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Campaign aims to tackle safety on rural roads

PUBLISHED: 13:56 23 October 2015 | UPDATED: 13:56 23 October 2015

A car on a rural country road in Norfolk.

Picture: James Bass

A car on a rural country road in Norfolk. Picture: James Bass

(C) Archant Norfolk 2015

A campaign has been launched to help make rural roads safer as it was revealed 136 lives were lost in accidents in the region last year.

The Department for Transport (DfT)’s THINK! road safety scheme is aiming to raise awareness of the main dangers through its Helpful Hazards campaign.

In Norfolk in 2014 there were 37 deaths on country roads and a further 221 people seriously injured. In the same period there were 26 deaths and 125 seriously injured in Suffolk.

Now the DfT is trying to make people aware of the risks on country roads and how to reduce them.

Nationally, about a third of deaths on rural roads were at a bend and a survey has shown that 22pc of drivers in the region brake too late when approaching bends.

Road safety minister Andrew Jones said: “Every injury and death on our roads is a tragedy and that is why the new THINK! country road campaign is so important. We want the public to anticipate potential hazards on the road when driving in the countryside, to watch their speed and take care when approaching a bend.”

Jon Clemo, chief executive of Community Action Norfolk, said it can be difficult for smaller roads to get the investment they often need.

He said: “Our rural B roads and smaller roads are the most deadly in Norfolk. For the most part they are necessary to drive to work or services and they are important not just for individuals but for businesses too.

“Another challenge is that a lot of investment discussions, which look at roads from a development and safety point of view, are often based around frequency of traffic.

“Rural roads are not always a priority for investment and safety measures. They are less frequently used but no less important.”

Norfolk County Council has discussed a trial of 40mph speed limits on rural roads in a bid to lower the number of accidents.

n Meanwhile, drivers are being warned to watch out for deer on Norfolk’s rural roads as the nights start drawing in. Collisions involving the animals peak during the autumn breeding season, between October and November, when stags become more territorial and aggressive, and young deer disperse from their breeding areas.

The A1065, B1106, A1066, A134, B1107, and A11 in and around Thetford Forest have been named as hotspots. Up to 700 people are injured and between 10 and 20 killed each year, while more than 70,000 deer are also hurt or killed.

How do you think our rural roads could be made safer? Write to edpletters@archant.co.uk

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