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Police arrest 51 drivers in a week as part of safety campaign after 13 people were killed in accidents on Kent roads in August


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There has been a huge spike in fatal road accidents in Kent, according to figures obtained by a Freedom of Information request.

Thirteen people died in road-related tragedies in the county during August - out of a total of 33 fatalities this year.

Kent Police’s Medway Community Safety Unit carried out road safety checks. Picture: Kent Police
Kent Police’s Medway Community Safety Unit carried out road safety checks. Picture: Kent Police

July saw the next highest figure, at six, while there were five in June, four in May and three in April.

The police data, published after the FOI request by KentOnline, revealed there were no deaths recorded in road accidents in February and March and two in January.

August's death toll was in stark contrast to the same month in previous years, with seven fatalities last August and three in August 2018.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said the increase in deaths was cause for concern.

"During lockdown there was a concerning rise in speeding, with some drivers seemingly believing that quieter roads gave them license to break the law," he said.

Additional camera vans detected 1,888 vehicles speeding and 64 without a seatbelt
Additional camera vans detected 1,888 vehicles speeding and 64 without a seatbelt

"This was not the case then and is certainly not the case now, with busier roads and children travelling to school again.

"Driving is a privilege, not a right, and those who drive on the roads must follow the law and the speed limits at all times or face harsh penalties.

“As lockdown has eased, the number of people killed or seriously injured on roads in Kent has increased, which is a serious cause for concern.

"Every death or serious injury on the road is a preventable tragedy. Drivers must be wary of increased traffic levels and look out for the most vulnerable on our roads, children, the elderly and people walking and cycling."

In April, with the country under strict lockdown measures due to coronavirus, the total number of road accidents in Kent fell to 370 - easily the lowest monthly total this year.

Fatal road accidents jumped from two in January to 13 in August, according to Kent Police data
Fatal road accidents jumped from two in January to 13 in August, according to Kent Police data

The number has steadily increased, with 490 reported in May, 637 in June and 757 in July, dropping to 650 in August.

Earlier this month, 51 motorists were arrested and more than 1,800 were spotted speeding in Kent as part of a one-week national road safety campaign.

Increased road checks and stop checks by Special Costables were carried out by Kent Police between September 14 and 20.

During that week, 17 people were arrested on suspicion of drink driving, nine were arrested on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drugs, 17 were arrested on suspicion of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs and six were arrested on suspicion of failing to provide a breath specimen for analysis.

Of the other 170 motorists stopped, 89 were given speeding tickets, 16 were given warnings for driving standards, 12 were not wearing a seatbelt and four were on the phone while driving.

"A car in the wrong hands can be a deadly weapon and the consequences of dangerous driving can be devastating."

Additional camera vans detected 1,888 vehicles speeding and 64 drivers without a seatbelt.

The campaign's purpose was to set a strong reminder to motorists of their responsibility to drive safely while the traffic volumes increase as more people get behind the wheel after lockdown restrictions were eased.

Chief Inspector Rhiannan Pepper of the Kent Police Roads Policing Unit said: "Our officers are out every day with the intention to make our roads safer and this initiative helped us to highlight the importance of safe motoring.

"A life lost on the road is a tragic waste and our message is simple, slow down, don’t drink and drive and don’t use a phone at the wheel.

"A car in the wrong hands can be a deadly weapon and the consequences of dangerous driving can be devastating."

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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