Cornwall Council warns cuts threaten road safety

Cornwall recorded its lowest number of road deaths last year but budget cuts could affect road safety, the council has warned.

Nineteen people died in 2011 - the lowest number since records began in the 1960s.

The council said research it had undertaken with Plymouth University had enabled it to "target resources more successfully".

But spokesman Peter Moore said cumulative cuts could be "serious".

Mr Moore, the council's community and transport manager, said the evidence-based research had allowed the council to understand the "who, where, when and why of road accidents so it could target interventions much more accurately".

"The maintenance of the road surface is obviously critical in terms of road safety and cuts over a period of time could have effects there," he said.

"The key thing is the skid resistance of the road surface and keeping that skid resistance up is the most important thing from a road accident point of view but it is an expensive business."

Road deaths have fallen dramatically over the past few decades.

In 1972, 71 people were killed - the highest on record - but this fell to 23 in 2010, four more than last year.

But with cuts to the council's road maintenance budget of about £500,000 over the next few years, the council is concerned road safety measures and money for essential road maintenance could suffer.

Kevin Clinton from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: "Local authorities, police and central government really need to understand if we go too far in cutting road safety the result will be more death and injury on our road."

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