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Somerset campaign responds to rise in road deaths


Dangerous driving behaviours are the focus of a new Somerset Council campaign aimed at reducing fatal collisions on the county’s roads. The Fatal Five campaign, backed by Avon and Somerset Police and led by Somerset Council’s road safety team, highlights the key behaviours which can contribute to serious or fatal collisions.

Data shows 30 people died while travelling on Somerset’s roads in 2023 – approximately 43% up on the figure for 2022 and the highest number of fatalities in 10 years. In four of the incidents more than one person died. The council says there is no particular cause or issue thought to be responsible for the increase, but according to Avon and Somerset Police, 76% of the collisions involve one or more of the following five behaviours:

  • Intoxicated driving (drink or drugs)
  • Careless or inconsiderate driving
  • Excessive speed Mobile phone use or distraction
  • Failing to wear a seatbelt

The council says a further concerning factor is that nearly half of the fatal collisions were caused by a vehicle crossing into the path of another one. Of the 30 fatal casualties, 11 were car drivers, 12 motorcyclists, four were car passengers and three were pedestrians.

Cllr Richard Wilkins, Somerset Council’s lead member for transport and digital, said: “The rise in fatalities is deeply disturbing so it is vital we try to save lives and encourage people to avoid these ‘Fatal Five’ behaviours as road users. With the Fatal Five campaign we want to raise awareness and influence behaviour.

“In addition, our Road Safety Team has increased their activities significantly in response to these figures, with 41,000 face-to-face interventions with people in Somerset in 2023, more than ever before – from school children and young, inexperienced drivers, to older drivers looking to refresh their skills.”

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