THE number of road deaths in West Yorkshire dropped by nearly a third last year.There were 71 fatalities in 2008 compared to 103 in 2007.
Serious injuries caused by crashes were down slightly from 1,029 to 1,014.
There were 9,411 casualties overall – a drop of more than 500.
Steve Thornton, chairman of the West Yorkshire Casualty Reduction Partnership, said: “The reductions are good news for the road users of West Yorkshire and are the most significant since the county was formed in 1974.”
Figures for Kirklees were unavailable at the time of writing, but Calderdale Council revealed casualties in Calderdale have also been slashed by nearly one third in the last six years.
Figures showed deaths and injuries have fallen from 1,112 in 2002 to 784 in 2008.
Members of Calderdale’s regeneration and development scrutiny panel will discuss road casualty trends from 2002 to 2007 at a meeting on Thursday.
They will also look at provisional figures for 2008.
The figures showed fatal accidents have fallen from 11 to nine (18%), serious incidents from 111 to 95 (14%) and slight injuries accidents from 990 to 680 (31%) between 2002 and 2007.
Clr Barry Collins, chairman of the scrutiny committee for regeneration and development, said: “The latest figures are very encouraging – however we can’t afford to become complacent as there are still areas where we need to focus our efforts.
“The council has already demonstrated through the award winning Seat Belt On? campaign that by working in partnership and increasing policing and public awareness we can make a real difference.”
Deputy road safety officer for Calderdale Council Kate Marsh said: “The team is committed to casualty reduction across Calderdale and already has plans in place to launch targeted campaigns to address concerns relating to pedestrian and motorcycle casualties.
“The council’s approach to casualty reduction contributes to our priorities of creating safer communities and protecting all Calderdale’s children, young people and their families.”
The casualty reduction partnership works with the police, fire and rescue services, the NHS and local authorities to try to cut road casualties.
Brian Robson, from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our firefighters are often the first on the scene at road traffic collisions and it is their job to extricate casualties from their vehicles quickly.
“It’s not pleasant task and we would prefer not to be faced with these situations at all.”