Cumbria's road deaths and severe injuries have decreased in the past year, after increased efforts to tackle problem hotspots in the region.

There has been a 26.7 per cent drop in road deaths and a 29.2 per cent drop in serious injuries in 2023/24, compared to the year prior.

Cumbria Road Safety Partnership (CRSP) launched in April 2023 and aims to reduce fatalities and injuries on the county's roads

CRSP includes partners from the emergency services, councils, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, the Institute of Advanced Motorists, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, and National Highways.

The Cumbria Road Harm Index is used to identify roads most at-risk, while the partnership also prioritises public education and awareness raising.

The Vision Zero initiative, which aims for zero road deaths in the county by 2040, has also been adopted by the partnership.

In the course of the past year, the CRSP has undertaken numerous operations to bolster safety efforts in Cumbria.

These have included amplifying police and partner presence in hotspot areas, improving roads, speed restriction works, and conducting proactive operations to catch dangerous drivers.

As part of these operations, a trial called the Harm Prevention Guardianship saw vehicles deployed 266 times between September 2023 and April 2024 on the A66 near Crackenthorpe.

On the A66 East of Penrith, the use of the safety camera van increased by 300 per cent between April 2023 and March 2024, compared to the year before.

On the same stretch of road, in the same time frame, 3,616 Notices of Intended Prosecutions were issued to drivers.

Cumbria Constabulary has also led in operations throughout the year, targeting speeding, drink/drug driving, mobile phone use, uninsured drivers, and those not wearing seat belts.

One operation took place in April, tackling the fatal four as part in Op Tramline with the use of an HGV to catch motorists driving dangerously.

Throughout the month, 57 drivers were caught above the legal limit for drugs, and 32 were above the legal drink limit.

2,672 motorists were caught with safety camera vans and by police officers.

Use of mobile phones and not wearing a seatbelt also clocked up 30 and 14 offences respectively.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service took the lead on a virtual reality road awareness pack, funded by the Office of the Police, Fire, and Crime Commissioner.

The VR pack allows young people to safely experience various driving scenarios, including the risks and repercussions of drink/drug driving.

Since the VR's introduction in January 2024, 533 young people have partaken in the programme.

Inspector Jack Stabler of Cumbria Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit and chair of the CRSP, said: “Despite the reduction in the number of collisions resulting in fatality or serious injury, we remain far from complacent.

"Any death on the county’s roads can have a significant and tragic impact on those involved, their families and the wider community.

“This is why we, as a road safety partnership, are committed to achieving our aim of zero road deaths on Cumbria’s road network by 2040 as part of Vision Zero.

“We will continue to work together to use our combined expertise and resources to target collision hotspots and make those places safer.”