ALMOST 70 people have died in crashes on Cheshire roads since the start of last year.

Chief officers from Cheshire's police, fire and ambulance services have come together to warn drivers of the dangers of the 'Fatal 5'.

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These are driving carelessly, too fast, under the influence, without a seatbelt, or while using a phone. Sadly, some of the 46 fatalities last year and 22 this year have been entirely preventable.

Chief Constable Darren Martland said: “From a policing perspective, this is Cheshire’s biggest killer.

"People are dying on our roads as a result of motorists’ poor driving, reckless decisions and momentary lapses in concentration.

"Fatal collisions are heart-breaking – for the family, for the community, and for the responding emergency services staff who have to witness the tragedy and subsequent aftermath.

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"Stopping any more deaths from occurring as a result of something unnecessary and totally avoidable is a top priority for us.

“While it is absolutely necessary that officers are out enforcing the laws of the road, it’s also about educating road users on how to drive safely, and we will be working closely with our Cheshire Road Safety Group colleagues to help prevent further tragedies from occurring.”

Chief fire officer Mark Cashin said: “The number of people that have been killed or seriously injured on our roads as a result of careless driving is a real concern for us.

"Firefighters do a great job of rescuing people from collisions.

"Sadly, it is sometimes just too late and our firefighters have seen far too many fatalities and life-changing injuries on the roads as a result of something completely preventable.

"One reckless decision can cost you, or an innocent member of the public, their life.

“It is absolutely crucial we educate motorists on how to use the roads safely. All vehicles today are designed to keep us safe but, when driven badly, they can turn into a lethal machine.

"Human error is by far the biggest contributory factor to fatal collisions and if a person drives carelessly.

"No matter how safe you think your vehicle is, the risk of a serious collision occurring is increased considerably. It’s just not worth dying for.”

Daren Mochrie, chief executive for the North West Ambulance Service, said: “We see all too often the devastation that is caused by careless and dangerous driving.

"Lives have been unnecessarily lost due to careless driving and we really urge drivers to think twice before they get behind the wheel and help avoid this heartbreaking situation from happening.

“It takes just one of the five fatal factors to cause an accident and just a bit of extra care to prevent them. Please don’t take the risk and only drive when it’s safe to do so.”