Death trap roads facing speed slash

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THe winding rural roads of the Dales are proving a death trap for motorists – with officials considering lowering some speed limits in a bid to reduce accidents.

Last year the number of people killed or badly hurt on the county’s roads rose by 2.9 per cent.

Department for Transport figures show that 66 per cent of road deaths in the country took place on rural roads – sparking calls for 60mph roads to be cut to 40mph.

Earlier in the year Derbyshire Police in conjunction with Derby and Derbyshire Safer Road Partnership launched Operation Focus – their summer campaign to reduce the number of bike deaths on the county’s roads.

As part of the campaign, the force identified some accident hot spots in the area, which included A5012 Via Gellia, A632 Matlock to Chesterfield, A621 Baslow to Owler Bar, A619 Bakewell to Chesterfield and the A6 between Ambergate and Buxton.

Thirty–five people were killed in Derbyshire in 2011, compared to 20 in 2010, and more than three times the national average of ten.

The rugged landscape and scenec routes around Matlock draw many a motorist.

Latest data also shows casualties on the county’s roads rose to 2,836 compared to the national average of 1,195.

A spokesperson for Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership said: “We’re saddened by the fact that the number of people killed or badly hurt on our roads rose by 2.9 per cent last year.

“We work hard to cut the number of deaths and injuries on our roads but we know we’ve still got work to do.”

Under Government plans, a reduction to 40mph should also be considered where there is ‘substantial development’ or where there are ‘a considerable number’ of horse–riders, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Derbyshire has five of the top ten most dangerous roads in the country, according to the European Road Assessment Programme which in its last assessment named the A537 as the most dangerous road in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Derbyshire County Council said the government was set to update speed limit guidance by the end of this year.

She added: “We’re reviewing the guidance and will respond to the consultation ahead of the October 5 deadline.”