per hour on some roads taking a bend and that has been in a couple of cars some safer than others. The roads are just not safe enough. Mark1970
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Sat 5 Jan 13

souwesterly says...

The problem with restricting young drivers is the matter of enforcing the restrictions.
If they're prepared to flaunt the rules now, they'll do the same to age and engine size rules later.
*
Being one of those 'older' drivers (I'm 67) I resent the thought of us being restricted too!
Certainly we should be required to take retests once we reach say 70-75 and there should be more stringent checks of things like eyesight and health matters.
Personally, I feel and act younger than I am - and my driving skills are excellent, in my opinion. My reactions may not be as lightning-fast as a younger person but I allow for that by not getting myself into silly situations.
I also travel quite widely around the west country - restricting my travel to buses or trains would be like taking my legs away.
*
And in respect of aging - some people are really fit and healthy at 75 - others are knackered at 65. Some, like me who drive many thousands of miles are road-savvy - others who only come out to do the shopping are totally out-of-date with today's traffic conditions.
Therefore, rather as with the young, why place blanket restrictions on us all?
The problem with restricting young drivers is the matter of enforcing the restrictions. If they're prepared to flaunt the rules now, they'll do the same to age and engine size rules later. * Being one of those 'older' drivers (I'm 67) I resent the thought of us being restricted too! Certainly we should be required to take retests once we reach say 70-75 and there should be more stringent checks of things like eyesight and health matters. Personally, I feel and act younger than I am - and my driving skills are excellent, in my opinion. My reactions may not be as lightning-fast as a younger person but I allow for that by not getting myself into silly situations. I also travel quite widely around the west country - restricting my travel to buses or trains would be like taking my legs away. * And in respect of aging - some people are really fit and healthy at 75 - others are knackered at 65. Some, like me who drive many thousands of miles are road-savvy - others who only come out to do the shopping are totally out-of-date with today's traffic conditions. Therefore, rather as with the young, why place blanket restrictions on us all? souwesterly
  • Score: 0

5:41pm Sat 5 Jan 13

Mi_Coc says...

souwesterly wrote:
Sorry Mi_Coc,
Getting 17-25 year olds to drive sensibly is like asking kids not to play with toys. With all due respect to the intelligent and sensible ones, let those who wish to withdraw themselves from the gene pool do so - let Darwin take over. Hell - give them big powerful cars and let them self-destruct.
The only other comments I'd make in that context are that whilst they should be allowed to kill themselves off if they're that stupid, should they kill others off then they should be made to give up their right to live too.
Remorse for killing an innocent passer-by or a passive passenger is seldom seen these days and is doubtfully sincere when offered. Causing death by dangerous driving should carry a really stiff penalty.
Unfortunately 17-25 have a ridiculously high mortality rate and their passengers are often killed. I think limit their cars to 67 mph might help. Limit them driving after 11pm til 6am Again a lot of accidents happen in the early hours. I was no angel till I turned 19 and calmed down luckliy I never had a bad accident but still had two shunts in my first two years. I passed my test first time and statically you are more likely to crash. I passed my test after lunch and by 8pm I had been stopped by police for driving far to fast. There is an over confidence for my first time passes, certainly was in my case.

If you were limited or charged money by your insurance company for you driving at night or speeding I know it would calmed me down earlier.
[quote][p][bold]souwesterly[/bold] wrote: Sorry Mi_Coc, Getting 17-25 year olds to drive sensibly is like asking kids not to play with toys. With all due respect to the intelligent and sensible ones, let those who wish to withdraw themselves from the gene pool do so - let Darwin take over. Hell - give them big powerful cars and let them self-destruct. The only other comments I'd make in that context are that whilst they should be allowed to kill themselves off if they're that stupid, should they kill others off then they should be made to give up their right to live too. Remorse for killing an innocent passer-by or a passive passenger is seldom seen these days and is doubtfully sincere when offered. Causing death by dangerous driving should carry a really stiff penalty.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately 17-25 have a ridiculously high mortality rate and their passengers are often killed. I think limit their cars to 67 mph might help. Limit them driving after 11pm til 6am Again a lot of accidents happen in the early hours. I was no angel till I turned 19 and calmed down luckliy I never had a bad accident but still had two shunts in my first two years. I passed my test first time and statically you are more likely to crash. I passed my test after lunch and by 8pm I had been stopped by police for driving far to fast. There is an over confidence for my first time passes, certainly was in my case. If you were limited or charged money by your insurance company for you driving at night or speeding I know it would calmed me down earlier. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

12:27pm Mon 7 Jan 13

St. Austell says...

After reading this article and comments thereon I am forced to conclude that the comments demonstrate
once more a typically British approach to the immediate problem that is a focus on almost everything
other than the ability of drivers. This is akin to the attitude in pre war Germany were a religious minority
was blamed for the county's ills and more recently were some media and political interests blame Britain's
fiscal ill on immigration rather than more fundamental causes.
After reading this article and comments thereon I am forced to conclude that the comments demonstrate once more a typically British approach to the immediate problem that is a focus on almost everything other than the ability of drivers. This is akin to the attitude in pre war Germany were a religious minority was blamed for the county's ills and more recently were some media and political interests blame Britain's fiscal ill on immigration rather than more fundamental causes. St. Austell
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Mi_Coc says...

St. Austell wrote:
After reading this article and comments thereon I am forced to conclude that the comments demonstrate
once more a typically British approach to the immediate problem that is a focus on almost everything
other than the ability of drivers. This is akin to the attitude in pre war Germany were a religious minority
was blamed for the county's ills and more recently were some media and political interests blame Britain's
fiscal ill on immigration rather than more fundamental causes.
I am not sure what your point is?

I think 17-25 year olds need restricting ans grauduated testing. I mean an hour after passing me test at 17 i was driving on a motorway for the first time.

As for over 60 i think tri annual retesting would establish their fitness to still drive. Similar to rospa or more advance police drivers who have to maintain their driving.

One of the issues we have is no one can teach overtaking properly because of a preocupation with speed limits. So we pretend most dont speed so dont need teaching.
[quote][p][bold]St. Austell[/bold] wrote: After reading this article and comments thereon I am forced to conclude that the comments demonstrate once more a typically British approach to the immediate problem that is a focus on almost everything other than the ability of drivers. This is akin to the attitude in pre war Germany were a religious minority was blamed for the county's ills and more recently were some media and political interests blame Britain's fiscal ill on immigration rather than more fundamental causes.[/p][/quote]I am not sure what your point is? I think 17-25 year olds need restricting ans grauduated testing. I mean an hour after passing me test at 17 i was driving on a motorway for the first time. As for over 60 i think tri annual retesting would establish their fitness to still drive. Similar to rospa or more advance police drivers who have to maintain their driving. One of the issues we have is no one can teach overtaking properly because of a preocupation with speed limits. So we pretend most dont speed so dont need teaching. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

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