A ‘LIFE-SAVING’ safety plan to significantly reduce deaths on Barnsley’s road network has been set out - after it was revealed dozens of motorists and pedestrians lost their lives in the last decade and more than 1,000 were injured.
The figures, from the Department for Transport (DfT), show eight people died last year - a 60 per cent hike on the previous year’s five fatalities.
A total of 75 people have died on Barnsley’s roads as a result of a collision since 2012, with considerably more occurring in the last five years.
It has prompted Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Police to sign up to Vision Zero, a scheme which has a target of a 50 per cent reduction by 2030 before attempting to hit a zero-death target 20 years later.
Through the Vision Zero strategy, members of the partnership deliver road safety education programmes, casualty reduction travel schemes, investments in road improvements and public engagement through behaviour change campaigns.
Tom Finnegan-Smith, from South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP), said: “These figures are a stark reminder that hundreds of lives are changed every year because of a collision on our roads.
“Behind every statistic there is a family or loved one torn apart by pain and grief.
“These numbers are about people - whether they are motorcyclists, pedestrians, drivers or cyclists - who have set off on a journey and in some cases never come home.
“We all have the power to change this - by travelling to the speed limit, putting away our mobile phones, taking extra time at junctions and safely passing cyclists, we can stop people being killed or seriously hurt on our roads.
“Vision Zero is widely regarded as the most effective approach to saving lives on our roads.
“We want to be sure that as a partnership we are doing everything we can to prevent unnecessary loss of life and the pain, grief and suffering caused by each and every road traffic collision.
“It’s a long-term ambition and will take a lot of hard work but any other target is simply unacceptable.
“To achieve our vision we will continue to develop and invest in our education, engineering and enforcement programmes to ensure we are making our system as safe as possible.
“Mistakes will always happen - we are only human - but if our speed is appropriate, we’re not distracted, our vehicles are safe and our roads are well maintained, we’ve got the best possible chance of avoiding serious injury should a collision occur.”
The DfT also revealed 1,304 road-related injuries have been recorded in Barnsley over the same ten-year period, with last year’s 131 - representing a three-year high - being put down to traffic returning to pre-pandemic levels.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, added: “When comparing the data with pre-pandemic levels, we can see that the numbers are reducing, however much more needs to be done.
“The lasting damage caused by road collisions can be greatly reduced by making vehicles safer, making roads safer, reducing speed and having an improved response when collisions happen.
“I urge all drivers to think about their safety and the safety of other road users by driving within the speed limits and helping to make roads safer.
“I also urge people to put away, if not switch off entirely, their mobile phones when travelling.
“Using a phone is illegal for a good reason: it distracts sufficiently for a driver to make a serious error.”
Targets will be reviewed annually, with Barnsley’s six area councils also playing a role in the scheme - by discussing localised concerns - to drive down statistics.
Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, said: “Ensuring the safety of all road users is of paramount importance.
“Although there will inevitably be fluctuations on yearly stats, the overall trend over the past decade is a reduction in casualties.
“We will continue to take the necessary steps to accelerate this trend and to improve the safety of our highway network for all road users.”