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‘Irresponsible driving’ leads to rise in deaths
7:00pm Wednesday 30th January 2013 in News
THE number of people killed on Oxfordshire’s roads has risen, prompting calls for tougher measures to tackle bad drivers.
End-of-year figures have revealed 28 people died in road traffic collisions in Oxfordshire in 2012, an increase of two on 2011’s figure of 26.
However, the message appears to be getting through to young people. Of those killed, six were aged 25 or under, compared to 11 in the previous year.
Meanwhile, the number of people badly hurt on the county’s roads has dropped.
Statistics from Oxfordshire County Council showed there were 190 people seriously injured, compared to 270 in 2011.
Thames Valley Police has promised to “work with a vengence” to reduce the numbers of deaths.
Bicester resident Jeff Webb’s 19-year-old son Neil died when he was a passenger in a friend’s car when it crashed head-on with a BMW in Ardley in 2010.
He said individuals must take more responsibility when driving, and that insurance companies should punish bad drivers more.
Mr Webb said: “I think putting trackers in cars would cut accidents. Make people take responsibility and think of the other cars on the road more, particularly the younger drivers. Hit them in the pocket.
“The trackers would feed back to insurance companies how the drivers were on the roads, and where bad drivers could have their premiums revoked, good drivers would be rewarded.”
Sam McNally, 20 of Witney, lost his close friend Callum MacKinnon in a crash in September, 2010.
Mr Mackinnon, 18, was killed when the driver of the car he was in rounded a bend on a country road too quickly.
Stephen Hocknell, then 21, was banned from driving but avoided jail after being found guilty of causing death by careless driving at Oxford Crown Court.
Mr McNally said: “People often blame young drivers, but a lot of the time it is the elderly who cause the most problems.
“I think people should be made to retake their tests every 10 years. It’s not the roads that are at fault, it’s drivers, and they should be targeted.”
Chief Insp Henry Parsons, of the Joint Roads Policing Unit, said: “These numbers are too high. Each number has real people on the end of it and the impact of this can’t be underestimated.
“The reasons the figures are not zero are because there are still people who don’t respect each other’s journeys and use the roads irresponsibly. Some people still use their phones whilst driving, fail to wear their seatbelts, don’t maintain their vehicles safely and drive too fast.
“They kill people across the country on a daily basis.”
County council deputy leader Rodney Rose said his priority was ensuring the roads were kept in as best shape as possible.
He said: “Skimping on things like white line painting and repairs causes huge problems in their own right and they can also contribute to deaths.”
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