THE number of people killed or seriously injured in traffic accidents in Thurrock fell significantly in the first half of this year, according to police figures.

In the first six months of 2014, 19 road users were killed or seriously injured on the borough's roads, compared to 32 in the first six months of 2013.

Thurrock was one of just five of the 14 Essex districts or unitary councils where the numbers fell.

Andy Smith, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, highways and transportation, said that while any death or serious injury is tragic, the downward trend should be welcomed.

He said: "With 19 people killed or seriously injured on our roads in six months we know that the road safety challenge will always be with us. However, we can recognise the progress made while working to ensure it continues.

"It is difficult to pinpoint the reasons for such a dramatic improvement. However it is clear that the education work we do with our partners and the changes we make on the ground can only be positive.

"I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to their work and that of our partners – particularly the police and schools."

Mr Smith paid tribute to the work of the council’s road safety team – particularly with school children and young drivers.

He also praised the council’s traffic team, which recommends safety improvements to footpaths, cycle parking, parking restrictions and roads to make life safer.