THE number of people killed on Cheshire's roads this year has shocked top-level police officers, leading to urgent action and a full-scale inquiry.
Peter Fahy, chief constable of Cheshire Constabulary, expressed dismay at the growing death toll in the region, after four people were killed in fatal collisions this Easter.
The deaths have been referred to as 'holiday carnage,' bringing the total number of fatalities in the county to 18 since January.
Not only is the death toll a devastating blow to grieving families, but each smash also amounts to a staggering cost of £1m per victim.
'The frightening thing is that about 50 more people will be dead by Christmas on Cheshire roads alone. That's another coach full,' said Mr Fahy.
'Speed itself is not responsible for all collisions, but when a speeding vehicle comes into contact with another vehicle, a pedestrian, tree or a road sign, it makes the difference between life and death.'
The relatively low number of fatalities in Halton has been linked to the prolific use of speed cameras at accident hot spots across the borough.
Figures compiled for the year ending March 31, revealed only 56 people had been killed or seriously injured along Halton's roads - as compared with 608 in the whole of Cheshire.
This has been attributed to traffic calming and changes to road lay-out by Halton Borough Council.
However, police now promise to:
Work more effectively with young people, to educate about the dangers of speeding.
Build up a working protocol between police and the fire service.
Work alongside Halton Borough Council in dealing with road design.
Work alongside the Cheshire Safety Camera Partnership in the campaign for more speed cameras.
Continue using undercover police cars to clampdown on speeding.
Increase the numbers of road-side traffic police.
Use AMPR vans to locate a speeding motorist's number plate on the database.
According to Mr Fahy, the increasing road deaths are down to motorists speeding up after passing speed cameras, or refusing to wear a seat belt.
And he says it is a myth that police benefit from revenue generated by speed cameras.
'We are working very hard to publicise the dangers of driving too fast, and we want people to ignore the common belief that speed cameras are just there to make money.
'Speed cameras are still one of the most effective methods of getting people to slow down.
'It's a very serious issue as we've had four people killed in three collisions.
'Although Halton has a very good road safety record, I want to put out a more general message that people should take care not to drive too fast, and should concentrate at all times.'