NEARLY 30 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes in Barrow in one year, according to new figures.

Latest accident figures have revealed 27 people were killed or seriously injured in Barrow road traffic collisions in 2018, and 70 people in the South Lakes.

Overall, across the county 344 people were killed or seriously injured (of which around 30 were fatalities) in 2018.

Andrew Butcher, South Lakeland District Councillor, believes more should be done to lower these statistics.

He said: “We definitely need to lower the numbers. The main thing is the A590 - that is a serious problem.

“I imagine collisions on the A590 will make up a significant number of the figure. It must be one of the worst roads in Cumbria.

“We need a better road system - I think a bridge across the bay would work brilliantly. I think it would dramatically reduce collisions as less and less people would use the A590.”

Keith Little, county councillor for highways and transport, said the council is ‘well aware’ of the tragedies which occur on the roads.

He said: “Often it is young people and speeding can be factor as well as other road conditions. It’s always a tragedy for families and friends when this happens.

“It’s all down to driver care - we need to be more mindful of cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians which are often victims in these crashes.

“I wouldn’t say enforcing harsher speeding penalties is the answer, fines are quite severe as it is, especially getting points on your licence. Generally, people need to be more mindful of the conditions they are driving in.”

In response to these figures, the task force fighting to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Cumbria’s roads has pledged to ‘raise its game’.

Partnership coordinator Chris Broadbent told a meeting of the county council’s local committee for Copeland that Cumbria Road Safety Partnership is ‘urgently’ looking at a new initiative called ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’, with some funding already in place for a Cumbria-wide launch.

Describing the accident rate as a ‘big problem in a big county’, Mr Broadbent told the committee that the issue was ‘very rarely’ about the vehicle or the road surface.

He said: “People often refer to road safety, but roads aren’t the problem – it’s the people on them. It’s a problem of road-user behaviour.”

The partnership now has a nominated ‘casualty reduction officer’ serving each of Cumbria’s local committee boundaries – Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakes.

Councillor Chris Whiteside made a plea for everyone to look to their own behaviour on the roads: “Don’t talk about it as if it’s other people: recognise that it’s all of us, because anybody who tells you they’ve never done something stupid or dangerous behind the wheel of a car either doesn’t drive very much, is a liar, or is deceiving themselves.”