North Yorkshire Police has praised motorists after new figures showed the number of people killed and seriously injured on its roads dropped by almost 16% during the decade.
Officers say changing driver behaviour is largely responsible, following a raft of education and enforcement campaigns, and thanked motorists for “working with us to cut casualties”.
The county’s figures buck the trend of a 12% rise across England and Wales during the same period – between 2010 and 2017.
It also puts North Yorkshire Police fourth in the country at reducing fatal and serious-injury crashes during the period.
In 2010, 553 people died or were seriously hurt on North Yorkshire’s roads. But by 2017, the number had been progressively reduced to 465 – 88 fewer people.
North Yorkshire Police has worked closely with other organisations, and says partnership working and a mix of education and enforcement has played a key role.
The findings were published by the Department for Transport in its Road Safety Data October 2018 report.
Andy Tooke, of North Yorkshire Police’s Traffic Bureau, said: “Crashes involving deaths and serious injuries in our county have consistently fallen throughout this decade.
"The way people drive inevitably plays a big part in that, so we’d like to thank motorists for working with us to cut casualties and achieve such a significant reduction over a number of years.
“When we talk about casualty figures, it’s important to remember we’re talking about real people and real lives.
"We’re talking about 88 fewer families that have to receive a knock on the door and the horrific news that a loved one has been killed or suffered life-changing injuries in a collision.”
He added: “While many factors can contribute towards fatal and serious-injury collisions, driver behaviour is consistently one of the most significant factors.
“Throughout this decade, we’ve been educating drivers through things like operational activities, media campaigns and speed awareness courses, along side the use of enforcement techniques such as mobile safety cameras and highly proactive drink and drug driving enforcement.
“These figures suggest the strategy we’ve adopted is working and we are cutting casualties at a time when they’re actually increasing nationally.
“But we still have a lot of work to do – a single road death is one too many. Reducing casualties on our roads remains one of North Yorkshire Police’s top priorities, and we’ll continue to use a mix of education and enforcement to encourage motorists to drive more carefully.”
The force introduced its first safety camera van in 2011 and the fleet now stands at 12 vans and a motorcycle. They are deployed to areas based on the risk of serious collisions and concerns about speeding in communities.
Mobile safety cameras have been independently proven to reduce road casualties in North Yorkshire by 20% at the locations they are deployed to.
In the same period, North Yorkshire Police has also run high-profile road safety campaigns and operations aimed at a range of road uses.
This includes annual drink and drug driving campaigns, 2016’s Born Again Biker campaign and its current campaign, If You Saw What I Saw… in which police officers share their first-hand experience of dealing with crashes to influence driver behaviour.
It also includes policing operations – carried out by frontline officers during the period – such as:
Op Confiscate: Taking illegal motorbike and moped riders off the road
Op Attention: Tackling drink and drug driving
Op Safe Pass: Protecting cyclists
Op Spartan: Using intelligence supplied by members of the public to educate vulnerable road users and prosecute dangerous drivers
Project Edward: Supporting an annual day without any road deaths across Europe
Op Tramline: Improving safety among lorry drivers
Roads Policing Inspector Dave Barf, of the Collision Investigation Team, said North Yorkshire Police will continue to protect road users, in particular vulnerable groups such as motorcyclists. So far in 2018, there have been more biker fatalities in North Yorkshire than during the entirety of 2017.
“Sadly despite the general downward trend so far this year has seen a rise in the number of motorcyclists killed on the roads of North Yorkshire,” he said.
“I’m saddened by each and every death we experience on our roads. Each one unexpected and each one devastating for those involved and those left behind.
"It’s a fact that some of these collisions could have been prevented – it’s about skilling yourself to survive, such as coming along to a Bikesafe course. These can be booked via the national website at www.bikesafe.co.uk/
“This isn’t marketed as a solution to all ills but it’s hoped that during the day each of those present learns something which may help them keep out of danger or trouble in the future.
“If you saw what we see when we attend fatal and serious injury crashes, you’d understand why we want you to do everything possible to avoid them.”