Wealden road death rate one of ‘worst’ in South East

One of Wealden's roads
One of Wealden's roads

Shock figures show there are more people killed and seriously injured on Wealden’s roads than elsewhere in the South East.

While giving Wealden the thumbs up for the overall health of its residents, Public Health England points out that Wealden does ‘significantly worse’ than the South East average in terms of people killed or injured on the District’s roads.

The information is contained in a report to Wealden District councillors. In a Public Health England health summary for Wealden, the district achieved a ‘black spot’ under the heading: ‘killed and seriously injured on roads’ and is marked as one of the worst performing areas in the country. This is set against other elements of the report which state the population enjoys comparatively good health, indeed better than the England average for both men and women.

It points out, however, that overall life expectancy could be improved if partnership working prioritised circulatory diseases, cancers and respiratory diseases. But the good news runs out where accidents on the district’s roads are concerned.

Last winter the council issued a statement saying road safety is a real concern to many communities and individuals in the area.

Data shows men are more prone to being killed and injured than women and generally younger drivers or motor bike riders aged between 17 and 29 are the most at risk age groups. The council says the numbers of people injured or killed remains stubbornly high, although a review of road safety was carried out and a report produced, crashes continue to take place with most happening within ten miles of the drivers’ or riders’ homes, (more than 60 per cent).

This figure increases to about 77 per cent when the distance is increased to 20 miles, partly explained because most driving is within this distance zone.

However, the report states, the main contributory factors are failing to look properly; failing to judge other people’s path or speed; being careless, reckless or in a hurry; losing control and a poor turn or manoeuvre. Cars, large motorbikes, pushbikes and light goods vans are the most likely modes of transport involved in crashes. Most happen in May, June, August and December and on Fridays and Saturdays. Daylight hours between 7am, peaking at 3pm but trailing off after that are the most dangerous. Police urge drivers to be ultra-vigilant - particularly after dark and on narrow roads.