MORE than 150 people were killed on Yorkshire’s roads last year, amid the first national rise in road casualties since 1997.
In total, 1,775 deaths occurred on British roads in 2014, a rise of four per cent on 2013.
Serious injuries rose five per cent and slight injuries were up six per cent, Department for Transport figures showed.
In Yorkshire, 158 people were killed, a slight decline on 2013 when that figure was 165. Overall however, the total number of casualties, which includes serious and slight injuries, rose from 17,395 in 2013 to 18,098 - up four per cent.
Campaigners said the drop in deaths was not good enough.
Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake told The Yorkshire Post: “It is a small consolation that the number of road deaths in Yorkshire has bucked the national trend. As across the rest of the country, casualties of all severities have gone up, and it is likely down to chance that more of these crashes did not result in deaths. Single figure reductions are simply not good enough, and much more robust action is needed from national Government to drive down casualties faster – else Yorkshire, like the rest of the country, will soon be going into reverse.”
The majority of those killed across Yorkshire were car users, which accounted for 79 out of the 158 lives lost.
The number of pedestrians killed rose from 37 in 2013 to 38 last year, while the number of pedal cyclists remained the same at seven. The number of motorcycle deaths fell by a quarter from 40 in 2013 to 29 last year.
Across the region, North Yorkshire saw the highest number of road deaths last year - 40, a drop from 2013 when the figure was 51.
While welcoming the reduction in deaths, North Yorkshire’s executive member for road safety, Coun Don MacKenzie, said it must not be complacent, and would continue to work to make the county’s roads safer.
North Yorkshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said the figures were still too high and said it was working with the Government and the motorcycle industry to bring down the number of serious and fatal collisions.
He added: “Clearly some collisions are down to driver or rider error and all road users have a responsibility for their own actions and a duty to stick to the road laws and speed limits. Despite the educational activities we are undertaking, enforcement is still a key part of our approach to road safety and anyone putting lives in danger by driving irresponsibly will be appropriately dealt with.”
Across the country, the number of pedal cyclists killed rose by 9.5 per cent to 113, with motorcyclist deaths increasing 2.4 per cent to 339.
Of all fatalities, 53 were children and 535 were aged over 60 - a rise of 16.6 per cent.
The RAC Foundation said the figures were “worrying”, while the The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) called for road safety targets to be reintroduced.
IAM policy and research director Neil Greig said: “These figures are greatly concerning and show the time for action is now.”
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world. In 2013 fewer people died on British roads than at any point since records began and last year was the third lowest total on record.
“There were also 45 per cent fewer fatalities in 2014 than a decade ago.”