Fri, 30 Sept 2016
NEW statistics obtained by the Newbury Weekly News have revealed the number and cause of all serious accidents along the A34 in the last five years.
Failing to look properly, misjudging the path of other vehicles, following too close, alcohol and even illness or disability have all been contributing factors in road traffic collisions between Chilton and Chieveley.
The shocking statistics, released to the NWN by Thames Valley Police, also show that since 2011 there have been 99 collisions along the eight-mile stretch which have resulted in a fatality or injury – with almost 60 per cent of the collisions occurring on the northbound carriageway.
Safety along the A34 has been questioned recently following a number of recent accidents including the horrific eight-vehicle pile-up which claimed the lives of 45-year-old mother Tracey Houghton, her two sons Ethan and Josh, aged 13 and 11, and her partner’s 11-year-old daughter Aimee Goldsmith, and a crash in June in which 28-year-old Gavin Roberts died.
The data, however, only includes collisions until April 2016 meaning these accidents are not included.
There were three accidents on the short stretch of road which resulted in a fatality between January 2011 and April 2016, while 10 resulted in at least one serious injury.
While speeding has been cited as the most probable cause of accidents by campaigners the figures show there have been many other contributing factors.
The most common cause of collisions (23) was motorists failing to look properly or failing to judge the path or speed of other vehicles.
The figures, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, show the cause as determined by the officers at the scene, and while not expressly stated, speed may also have been a factor in all cases.
The next most common cause was drivers failing to look properly before performing a manoeuvre (14), while 10 collisions were caused as the result of a slippery road surface due to the weather.
Nine accidents were deemed to have been caused due to drivers losing control of their vehicle and eight as a result of sudden braking.
There were six collisions in the last five years resulting from drivers following another vehicle too closely.
According to the statistics three accidents were caused by the driver being impaired by alcohol, while two were caused by a distraction in the vehicle.
Following the most recent fatalities on the A34 Newbury MP Richard Benyon met with neighbouring MPs, Ed Vaizey, MP for Didcot and Wantage, and Nicola Blackwood, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon to demand improvements on the dual carriageway which runs through their three constituencies.
A meeting with roads minister John Hayes has been arranged in the coming weeks.
An A34 Action Group has also been founded with campaigners also demanding safety improvements, while a separate petition, which has so far gained more than 2,000 signatures, is calling for a reduction in the speed limit along the “dangerous” stretch of road.
The group is set to have its second meeting, which will hear from Mr Benyon among other guest speakers, on Monday, October 3 at 8pm at Chilton village Hall.
Safety remains an ongoing concern for many motorists along the A34 as a whole with another two crashes on Sunday.
At 9pm fire engines from Newbury were called to the A34 south, near Chieveley, to a two-vehicle collision.
A woman was discovered trapped by her feet in the dashboard of a Nissan pick-up and had to be freed by firefighters.
She was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to hospital.
The A34 south was closed throughout the incident.
Earlier that same day (Sunday) a man had a lucky escape on the A34, after a car careered up an embankment, before crashing into a tree.
One fire engine from Newbury and two more from Oxfordshire, were called at 4pm to the A34 north, between the Chilton and Milton interchanges, where a grey Hyundai Getz had left the carriageway.
The driver had managed to get out of the vehicle, and according to firefighters was badly shaken.