The Greater Manchester Police are bent on reducing the death toll on roads this year.

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Dicing with Death?

The police force in Manchester, England hopes a direct and scary message will reduce traffic fatalities this year.

The Greater Manchester Police, a force responsible for protection for 2.5 million people in Manchester, England and surrounding areas, launched a traffic safety campaign this month urging people in its jurisdiction not to take chances while driving. GMP said new statistics indicate 75 people died in road accidents during 2011 in its jurisdiction, 42 percent higher than the 53 fatalities during 2010.

This reversed the recent trend of decreasing traffic deaths -- they fell from 90 in 2006 to 53 in 2010.

"Officers say that though there are many factors contributing to the loss of these lives, they believe that speeding, drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts and drivers using mobile phones have played a significant role in many of these deaths," the agency said.

It created Operation Dice to target dangerous or speeding drivers and those who disobey seat belt and mobile phone laws. "Enforcements against dangerous driving are taking place around the clock and across the county and are being supported by a hard-hitting awareness campaign featuring blood spattered furry dice urging drivers not to dice with death and informing them of the 75 road deaths in 2011," the police force announced.

The campaign asks drivers to slow down, wear seat belts, and shut off their mobile phones. It includes posters, bus ad, and roadside ads.

GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy said, "The real cost of road collisions is the loss of precious lives and the devastation it causes to the family and friends of the deceased. Their pain and loss can be felt for decades, and most people never really get over it. It can also profoundly affect people who have caused the deaths and can leave them physically and emotionally scarred. Speed is a major factor in pedestrian fatalities, with research showing that those involved in a 30 mph collision generally survive, while those hit at 40 mph do not. I urge drivers to consider this when they get behind the wheel and drive with due care and consideration to weather and road conditions.

"Mobile phones, Sat Navs, and car stereos distract drivers, preventing them paying full attention to driving safely and are a major cause of many collisions. Using the phone while driving, whether hands-free or not, is a serious distraction, and the safest option is to switch it off before you start the car. Drivers should also ensure that they and everyone in their vehicle is wearing a seat belt, however short the journey.

"The increase in road fatalities in 2011 is of real concern to me, and my officers and we are committed to reducing deaths and injuries on our roads in the coming years. The penalties to dangerous and careless drivers include fines, penalty points, disqualification, and up to 14 years imprisonment for causing a death. These are nothing, however, compared to the life-long suffering and anguish that the family and friends of people killed in car collisions are sentenced to by dangerous drivers. People can help us reduce road deaths by providing us with information on dangerous drivers, those driving while disqualified, or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, either directly on 101 -- the new, single non-emergency number -- or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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