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Dicing with death

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A major safety crackdown has been launched this week by Greater Manchester Police, following a huge increase in the number of deaths on the region’s roads. “Operation Dice” is a new crackdown on motorists putting lives at risk by flouting the law.

The last year has seen a staggering 42% increase in the number of deaths, which was 75 in 2011 compared with 53 in 2010.

Prior to that the region had seen a decrease from the peak of 93 deaths in 2007. Nationally, the number of people killed on the roads is reducing, so why is it rising in our region?

Greater Manchester Police say drivers speeding, using mobile phones and not wearing their seat belts has played a “significant role” in many of the deaths.

The crackdown will involve around the clock and across the county enforcements against dangerous driving and will be coupled with a hard hitting awareness campaign, which includes adverts on buses and at the road side featuring a blood splattered pair of furry dice and an urge to drivers not to “dice with death”. In addition, the campaign, which also has a website -, is asking drivers to slow down, belt up, and switch off their mobiles.

GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy said: “The real cost of road collisions is the loss of precious lives and the devastation it caused to the family and friends of the deceased. Their pain and loss can be felt for decades and most people never really get over it. It can also profoundly affect people who have caused the deaths and can leave them physically and emotionally scarred.

“Speed is a major factor in pedestrian fatalities with research showing that those involved in a 30mph collision generally survive whilst those hit at 40mph do not.

“I urge drivers to consider this when they get behind the wheel and drive with due car and consideration to weather and road conditions.

“Mobile phones, sat navs and car stereos distract drivers, preventing them paying full attention to driving safely, and are a major cause of many collisions. Using the phone while driving, whether hands-free or not, is a serious distraction and the safest option is to switch it off.

“Drivers should also ensure that they, and everyone in their vehicle, is wearing a seat belt, however short the journey.

“The increase in road fatalities is of real concern to me and my officers and we are committed to reducing deaths and injuries on our roads in the coming years.”

By personal injury solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Kate Sweeney