Jul 7 2004 Ellesmere Port Pioneer
DEATH toll figures in the future are in the hands of motorists in Ellesmere Port and Chester, say police.
Five fatalities and a further 38 serious injuries have been recorded on the division's roads in the first five months of the year.
Police say drivers are the ones with a major part to play in putting the brakes on the everincreasing tragedies.
Sgt Tony Cooke said: 'Speed alone is not the reason fatality figures are increasing at a horrifying rate. The reason is drivers' ignorance.
'Speed cameras work in slowing traffic in some locations, but they are not the only solution.
'The answer has to be modification of driver behaviour through education and enforcement.'
He said every driver considers themselves good behind the wheel. But, despite this, most have not had any formal driver training since the day they passed their test.
Sgt Cooke added: 'Driving conditions have changed. Roads are more congested than ever before, vehicles more powerful and more mileage is being driven by a wider range of drivers.
'Yet few motorists or motorcyclists consider the need to update their driving skills.'
The total cost to all agencies involved in road deaths, such as police, fire and ambulance, is about £1.5m per year.
But police say the cost to an orphaned child, a traumatised emergency service worker and a grieving partner cannot be recorded.
Sgt Cooke added: 'All of my officers are on a mission to do something about road accidents.
'Dealing with the carnage is the worst aspect of their job.
'The impact an accident has is immense. It touches everyone involved, from the first officers at the scene to the family liaison officers, through to the next-door neighbour.
'It's a trauma drivers can do something about if they take the time to look at their driving behaviour and improve it.'
Driver refresher courses, extended driving tests, Bike Safe courses and many more schemes are available to road users who want to brush up on their skills. For further information about refresher schemes, call the borough council on 0151 3566789, Cheshire County Council on 01244 603772 or Ellesmere Port police station's traffic management unit on 0151 3554066. Learner driver companies also run a variety of courses.
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