THE number of people killed on Somerset’s roads increased last year, figures from County Hall show.

Somerset County Council said there were a total of 25 fatalities in 2016 compared to 22 the previous year.

The number of people seriously injured on the roads has however dropped by nearly 16 per cent – from 188 in 2015 to 158 last year.

By June this year, 13 fatalities, 91 serious injuries and 594 slight injuries have been reported on the county’s roads.

Despite this, Somerset County Council says our roads are statistically the safest they have ever been.

Road safety organisations use combined killed or seriously injured (KSI) statistics as a standard measure for road safety. Overall, 2016 saw the lowest KSI figures ever recorded on Somerset’s roads.

The authority will shortly be consulting on a new Road Safety Strategy to help continue the downward trend.

Councillor David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Statistically our roads are safer than ever before, but it’s difficult to celebrate this when people are still losing their lives.

“Even one death is one too many – and that’s why I’m pleased we will soon have a new road safety strategy which will see us working more effectively with partners to reduce the number of casualties on Somerset’s roads.

“This approach is based on international best practice and should help us continue the downwards trend in Somerset. Please look out for the public consultation early next year.”

Injury collision data is collected by Avon and Somerset Police and analysed by Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team. A road casualty review is published each year to highlight trends and make recommendations for possible solutions to problems.

The 2016 Road Casualty Review analyses collision and casualty statistics, comparing them to the previous five-year period and focusing on defined target groups – such as road user types and different age groups. You can read the report in full at Somerset Road Casualty Review 2016.

The figures for 2017 are currently being monitored. By the end of June 2017, there were 13 fatalities, 91 serious and 594 slight injury casualties recorded.

Somerset County Council aims to improve safety and prevent collisions in a number of ways, from engineering work like improving signs and lines or introducing traffic calming, to targeted training of road users or requesting support from the police for enforcement.

In 2016, Somerset Road Safety provided training or advice to nearly 19,000 members of the public. This included meeting 6,000 people at public events, training 2,700 motorcyclists, reaching 1,300 senior drivers through Route 60+ workshops, and teaching thousands of school children at various education programmes.

The new Road Safety Strategy was supported by the County Council’s Cabinet on 18 October.