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Big rise in serious crashes on Kent and Medway's roads blamed on Sheppey Crossing pile-up

By KentOnline reporter

New figures have revealed a big rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads in Kent and Medway.

There were as many as 650 casualties in the county last year, compared to 575 in 2012 – a 13% increase.

County transport bosses are blaming the huge Sheppey Crossing crash – a pile-up involving 130 vehicles in thick fog last September – for the hike.

Emergency vehicles flank the scene of the crash on the Sheppey Crossing

They are also claiming a rise in serious motorbike crashes is partly down to a long, hot summer that enticed more riders out onto Kent's roads.

Kent's Casualty Reduction Group – made up of emergency services, local authorities and highways bosses – said the number of people killed or seriously injured in the decade to 2010 has halved.

David Brazier, Kent County Council's cabinet member for transport, said: "We work hard to make sure our roads are as safe as they can be. Supporting healthy living and keeping the Kent economy moving are key priorities for the county council.

"While the long-term trend for killed and seriously-injured crashes is downward we are concerned about the increase recorded last year.

"Research shows that education and enforcement are the two areas that have the biggest impact in reducing these life-changing events.

"We have recently reviewed and developed our approach to further reduce crashes over the next six years – with the aim of lowering KSI crashes in Kent by 33% and a 40% reduction in child crashes by 2020.

"It is essential that we all recognise the way we drive, ride or walk plays a huge part in avoiding us or our dependents becoming a road casualty."

Cllr David Brazier, cabinet member for transport

Meanwhile, Kent Police is enforcing a summertime crackdown on drink-driving.

Sgt Hannah Brown said: "The largest increase this year has been in incidents where drivers or riders or pedestrians have failed to look or judge another person’s speed correctly, or made a poor manoeuvre.

"Watch your speed, and drive to the conditions. Whether you are behind the wheel, on your bike or crossing the road on foot, ensure you stay alert and don't be distracted."

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