THE NUMBER of people killed or seriously injured on South Yorkshire’s roads last year is the lowest since records began in 1979.
But in 2010 there were still 34 deaths on the county’s roads and 401 serious injuries.
Of those killed, 15 were travelling in cars, six were on motorcyles or scooters, three were in HGVs and two were using other modes of transport.
The victims include pals Robert Tepper, aged 17, Lauren Birkett, 16, both from Mexborough and Jonathan Scott, 17, from Conisbrough, who were all killed when their car tried to overtake another vehicle on Adwick Road, Mexborough, on December 27.
The figures were released by the South Yorkshire Safer Roads partnership – a multi-agency group set up to tackle road deaths and injuries.
The group consists of police, the four local councils, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, NHS, University of Sheffield, Passenger Transport Executive, Highways Agency and the Peak District National Park Authority.
Chief Superintendent Keith Lumley, from South Yorkshire Police, who is chairman of the partnership, said: “We are pleased we are continuing to achieve a reduction in the number of fatal and life-threatening collisions in South Yorkshire.
“However, although these figures have improved dramatically since county-wide figures were first recorded in 1979, we still need to do more.
“Behind each of these statistics is a grieving family or someone coming to terms with a life-changing injury and the Safer Roads Partnership will strive to do all we can with the resources available to continue to further reduce casualties in 2011 and beyond.”
The figures for 2010 are encouraging but 2011 got off to a tragic start with a second triple-fatal smash on the A630 at Conisbrough on January 30.
Antonia Brown, 14, from Balby, Michael Gallagher, 16, from Warmsworth, and Tom Hughes, 14, of Bessacarr, were killed when the silver Honda Civic they were travelling in smashed into a tree and ripped in half.
Compared to 2009 when there were 37 deaths and 493 people injured, the latest figures show a reduction of 95 fewer people killed or seriously injured.
Ken Wheat, South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership manager, said: “Back in March 2000, the Government published its road safety strategy and casualty reduction targets for 2010.
“Our target for South Yorkshire was 439 people killed or seriously injured – a 40 per cent reduction from the 1994-98 average of 732.
“To have met this target is very satisfying and reflects the hard work and dedication of all those working in the field over the years.
“In addition I would also like to thank the public of South Yorkshire who have played a key role in helping us to reach this target.”
Research shows the main causes of collisions were failure to look properly, failure to judge another person’s path or speed, irresponsible driving, speed, and poor turns or manoeuvres.
Chf Supt Lumley said: “We will also target those drivers who speed, drink and drive, drive while under the influence of drugs, illegally use mobile phones, don’t wear seatbelts or drive in a dangerous manner through enforcement to prosecution.
“Each tragedy and its subsequent human cost reminds us we should be constantly seeking to improve our targeting of scarce resources into those activities that have the most impact. We need to improve research techniques so we gain an ever deeper and broader understanding of the circumstances that surround a collision.”