Road death toll in County Durham is at 36-year low

The number of road deaths in County Durham fell to their lowest figure for 36 years in 2010, according to new police figures.

A total of 16 people died in accidents during the year - two down on the previous low of 18 recorded in 2009.

The force said excessive speed remained the main cause of fatalities, along with the effects of drink and drugs.

A force spokesman called on drivers to make a "concerted and continued commitment" to behaving responsibly.

The 16 fatalities comprised six pedestrians, five drivers, two motorcyclists, a passenger in a car, a bus driver and the rider of an electric wheelchair.

The number is the lowest since local government boundaries were created in 1974.

'Common denominator'

The spokesman said: "While we are obviously delighted that we have managed to reduce the number of fatal collisions on our roads, every single fatal road traffic accident is one too many.

"The main causes of fatal and serious accidents are still excessive speed, failing to wear a seat belt, driving while under the influence of drink or drugs and lapses in driver concentration.

"However, there is only one common denominator to all of these areas, and that is the driver.

"The fact remains that most of the fatalities which do take place on our roads are avoidable.

"We look to drivers to help by making a concerted and continued commitment to behaving responsibly on our roads at all times."

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