FEATURE: Stay safe, stay alive on the roads

The scene of the fatal collison on Friday afternoon. EMN-150721-100233001
The scene of the fatal collison on Friday afternoon. EMN-150721-100233001

As the death toll on our roads continue to rise we speak to those aiming to make our time behind the wheel safer...

Shocking figures show the death toll from accidents on Lincolnshire’s roads currently stands at 28 for this year.

That is already up around 30 per cent on 2015’s figures with 20 deaths recorded over the same period.

Figures from Lincolnshire Police show that six of these were in the Grantham area, three in the Boston area, four in Sleaford and three in Horncastle.

The figures increased from three to four in Market Rasen at the time of writing this article when 71-year-old Vera Tranter died in a collision with a van in Mill Road on September 1.

While the majority of these crashes are still being investigated and family liaison officers are working to help the bereaved come to terms with their losses, efforts are continually being made to improve safety on our roads.

We spoke to Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership to discuss what can be done to help keep us safe.

While not speaking about any specific incident, John Siddle, for Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “All incidents are thoroughly investigated. We will look to see if there is anything we can do to improve safety in the areas. Were they blinded by the sun? Was visibility obscured by the trees or hedgerows? Was there sap on the road? Investigators will look at the road surface and do friction tests. If the driver brakes, is the surface good enough for them to stop in time? We will put our recommendations in if we feel there needs to be improvements. Sometimes the coroner will put in recommendations. It may also be a recommendation to improve lighting or put in bollards.”

The partnership also listens to public recommendations and feedback from local councils to see what can be done to prevent incidents.

With the children back at school and for many this being the first time they have had to make their own way to school, drivers are being urged to be extra vigilant.

Mr Siddle reminds people to plan their journeys, keep a good distance from the car in front and not to speed if you are late.

“It’s better to apologise for being late than never arrive at all,” he added.

Another safety measure being looked at by the partnership is the requirement for cyclists to wear helmets and adequate clothing for people riding scooters and motorcycles.

“While it is compulsory in Australia and New Zealand to wear a helmet on a cycle it is still not something that is compulsory here. We did a campaign a little while ago which we called the melon drop which can be found on You Tube.

“This showed a melon put inside a cycle helmet and the effects of it splitting open when it crashed onto tarmac.”

The partnership runs regular driver training courses which are open to anyone who would like to refresh their skills.

While the dangers of drinking and driving, speeding and not wearing seatbelts are well documented, a re-occurring issue still seen is the number of people using mobile phones behind the wheel.

Mr Siddle said: “If you see drivers constantly looking down at their lap, you know they are using their phone. People are updating their social media or taking phone calls on a mobile while driving. When pulled over by police, they say they haven’t been using their phone and yet they’ve just tweeted that they are in a traffic jam. It begs the question what will it take? Does it take the fact they are hammering down the road at 60 miles an hour while on their phone and suffering a serious injury, or possibly killing someone else?”

A Boston-based firm is hoping its new technology called ICED will help combat the problem. Ubitrac, based in Gilbert Drive, showed how the Immobilise Communication Engagement Device can ‘freeze’ a driver’s phone when their speed is greater than 7mph.

Managing Director of Ubitrac Tony Foote said: “We are in talks with insurance companies and the hope is that they will be able to offer a discount for people who have this installed on their phones and it will hopefully reduce the number of accidents related to mobile phones on the roads.”

The total number of road fatalities on Lincolnshire roads from January 1 this year to date are: Grantham area 6 Sleaford 4 Market Rasen 4 Horncastle 3 Boston area 3 Lincoln 2 Bourne/Market Deeping 2 Alford 1 Spalding area 1 Gainsborough 1 Theddlethorpe 1.