Devon & Cornwall Police have attended 67 serious collisions in the last four weeks - 35 in Devon and 32 in Cornwall – which have resulted in 10 deaths, including several young people.
The series of collisions have prompted a heartfelt video appeal from Superintendent Ryan Doyle, Devon & Cornwall Police’s head of roads policing.
In his appeal, Supt Doyle said: “There has been a significant number of very serious collisions on Devon and Cornwall’s roads recently. “Sadly, many of these have resulted in a tragic loss of life which, as you can imagine, has been devastating for the families and friends of those involved. These people are being supported by specialist officers and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“The vast majority of road users in Devon and Cornwall are safe, responsible and respectful – and I would urge everyone to lead by example. The five main causes of serious injuries and deaths on the region’s roads, known as the ‘fatal five’, are driving at an excessive speed, not wearing a seatbelt, driving while using a mobile phone, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, careless or inconsiderate driving.
“To improve road safety, we are increasing the number of roads policing officers and speed detection teams on our roads. I hope this provides reassurance to the vast majority of road users – and a visible deterrent to those who people’s lives at risk.
“The past few weeks have been truly tragic and the last thing our officers want to do is knock on any more doors to tell someone a loved one isn’t coming home.“Please, please, drive safely.”
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is also chairman of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership.
Commissioner Hernandez said: “First and foremost, my thoughts are with the families, friends and loved ones of those who have died in these recent collisions. It has been a truly tragic two weeks.
“Ensuring everyone’s safety on our roads is one of the four main priorities in my Police and Crime Plan. The Vision Zero South West partnership and all its members are committed to doing whatever is necessary to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on Devon and Cornwall’s roads.
“I would urge everyone to please use the roads responsibly, respect other road users and leave plenty of time for any journeys you make.”
Connor Donnithorne, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for transport, said: “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of all those affected by these tragic events.
“We will continue to work with all our partners in Vision Zero South West as the police investigations continue into what happened and why in each case, and as we all strive to bring down the number of people killed or injured on our roads.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Vice Chair of Vision Zero South West and Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management: “All of the partners involved in Vision Zero South West are deeply concerned at the recent series of deaths on roads in Devon and Cornwall and our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives.
"At this time of year our roads start to get extremely busy with an influx of visitors to the region, so we would like to remind everyone to take extra care when out on our roads, whether you are driving, riding or walking. We're determined to drive down the number or collisions on Devon and Cornwall’s roads, and we can all play our part in being considerate and looking out for other people.”