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Road Accidents

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Statistics from the New Department of Transport have revealed the number of fatal accidents has risen by 7% compared to 2010.

There have been 940 deaths on British roads during the first six months of 2011, compared to last year around the same time where there were 881 people who lost their lives.

The figures have been released as reviews are taking place whether or not increasing the limit from 70mph to 80mph on the motorways will happen and is safe.

Andrew Howard, the AA's head of road safety, said: “The rise in deaths in the first quarter of 2011 was, at least, understandable, as the awful weather from January to March 2010 kept people off the roads.

“But the rise in the second quarter of this year is of much greater concern.

“I am alarmed about this upward turn. It seems that cuts to road maintenance and road safety budgets and to traffic policing are beginning to bite.”

The current speed limit of 70mph was first introduced in 1965; the argument is that cars are safer these days with better modern technologies.

Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond spoke about increasing the speed limit in September with the hope in introducing the limit increase by 2013, the new figures of fatalities could be a deciding factor whether the increase will go ahead.

Hammond faced scrutiny from road safety campaigners that cars will be less fuel efficient if driving at a higher speed.

Hammond said: “It is time to put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies and look again at the motorway speed limit which is nearly 50 years old, and out of date thanks to huge advances in safety and motoring technology.

“Increasing the motorway speed limit to 80mph would generate economic benefits of hundreds of millions of pounds through shorter journey times.

“So we will consult later this year on raising the limit to get Britain moving.”

However the new statistics have shown the current limit is still a cause for accidents with experts fearing the figures that have been released for this year could increase if the limit was to be set to 80mph.

Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, added: “The rise in deaths this year should sound alarm bells for ministers.

“The increase has occurred at a time when the economy continued to flat line.

“While some of the overall fall in deaths over the last few years was related to the recession, this rise suggests that key messages about safe road use are having less effect among road users.”

Next year’s figures are hoping to prove a decrease in the number of deaths, minor injuries and serious injuries on the British Roads with the help of motorists being extra cautious.


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By Amanda Bainbridge