The number of people killed or seriously injured on Essex’s roads fell last year.

46 people died and 861 were seriously injured following collisions in the county in 2017 – down from 64 deaths and 970 serious injuries in 2016.

Casualty reduction manager Adam Pipe said there was still work to do to make the county's roads safer.

He said: “It’s obviously really positive that fewer people are being hurt or killed on our roads but the number is still far too high and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to make Essex even safer.

“Our most vulnerable road users are drivers and passengers aged between 17 and 25, motorcyclists, older drivers, and pedestrians and we will be focussing our engagement, enforcement and education work towards them.

“The M11 is still the route where we see the highest number of collisions and, alongside our partners, we’ll keep working to make it safer.

“We also continue to see people drink driving with 1,061 people arrested for it last year - a rise from 2016. This is unacceptable and will again be a focus for us in the coming 12 months.”

Last year saw key changes to national legislation including an increase in the penalty for using a mobile phone behind the wheel in March.

Since then Essex Police have dealt with more than 2,000 mobile phone offences.

The casualty reduction team are working on a number of schemes to improve road safety.

Mr Pipe added: “Communities in Essex can play a really big role in helping to keep the county’s roads safe.

“The Extra Eyes initiative, from the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, has already seen a significant number of people submitting dash cam footage which will allow us to better investigate incidents.

“The Community Speed Watch Scheme has been refreshed, while we’re also working with Maldon Council to increase the number of speed camera sights across the district.

“Information, intelligence and footage from the public is critical to identify people flouting the rules of the road and ensuring we can bring them to justice – this work will continue.

“2018 will also see the introduction of a Close Pass Scheme to help protect cyclists and identify drivers putting cyclists in danger.”

“Criminals use the roads to get around and what we’ve seen is if they’re comfortable committing other crimes, they’re equally happy to break the rules of the road too.

“Our proactive response to policing our roads has seen us disrupt and detect people travelling across the county and over county borders to commit crimes, with significant arrests thoughout the year.

“This just goes to highlight how positive policing of our highways can help reduce harm in our communities.”

Nicola Foster, chairman of the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, said: “It’s wonderful to see fewer deaths on Essex roads but we are still a long way from achieving the vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on the roads.  

“We need everyone to encourage their family and friends to take a little more care of themselves and others so that everyone makes their journey safely.”