A Devon and Cornwall road safety partnership has issued an urgent message to drivers after spike in fatal collisions on our roads.

In the 14 days leading up to August 4, there have been ten serious collisions across the two counties, including five which ended in fatalities.

Five of the serious collisions – including four of the fatal crashes – happened in the North Devon area.

Devon and Cornwall Police, South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and the Devon Air Ambulance – all of whom are members of the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership - played vital roles in attending these incidents.

Major Accident Investigations have taken place and enquiries are still ongoing with police appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Five coroner’s court hearings have also been scheduled to take place.

PS Owen Messenger of the Alliance Road Casualty Reduction Team for Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police, issued a stark warning to motorists.

He said: “Each one of these serious collisions is a tragedy with devastating and far-reaching consequences.

“Several of these collisions happened within a few miles of each other so the public can expect a lot more enforcement activity here – and across our larger roads network – over the coming weeks.

“I would urge all drivers – whether local to the area or visiting on holiday – to stick to a safe speed, particularly on our rural roads. Leave for your journey earlier, give yourself more time and don’t hurry.

“The last thing we want is to knock on any more doors to explain to someone that their loved one will not be returning home.”

Max Chantrey, road safety officer, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, said: “With more drivers and motorcyclists on our roads than ever before, it’s even more important to drive with awareness.

“Be aware of your situation: the conditions of the road, the weather conditions and the time of travel. Also be aware your own driving state: Are you tired? distracted?

“The speed limit is there as a limit, not a target. Always take regular breaks and reduce your speed to stay in control.

“No one expects to be involved in a collision, so make sure it isn’t you.”

Nigel Hare, director of patient services for Devon Air Ambulance, said: “Every fatal road traffic collision is a tragedy, not just for the family and friends of those that have died, but also for others who were directly involved or who kindly stopped to render help and assistance.

“The greatest tragedy, however, is that often these collisions are avoidable. All of us that drive can help reduce the chances of such tragedies occurring, simply by driving with greater attention to the road conditions and other road users.”