Hike in deaths on our roads

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THE number of people being killed or seriously injured on Wigan’s roads has rocketed by a quarter.

Figures released by the Department for Transport show that eight people were killed and 74 seriously injured in the borough in 2011. The total of 82 people killed or seriously injured represents a considerable rise from the figure of 62 fatal or serious incidents recorded in 2010.

However, the overall number of casualties on Wigan’s roads fell slightly to 672 from 678 the previous year.

In addition, Wigan had the fourth highest number of road deaths in Greater Manchester, equal with Trafford, and the fourth highest overall casualties figure, behind Manchester, Bolton and Salford.

The Department for Transport figures show that nationally Britain’s roads became more dangerous in 2011, with the overall numbers of deaths rising for the first time since 2003.

Nationally there was an increase in fatalities by three per cent from 1,850 to 1,901, while child deaths rose by nine per cent from 55 in 2010 to 60 in 2011 and pedestrian deaths were up 12 per cent.

However, the number of cyclists being killed on the roads fell by four per cent, but serious injuries rose by 16 per cent to more than 3,000.

The figures were criticised by charities such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which urged greater focus and more spending on road safety initiatives.

Its head of road safety Kevin Clinton said: “After a long period of deaths falling year on year, we are very disturbed that they have risen, particularly among children and pedestrians.

“RoSPA is concerned that reduced public spending on road safety, especially cuts to local authority and road policing budgets, may be partly to blame. The Government and the road safety profession need to urgently get together to understand why road deaths have now started to rise.

“It is crucial that the Government demonstrates strong leadership by examining what more it can do to help local authorities, the police and other bodies involved in road safety to re-focus and re-invigorate their services.”