03 February 2015
Thames Valley police reveal rise in fatal road accidents
New police figures reveal there was a 20% rise in the number of fatal road accidents in the Thames Valley area in 2014 than the previous year.
Out of 72 road traffic accidents in 2014, 78 people lost their lives in the area – a rise of 21 compared with the 57 who died in 2013.
It is tremendously disappointing that the number of fatal accidents involving HGV and car drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and car passengers has risen by this much in the space of just two years.
One small comfort is that the number of deaths involving motorcyclists and light goods vehicle drivers and passengers has gone down.
It’s often the case where we, as Personal Injury Solicitors, are instructed by bereaved families that we work closely with Thames Valley Police Family Liaison officers, who are appointed to provide support to grieving families. As such we see at first hand the untold distress and misery these accidents cause the families who are left behind.
The causes of fatal road accidents are numerous, with many still under investigation, but each and every one of these statistics represents a bereaved family forced to deal with the sudden tragic and very often violent death of their loved one.
Many fatal accidents involve criminal investigations for causing death by dangerous driving or death by careless driving.
Some argue that drivers who kill and maim pedestrians and other road users due to dangerous or careless driving should be taken off the road once they are charged, as a condition of bail.
Prosecutions can often take many months to come to court and in many cases the driver charged with causing the accident is able to continue driving, potentially putting other people at risk. This can obviously be incredibly offensive and insensitive to grieving families and those who may have suffered serious injuries as a result of the driver’s actions.
Many road safety campaigners take issue with the existence of careless driving charges as the term “careless” when the offence results in the death or maiming of the victim, is deemed particularly offensive.
Road safety charity Brake believe careless driving charges should be scrapped and prosecutions should instead involve charges of Dangerous Driving, Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, and Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving.
Brake believe these charges should carry a full range of penalties up to the maximum of at least five years, and 14 years in prison respectively, together with an unlimited fine depending on the severity of the offence.
Last year, 20 people died in road traffic accidents in Buckinghamshire, 19 people died in Berkshire, 12 in Milton Keynes and 27 in Oxfordshire.
Slater and Gordon offer a free consultation for people injured in road traffic accidents through no fault of their own. Contact us here and we'll be happy to help you.