SOUTH Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) staff based in Hampshire have been urging the county’s road users to keep their speed down in support of national Road Safety Week, which finished last week.

A national campaign to promote safer road use, according to Road Safety Week statistics, on average five people every day across the south central region are killed or seriously injured on our roads.

Mark Ainsworth, director of operations for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “My colleagues and I have seen far too many times at first hand the devastating impact road traffic collisions can have on the individuals involved and their families.

“Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24 in our region and almost a quarter of all fatal road traffic collisions involve a driver or rider breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the road conditions.

“Put simply, by slowing down we could save lives and stop hundreds of people being seriously injured on our roads.”

Mr Ainsworth added: “Travelling at higher speeds increases the distance it takes to stop in an emergency – both in terms of thinking and braking time – which increases the severity of any crash, the risk of loss of life, and the extent of serious injury. A pedestrian hit at 30mph has a one-in-five chance of being killed. This rises significantly to a one-in-three chance if they are hit at 35mph.

“The small increase in speed has a significant impact on the severity of their injuries. If the pedestrian stepped out on to the road three car lengths in front of a vehicle travelling at 35mph, the injuries they would sustain from the impact would be the equivalent to falling from the fourth floor of a building.

“If the pedestrian stepped out on to the road three car lengths in front of a vehicle travelling at 20mph, the driver would have sufficient thinking and braking time to stop before hitting the pedestrian.”

Department of Transport figures show that there were 5,477 road accident casualties reported on Hampshire’s roads in 2016, and of these 54 people died, while 1,013 were seriously injured, and 4,410 sustained slight injuries.

During Road Safety Week, SCAS staff joined thousands of organisations, schools and community groups backing the national Speed Down, Save Lives campaign, and helping to raise awareness about the dangers of driving too fast.

SCAS NHS Foundation Trust provides emergency care for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire – an area covering approximately 3,500 square miles and a resident population of more than four million people.