The number of people killed or seriously injured on East Sussex’s roads jumped by almost 15 per cent in 2014.
Out of the 388 total, up 14.5 per cent from 2013, 16 people were killed between January and December 2014 according to a report presented to East Sussex County Council’s Full Council at County Hall in Lewes on Tuesday.
Public Health has allocated £1m towards reducing the number in East Sussex for a three-year programme of targeted activity. The county council is currently working up a draft programme.
Carl Maynard (Con, Brede Valley and Marsham), lead member for transport and environment, explained that 90 per cent of crashes were caused by driver behaviour and that they were working on a sensible targeted campaign with young drivers most at risk.
He added: “On lowering speed limits we need to do that with a proper evidence base and signs work in a very limited amount of cases.”
Francis Whetstone (Con, Forest Row) talked about the death of two motorcyclists in a collision last year in his division and described how the inquest had heard they were travelling at 72 miles an hour when the incident happened.
However he felt it was very difficult to see how they could enforce speed limits without a massive police presence.
Philip Howson (UKIP, Peacehaven and Telscombe Towns) said they needed to talk to their MPs about changes in legislation around insurance for young drivers, and felt that most accidents came down to inexperience.
He added: “Many young people are able to buy fast cars or cars they can soup up. These small cars can do 100 and 120 miles per hour. I think that’s crazy and criminal.”
Meanwhile John Barnes (Con, Rother North West) thought it should be much more difficult for people to get their driving qualifications, and said: “The driving test is a sham. It’s a test of how you actually pass it.”
Richard Stogdon (Con, Crowborough) told councillors the only time the figures had gone down in Wealden was when in 2011 a major exercise called Operation Triangle had pushed enforcement. He added: “It seems to me that is something we are going to have to do periodically and we are not doing periodically enough to get these figures down.”
Stuart Earl (Ind, Bexhill West) felt that parents had a responsibility to ensure they drove safely.
He said: “All of us try to do more for our children, buying a car for them at 17. You are buying a lethal weapon that can kill and does kill.”
Lastly Stephen Shing (Ind Dem, Polegate, Willingdon and East Dean) added: “Drivers of all ages should be more responsible, not just the young.”
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