Police have expressed their concern after the number of people killed in road accidents in Essex rose during 2012.

There had previously been a year-on-year reduction in road deaths, but 48 people died in 46 separate incidents last year.

This compares to 41 people dying in 38 fatal incidents during 2011.

Road policing chief inspector Rachel Nolan said: "The figures are disappointing and we can only hope our road safety messages hit home in 2013. These fatal crashes are needless.”

"The four main contributing factors being road crashes, whether they result in death or not, are failure to wear a seat belt, mobile telephone abuse, drink-driving or speeding.

"All road users must be aware of this. If all of these factors were cut out and motoring laws adhered to then people would not be injured or killed.”

The Essex Casualty Reduction Board, a partnership between Essex Police, Essex County Council and Essex Fire and Rescue, funds road safety operations throughout the year designed to educate people and improve their road skills and awareness.

Last year, 3,600 people were injured in collisions, with 670 of those being classed as serious.

By comparison, in 2011, 4,000 people were injured and 745 of these casualties were classed as serious.

Chief Insp Nolan said: "We will continue to rigorously enforce offences relating to the four key road safety factors throughout the next 12 months.”