DEATHS on Dorset’s roads increased by almost 50 per cent last year.

It is the fourth-highest rise in the country and has prompted safety chiefs to warn of the increased likelihood of being killed on rural roads.

The Department for Transport statistics show that 28 people died in accidents on roads in the Dorset Police area in 2015, up from 19 in 2014.

And there were more than 2,000 total casualties with 387 of those left seriously injured, a figure up from 371 the previous year.

Nationally, the number of road deaths decreased by two per cent, while the number of people seriously injured went down by three per cent.

The fact that Dorset goes against this trend is "worrying," the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said, and called on authorities and drivers to take responsibility.

Neil Greig, policy and research director at the IAM, said: "These figures for Dorset are indeed worrying when the UK trend has been slightly downwards in 2015.

"Most fatalities take place on country roads and as a predominantly rural county this means that risk of death will always be slightly higher in an area such as Dorset.

"It can be a fine line between a death and a serious injury these days as modern cars protect their occupants so well.

“Ensuring that roads and cars work together to maximise safety is a key part of the ‘Safe System’ approach which is being adopted across the UK.

"This means that Dorset County Council and Highways England must work together to remove or protect solid roadside objects, improve junctions and upgrade roads to the most modern standards.

"This will take time and long term funding so in the meantime all drivers can play their part by taking full responsibility for their behaviour on the roads of Dorset.”