Police in Essex are warning drivers about the dangers of in-car distractions following 22 road deaths across the county since the start of this year.

While detailed police investigations are ongoing, the Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP), which is made up of Essex County Council, local emergency services and Highways England, believes that the most ‘dominant’ cause of the accident is loss of control and head on collisions.

SERP’s research also shows that the main causes of these were in-car distractions, such as mobile phones, radios and passengers. Over the last 12 months, there have been more than 700 serious injuries on the roads in Essex.

In an operation earlier this month, Essex Police stopped more than 50 drivers for using mobile phones at three checkpoints in Epping Forest.

Samantha Hemsley, head of the serious injury team at Thompsons Solicitors, which has an office in Chelmsford, said: “With more distractions available to drivers than ever before, it’s important for people to realise that just one lapse in concentration can lead to a potentially life-changing accident.

“Drivers have a responsibility to monitor their own driving and ensure that all their actions are safe. However, this needs to be supported by more visible traffic policing to act as a greater deterrent to drivers.

“At Thompsons, we have seen the catastrophic effects of road accidents, many of which could have been entirely avoided, and would urge the government to provide police forces countrywide with sufficient funding to have properly-resourced road policing units.”