M5 closed after major accident

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Ivo

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At least seven dead after M5 smash

At least seven people have been killed and 51 injured in a devastating motorway pile-up said to be among the worst UK collisions in memory.

Police said the death toll from the crash on the M5 in Somerset on Friday night was expected to rise as the recovery operation continued.

Some 34 vehicles were involved in the accident, which happened in wet and foggy conditions and was described by emergency workers as "the worst road traffic collision anyone can remember".

Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham of Somerset and Avon Police said: "Seven people are confirmed to have died as a result of this tragic incident and we do believe there could be more deaths.

"Our thoughts are with those who may have lost loved ones as a result of last night's collision.

"A large-scale multi-agency operation continues at the scene to remove vehicles, check that there are no other casualties and repair the carriageway. This is a hugely complex operation because of the scale of vehicles and people involved.

"All vehicles will need to be removed from the scene for forensic examination and this of course takes time."

Of the casualties, 25 were taken to Yeovil District Hospital and 17 of the more seriously injured to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, he said. Nine others were taken to a temporary holding unit set up by the ambulance service.

Chief Constable Colin Port, who visited both the site and casualty bureau overnight, also gave his condolences to those who had lost loved ones.

"I would like to say a huge thank you to officers from all the emergency services who have had to deal with this very difficult and traumatic incident," he added.
(taken from uk.msn.com)

The M5 is currently closed between J24 (Bridgwater) and J25 (Taunton) with severe delays either side of the closed section.
 
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starrymarkb

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(taken from uk.msn.com)

The M5 is currently closed between J24 (Bridgwater) and J25 Taunton with
severe delays either side of the closed section.
Will be shut till 2100 at the earliest.

Unsurprisingly the A38 is 'fun' at the moment...
 

bignosemac

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The M5 will remain closed between J24 (Bridgwater South) and J25 (Taunton) until at least Sunday.

That, according to a statement from Avon and Somerset Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable, Anthony Bangham.

Forensic examination of the site has started and the police believe the death toll may well rise as they sift through wrecked and burnt vehicles.

A popular west country event, the North Petherton Carnival Procession has had to be cancelled this evening (05/11/2011) as the procession was along a section of the A38 now being used as a diversionary route.

My thoughts go out to the bereaved and injured.

My praise also goes to the emergency services and health care professionals who dealt with this incident. I have friends and relatives in Somerset who work in these professions. Their calm dedication and willingness to drop whatever they are doing and respond to the 'major incident' call is to applauded.
 

YorkshireBear

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Thoughts with victims their families survivors and the emergency services who i have no doubt did an amazing job.
 
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WestCoast

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My deepest condolences go out to the families of all those killed, and those who were seriously injured in this tragic event.

It is a sad reminder that just because you are in control of a car yourself, you're not immune from something like this. With so much coverage of train and aircraft incidents, I'm afraid certain people need to consider this.
 

455driver

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The smoke WONT have caused the accident, people driving too fast for the conditions would have.

While it is sad that these things happen (and I pass my condolences onto the injured and dereaved) until people realise that if you cant stop in the distance you can see then if it goes wrong it could get nasty.

There will be many contributing factors to this accident!

I wonder if the DaFT will rethink the increase in the motorway speed limit to 80mph after this?
 

Tracky

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The smoke WONT have caused the accident, people driving too fast for the conditions would have.
Indeed - that is right...

I wonder if the DaFT will rethink the increase in the motorway speed limit to 80mph after this?
An 80mph would not be any more dangerous than 70mph as long as road users take note that it is an upper limit and people should drive according to the conditions...

Very sad though, and whatever the reasons a tragic chain of events with some very poor fortune. Had the tanker being carrying milk (for example) things would not have been anywhere near as bad...
 

Class172

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Even in Droitwich Spa the traffic reports are giving live reports of the incident.
starrymarkb said:
Unsurprisingly the A38 is 'fun' at the moment...
Bridgewater's bad to get through even in good conditions. :)

My thoughts go to those affected by the incident.
 

bignosemac

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It unfortunately looks like bonfire smoke caused it.... Its what the BBC seems to think anyway. Visibility down to 3m and water patches on motorway looks to have contributed too.
But, we have one eye-witness who was involved saying it wasn't smoke, but a thick patch of fog.

Conclusions on the cause ain't really helpful. That is down to the investigating authorities.
 

yorkie

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An 80mph would not be any more dangerous than 70mph as long as road users take note that it is an upper limit and people should drive according to the conditions...
Sadly, too many people don't do this, and every year we get incidents blamed on bad weather, but if people slowed down for the conditions, they wouldn't happen.

Given that more people died in this incident, it should be subject to an inquiry/inquest at least as detailed as for the Grayrigg incident, but I bet it won't be, as sadly deaths on roads are not considered to be so unacceptable by the media, and by the 'powers that be' in this country. :(
 

Class172

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Sadly, too many people don't do this, and every year we get incidents blamed on bad weather, but if people slowed down for the conditions, they wouldn't happen.

Given that more people died in this incident, it should be subject to an inquiry/inquest at least as detailed as for the Grayrigg incident, but I bet it won't be, as sadly deaths on roads are not considered to be so unacceptable by the media, and by the 'powers that be' in this country. :(
It seems that road accidents are so common in this country, even when it's of such a magnitude, get ignored where in comparison to a rail crash, which are rarer events.
 

Schnellzug

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Sadly, too many people don't do this, and every year we get incidents blamed on bad weather, but if people slowed down for the conditions, they wouldn't happen.

Given that more people died in this incident, it should be subject to an inquiry/inquest at least as detailed as for the Grayrigg incident, but I bet it won't be, as sadly deaths on roads are not considered to be so unacceptable by the media, and by the 'powers that be' in this country. :(
Indeed. Perhaps if there was a Road Accidents Investigation Branch, these things are treated in a more equal way. Will there be a full public enquiry into this? Will any recommendations be made, into driver training or technology like TPWS or OTMR? Or will it just be shrugged aside as "these things happen", as usual?
 

bignosemac

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Sadly, too many people don't do this, and every year we get incidents blamed on bad weather, but if people slowed down for the conditions, they wouldn't happen.

Given that more people died in this incident, it should be subject to an inquiry/inquest at least as detailed as for the Grayrigg incident, but I bet it won't be, as sadly deaths on roads are not considered to be so unacceptable by the media, and by the 'powers that be' in this country. :(
There will be coroners' inquests into each individual fatality, as well as reports from the agencies involved in the aftermath. As to how detailed these will be, who knows?

I agree that the media will soon move on, and the wall-to-wall coverage has been nowhere near as intense as it would've been if this was a rail incident.

Let's not forget however, that road deaths in this country are at an historic low and continue to fall.
 

Schnellzug

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What do you think the Police crash investigation teams do? ;)
yes, but that's the difference, isn't it. investigations are only carried out by the local police force responsible for that patch, there isn't a national organisation to do it and compare findings, and no way in which they can make recommendations or enforce action to take like the RAIB can.
 

Oswyntail

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WestCoast

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Well how many people travel by other means of transport compared to road?
I don't have the figures. Would be interested to have them (is it measurable?). There will be many more road journeys, that is inevitable. It would be interesting to see how the rate compared for 1 million rail journeys compared to 1 million road journeys, if that's in any way possible. Although, I suspect that kind of analysis is far too simplistic to draw any meaningful conclusions.

My point is that most road accidents are not worthy of news, but anything else is. People are given a biased view in my opinion.
 
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bignosemac

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I don't have the figures. Would be interested to have them (is it measurable?). There will be many more road journeys, that is inevitable. It would be interesting to see how the rate compared for 1 million rail journeys compared to 1 million road journeys, if that's in any way possible. Although, I suspect that kind of analysis is far too simplistic to draw any meaningful conclusions.
There are figures out there that bear some comparison. I think the safest measure is to look at fatalities per x distance travelled on the different modes of transport. I agree though that that is a simplistic analysis. Causal factors are far harder to quantify statistically....
 

Mojo

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I don't have the figures. Would be interested to have them (is it measurable?). There will be many more road journeys, that is inevitable. It would be interesting to see how the rate compared for 1 million rail journeys compared to 1 million road journeys, if that's in any way possible. Although, I suspect that kind of analysis is far too simplistic to draw any meaningful conclusions.
I dont have exactly what you mention but found this from a report I worked on a few years ago.
2001 figures, per billion passenger kms:

Code:
Mode 	            Killed 	Killed and seriously injured
Motorcycle 	      112 	5,549
Cycling 	      33 	4,525
Walking 	      48 	2,335
Private car            3 	337
Bus or Coach          0.1 	196
Heavy Rail            0.1 	13
Light Rail           0.00002 	0.00007
 

Mojo

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Out of interest, Mojo, from what area were those figures collated? Global? EU? UK? ...
Sorry, forgot to mention - UK figures according to the source (my report only cited them, I did not collect the original data).
 

WestCoast

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Thanks Mojo, some interesting stats there.

Motorcycling seems to be the worst mode for accidents, which I can unfortunately understand entirely. The private car doesn't seem too bad if I'm honest.

Light Rail and Heavy Rail are much safer than walking....:? :lol:. I'm presuming those figures include homicides as well as personal accidents like tripping up or a tree falling on you.

Again, there are other factors, but the fact that cycling and motorcycling are above private cars is very telling.
 
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michael769

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I should say that casualty rates for road have plummted in the last 10 years

Similar, but more recent figures (from 2009) to Mojo's in this report (See Tables 2.2 and 2.4):

http://www.ogp.org.uk/pubs/434-9.pdf

I understand that the relative infrequency of major rail accidents makes their accident rate quite volatile and it tends to vary quite a lot depending on the period over which you measure.
 

devon_metro

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I was driving through Somerset last night, approximately 1 hour before the accident and hit a very thick patch of very isloated fog (not on the M5), so can completely sympathise with the conditions on the motorway. You'd have little time if driving at 70mph to react and wouldn't really be expecting it. J25 of the M5 is also on a slight incline as the motorway is elevated above the roundabout, so northbound traffic will have been descending from this elevation based on where it appears the accident is.
 
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