DEATHS in Essex road crashes are up by more than 40 per cent police have revealed.

63 people died and 955 were seriously injured on the county's roads in the last year.

This compares to 44 deaths and 788 people seriously injured in 2015.

Motorcyclists and young men were again the most vulnerable road users.

Chief Inspector Scott Egerton said: "These figures are concerning and behind them lie ruined lives, tragedy, and emergency services who have attended many hundreds of traumatic scenes.

"I need the whole county to be ashamed of these figures and work together to improve road safety and driver behaviour.

"All road users have a part to play in keeping our roads safer. We know that tiny changes – wearing seatbelts, not using phones at the wheel, and driving at the appropriate speed and to weather conditions – make a big difference and genuinely do save lives.

"No police officer who has had to knock on the door of a family and tell them their loved one has died in a road traffic collision will ever have anything other than zero tolerance for criminality on our roads.”

Essex Police says it has taken steps to tackle poor driving with regular operations targeting things like speeding, people using their mobile phones behind the wheel, and not wearing a seatbelt.

Nearly 51,000 people in Essex were put on driver education courses in 2016.

This comes as the number of people arrested for drink or drug driving in Essex over the Christmas stands at 129 (92 arrests for drink-driving and 37 for drug-driving) as of December 20.