West Yorkshire road deaths rise prompts 'think for a second' plea from police
'One of the hardest jobs a police officer has to do is to visit relatives and tell them a loved one has died."
These are the words of the detective who leads the West Yorkshire Police team tasked with bearing that burden that all too often.
Today Detective Chief Inspector Jim Griffiths has joined Major Collision and Enquiry Team (MCET) colleagues in asking drivers to 'think for a second' about their driving.
The video message from MCET officers follows a rise in the number of lives lost on the county's roads.
There were 43 fatal collisions in West Yorkshire during the first six months of this year compared to 27 in the same period in 2017.
Det Chf Insp Griffiths said breaking the news of a death to loved ones remained one of the hardest jobs an officer can face.
“It is that much harder for relatives to deal with when that death could have been easily prevented," he said. "So if you have to tell a mother that her son has died because a driver was too tired and lost his concentration it makes it that bit more difficult to deal with.
“The point of this video is to ask people to stop and think about their driving or that of their loved ones.
“Sometimes we release ‘hard-hitting’ messages which very much have their place but Fiona and Ann - the two sergeants at MCET - have deliberately chosen to have a conversation with people to ask them to stop and think."
He said many of the messages were very straightforward but some drivers might not have though about them until now.
"Can that hay fever medicine you are taking make you drowsy? If so, should you be driving? A split second error of judgement could have fatal consequences," he said.
“We MOT our cars but do we check ourselves? Or are you fit to drive but a loved one not? It’s about having that conversation with them - it might be difficult - but it’s a lot better than having to deal with the potential consequences.
“Driving is a privilege, not a right. Don’t become blasé about it. Tou might drive the same route twice every day on your way to and from work and think you know every little twist and turn -but that can lead to over confidence and that is when accidents can happen.
“My message to all motorists is to ask everyone to stop and think for a second about your driving. If this message helps to stop one road death it has been successful.”