The manager of the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership said that despite traffic volumes being reduced by around 20 per cent last year due to the coronavirus lockdown, 30 fatalities were still recorded.
Joanne Wehrle said: “For every death on our roads, there is a family suffering the unbearable loss of a loved one and we cannot underestimate the impact this loss will have on them for the rest of their lives.”
Department for Transport casualty statistics show that 2,644 people were injured in collisions in South Yorkshire in 2020, which was 18 per cent lower than in 2019.
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The number of people killed or seriously injured reduced by 31 per cent compared with the previous year and slight injury numbers dropped by 13 per cent.
While casualties in the first lockdown months of March, April and May were down compared with the same time period in previous years, the easing of restrictions in the summer resulted in 13 per cent more casualties in August 2020 in South Yorkshire when compared to 2019.
Overall, there were fewer pedal cyclist casualties than the previous year in 2020.
“The reduction in the number of casualties is very much consistent with the impact of lockdown on traffic volumes on our roads,” added Joanne.
“We’d like to thank all those members of the public who followed Government advice and stuck to the essential travel restrictions.
“By keeping our roads clear, you without doubt helped to save lives and protected our NHS at a time of unprecedented demand.”
Superintendent Paul McCurry, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “It is positive that in South Yorkshire in 2020, overall casualty numbers reduced by 18 per cent. However, we must take into account that this period includes a number of national lockdowns which resulted in much less traffic on our roads.
“South Yorkshire Police continues to promote road safety and target areas of concern which are known hotspots for serious collisions. At the heart of all of our campaigns are the key elements which contribute to the fatal four - speeding, using a mobile phone at the wheel, not wearing a seatbelt and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“We actively encourage communities to participate in local Speedwatch initiatives to target any roads of concern with regards to speeding.”
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Every life lost on the roads is one too many. Whilst it is encouraging to see casualties have reduced over the last year we also have to consider that the amount of traffic was severely reduced during lockdowns.
“Over the last 12 months I have had many conversations with representatives of town and parish councils. These conversations have been dominated by concerns around road safety and speeding. As more people have been spending time in the homes and villages they have noticed vehicles speeding and potentially posing a danger
“I will be supporting the South Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership by ensuring that road safety issues are highlighted in my forthcoming Police and Crime Plan with the aim of continuing to reduce serious and fatal road traffic accidents within South Yorkshire.”