Police welcome fewer road deaths
FATALITIES on North Yorkshire's roads have been slashed by twenty percent - including a mammoth thirty-eight percent decrease in deaths among motorcyclists.
"This is a big step in the right direction, but the job is by no means done," said head of Road Policing, Inspector Chris Charlton.
"We are still finalising and analysing the figures, but it is already emerging that young drivers and passengers make up a disproportionate number of those killed. It is clear that the efforts of the Police and all the other agencies involved in road safety must continue to focus on these road-users."
The most spectacular drop in fatalities is among motorcycle riders. 13 died last year, compared with 21 in 2005. This is the lowest total since 2001 and is being attributed to the success of North Yorkshire Police's unique mixture of training, persuasion - and hard-line enforcement.
The force has kept up its Bike Safe campaign, offering advanced riding guidance, together with a publicity roadshow which has attended events and rider meeting places across the county.
Inspector Charlton said: "The main thrust, though, has come from a tough enforcement policy. Extra patrols and extra checks, all backed by a well-publicised fast-track policy that can see extreme speeders stripped of their licences within a week of being caught - these are the key ingredients."
The drop in motorcycle deaths will be especially welcomed by residents of the Yorkshire Dales. Inexperienced riders are often attracted to our area by the network of challenging roads and local people constantly have to put up with the anti-social riding of a lunatic minority.
Two teenagers, one on a moped, the other riding a relatively small 125cc machine, were killed in 2006. All the other riders killed were adults on full-size machines, many of them powerful sports bikes.
This is a big step in the right direction, but the job is by no means done
Inspector Chris Charlton - North Yorkshire Police
Overall fatalities on the county's 6,000 miles of roads fell from 85 in 2005 to 68 last year, including the motorcyclist deaths.
Insp Charlton said enforcement played a large part, and the force was becoming ever-more efficient at targeting those who threaten other road-users' welfare.
"Improving intelligence leads us to better targeting of, for example, drink-drivers, and advanced technology effortlessly pinpoints untaxed and uninsured drivers for us - and it is the experience of Road Policing officers that drivers who will risk going out without tax, insurance or MoT Certificates are very often drivers whose vehicles are not roadworthy and who may well be under the influence of drink or drugs. These dangerous failings go together."
The force is currently working with North Yorkshire County Council to formulate its 2007 plan for policing our roads.