2014 saw an 11% increase in people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on Kent's roads, a continued rise since 2012. This increase is more than double the national average of 5%. Maidstone saw the highest number of KSI at 74, and rural road deaths across Kent are reported to be 29. Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens, has called for the speed limits on rural roads to be reduced to 40mph.
Stuart commented: "With the second huge rise in a row in people killed or seriously injured in Kent it is time for Kent County Council to take definitive action rather than continuing to pander to the road lobby. 658 people killed or seriously injured is 658 too many, and 29 people killed on rural roads is 29 too many. It is time to reduce the speed limit on rural roads to 40mph.
"If 29 people had died in a plane crash because the wings had fallen off, we would not be debating whether the bolts should be checked regularly. There should be no debate on whether action to reduce road deaths should be taken – we should simply take all the measures needed.
"But sadly the UK seems to have developed the same attitude to cars as the US has to guns, an attitude that is driven by lobbyists and funded by government. With around £100 billion of subsidies to road transport, plus the profits from manufacturing and fuel consumption, it is no wonder that the lobbyists and government want more and faster traffic rather than less.
"Yet over 20,000 people are killed or seriously injured in the UK each year and over 50,000 die from air pollution from traffic. In Kent 658 were killed or seriously injured and there were an estimated 745 deaths from air pollution, mostly from traffic.
"Cars are not a right or a necessity, just as guns are not. Around 20% of households do not have a car and, while access to services can be harder for them, they survive. Just maybe, if the government made it easier and more economical to travel without a car by diverting some of the road subsidies to methods of transport that don't kill thousands, life might get easier and safer."