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‘We try to bring sense to the chaos’ say police, as stats show rise in fatal and serious crashes in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:58 06 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:35 08 October 2018

Figures show fatal and serious crashes are on the rise in Norfolk. The A1066 just outside of Thetford was closed for 12 hours after a fatal crash on Tuesday night. PHOTO: Simon Parkin

Figures show fatal and serious crashes are on the rise in Norfolk. The A1066 just outside of Thetford was closed for 12 hours after a fatal crash on Tuesday night. PHOTO: Simon Parkin

Archant

A police inspector has described the reality of dealing with fatal accidents, as figures reveal more people are being killed and injured on Norfolk’s roads.

"We try to bring sense to the chaos," said DI Chris Hinitt from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show 418 people were killed or seriously injured on Norfolk’s roads in 2017, an increase from 406 in 2016, as well as 385 in 2015 and the average of 366 between 2010 and 2014.

DI Chris Hinitt, from the roads and armed policing team, said his team was doing everything they could to cut fatalities on the roads.

He said: “I’ve got staff members who for 18 years have been going to collisions, day in day out.

“It’s our job, and while it’s not the most pleasant thing in the world, and we do see some horrible things, we try to bring some sense to the chaos.

Karen Seaward's 15-year-old daughter Martha was killed crossing the A148 near Sheringham Park in January 2014. She has been campaigning ever since for safety improvements. Picture: MARK BULLIMOREKaren Seaward's 15-year-old daughter Martha was killed crossing the A148 near Sheringham Park in January 2014. She has been campaigning ever since for safety improvements. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

“We try to explain to the family why someone may have been involved, and bring some justice to people who cause accidents.”

Last year 30 people were killed and 388 people seriously injured in Norfolk, including one child killed and 21 hospitalised.

This is despite the total number of road casualties in the county decreasing from an average of 2,463 incidents to 2,432 last year.

And in Suffolk, 298 people were killed or seriously injured in road accidents last year, with 33 people killed and 265 seriously injured, including 28 children hospitalised.

15-year-old Martha Seaward was hit by a lorry on the A148 in January 2014. Photo by Mark Bullimore/supplied by the Seaward family.15-year-old Martha Seaward was hit by a lorry on the A148 in January 2014. Photo by Mark Bullimore/supplied by the Seaward family.

This is a slight drop from 307 in 2016, a significant rise from 2017 in 2015, and a decrease from 303, the yearly average from 2010 to 2014. Road casualties in Suffolk have decreased by 11pc, to 2,139.

“What we tend to see is a slight decrease in the number of fatal accidents but a slight increase in the number of serious injuries.

“It might be due to response times: that we’re getting to people quicker, and they’re getting medical treatment quicker.

“People are also now taken directly to Addenbrookes.

“But 418 is still 418 too many.

“I don’t like the fact it’s gone up, and we are doing everything we can to reduce them.”

RAC road safety spokesperson, Pete Williams, described the figures as “sobering reading” and said: “Numbers killed on the roads remain stubbornly high.”

The DfT figures come after a 17-year-old girl died after a crash on the A140 on Wednesday and a man in his 20s died earlier the same day after a crash on the A1066 on Tuesday night which saw the road closed for 12 hours.

Police have confirmed a driver in his 40s died following in a crash in Kirby Cane, near Loddon early this morning.

He was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) but subsequently died of his injuries.

Mother of 15-year-old killed in crash calls on councils to act on safety

The mother of a 15-year-old girl who was killed on the A148 has spoken about the dangers of Norfolk’s roads.

Karen Seaward’s daughter Martha died when she was in collision with a lorry near Sheringham in January 2014.

Mrs Seaward, 48, now runs the Fakenham craft cafe, Martha & Me, named after her daughter, has campaigned to improve road safety in the county since her death.

She said: “I think there’s too much focus on relying on police cameras to send out six penalty notices for speeding when there are not enough officers to deal with offences.

“The county council, in part due to the cuts, are just not willing to spend money on road safety or to install traffic calming measures on roads they know are dangerous and where we’ve been calling for them for a long time.”

Mrs Seaward, from Holt, added: “There’s an unwillingness to accept that there are more vehicles on the roads and the number of accidents has risen. It’s a county-wide problem.”

Have you or someone you know been affected by a crash on Norfolk’s roads? Email reporter Jessica.Frank-Keyes@archant.co.uk

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