ROAD safety campaigners are 'saddened but not surprised' that the number of people killed in traffic accidents across Cheshire has more than doubled.

Figures revealed by national charity RoadPeace Northwest show the number rose from an already unacceptable 22 in 2017, to 46 in 2018.

In Merseyside there has was a slight drop with 23 last year, compared to 26 in 2017.

Pauline Fielding, the charity's northwest co-ordinator, is urging the Government to take a bolder approach to reducing casualties after the Department for Transport reported 1,782 road deaths on Britain's roads in 2018.

Mrs Fielding, whose son Andrew was killed in a road crash in 1994, said: "I am saddened but not surprised that the number of road deaths more than doubled in 2018 in Cheshire, where my son died 25 years ago.

"I am also disappointed that in Merseyside and other parts of the country the death and serious injury statistics remain unacceptably high.

"Each death or serious injury has devastating effects on so many people and changes lives forever.

"The only acceptable target is that of no avoidable fatalities or serious injuries on the road, Vision Zero. This target was adopted by Merseyside's PCC in 2017 and more recently by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

"To achieve this commendable target, councils, PCCs, Police, Fire and Rescue Services, campaigners and other partners need to work together and they need to be given the necessary resources.".

Among those calling for action is Mark Edwards, whose son Thomas was killed in a hit-and-run.

Mr Edwards said: "One of the main reasons for the high number of unacceptable and unnecessary deaths on our roads is the government continuing to not address the outdated laws surrounding death by dangerous driving and the lenient sentences given at court.

"In October 2017 this was discussed in parliament, and to this day the government have continued to ignore the seriousness to the crime – letting courts issue sentences that don’t fit the crime."

The reported number excludes those deaths which occurred more than 30 days after the crash. It also excludes deaths to unborn children.

A further 25,484 people were reported by police to have been seriously injured in crashes in 2018.

This will include those with life changing injuries as well as those deaths occurring beyond 30 days.

The Department for Transport against comparison with previous years due to problems with under-reporting. It estimates the number of those seriously injured at 27,811, which is 2,327 more than police reported.

The Transport Select Committee has conducted an inquiry into road safety and launched an inquiry into young and novice driver safety.

Call the RoadPeace helpline on 0845 4500 355.