ROAD deaths have reached their lowest levels in more than 30 years, according to new figures published by a police force.
Durham Constabulary said fatalities on the roads in its area have dropped to the lowest number since police boundaries changed 36 years ago.
A total of 16 people died in road traffic accidents during 2010, two down on the previous low of 18, recorded in 2009.
Inspector Ken Cook, of the joint Cleveland and Durham Strategic Roads Policing Department, said; “While we are obviously delighted that we have managed to reduce the number of fatal collisions on our roads, every fatal road traffic accident is one too many.
“Our absolute priority remains to reduce this number even further in the coming years.”
The 16 fatalities were six pedestrians, five vehicle drivers, two motor cyclists, a passenger in a car, a bus driver and the rider of an electric wheelchair.
Inspector Cook added: “The main causes of fatal and serious accidents are still excessive speed, failing to wear a seat belt, driving while under the influence of drink or drugs and lapses in driver concentration.
“However, there is only one common denominator to all of these areas, and that is the driver.
“Tragically, last year, 16 families had to face up to the reality of losing a loved one as a result of a traffic collision on our roads, an unimaginable loss.
“The fact remains that most of the fatalities which do take place on our roads are avoidable.
“While we continue to work tirelessly with our partners to reduce the number of serious or fatal accidents, we cannot achieve this priority without the full help and support of our motoring public.
“We look to drivers to help by making a concerted and continued commitment to behaving responsibly on our roads at all times.”
Durham’s road policing unit is due to be shared with Cleveland from April as part of the forces’ plans to share some operational functions.