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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Police bid to cut number of road crashes in north Cumbria

Alarmingly high crash rates have triggered a road safety operation in rural north Cumbria.

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Safety Fears: The A69 through Warwick Bridge

Analysis has found that the area covered by police based at Brampton has the county’s highest number of collisions.

In previous years those figures have tended to hit their peak during December.

They are statistics that have prompted officers to take action to show drivers how to stay safe.

Inspector Dan St Quintin, who is newly in charge in Brampton, is determined to tackle the issue.

He said: “We are not trying pick on people. We are trying to educate people and reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured in December.

“If we don’t do something it is going to go through the roof.”

Officers are monitoring driving on the area’s roads and talking to any drivers who they believe needs advice.

In 2012 there have been 69 collisions that have resulted in serious injury in the Brampton policing area, which includes Brampton, Longtown, Dalston, Alston and surrounding rural areas. By comparison, there have been nine in the whole of the Cumbrian part of the M6.

The A69 is singled out for particular concern. So far this year on the Cumbrian part of the A69, which links Carlisle and Newcastle, there have been 15 crashes in which people have been killed or seriously injured – a rate of more than one a month.

In addition, there was a further incident just across the Northumberland border in Greenhead, which Brampton’s officers were the first to attend.

Other roads highlighted as having a high collision rate include the B6071 and Esk Street in Longtown, the A69 between Warwick Bridge and Carlisle and roads around Scaleby and Houghton.

However, Insp St Quintin is keen to stress that the whole of the area is being targeted.

“I don’t know what is causing it but it has the worst rate in Cumbria for serious and fatal crashes during December,” he added.

One of the officers taking part in the safety drive is PC Sam Butler. He encouraged people to take care on the roads and, particularly, to watch their speed.

PC Butler pointed out that travelling even slightly over the speed limit can make a huge difference to the result of a collision. “People need to think about their driving very carefully, especially in the winter,” he said.

Information on winter driving can be found via the police website www.cumbria.police.uk.

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