New research from the road safety charity Brake has revealed that nearly a third of adults were in a collision, or had a near miss, with a vehicle on a UK road in the past year. The research, from a survey of 2,000, has been published to highlight the level of danger felt on UK roads and to encourage people to “Step Up for Safe Streets” for national Road Safety Week 2019, launched this week.
Brake’s research highlights the large number of the population who have experienced danger on the roads first-hand, with 1 in 3 adults stating that they’ve experienced a collision or near miss with a vehicle on a UK road in the past year. This proportion rises to more than half when just young adults (18-34-year-olds) are concerned.
Crashes and near misses can have a significant impact on people’s perceptions of safety, making streets feel less welcoming and holding people back from choosing to walk and cycle – modes of transport which have support from the road safety community and Government as they reduce car use, and so the level of danger on the roads, as well as improving public health.
Brake delivers support to road crash victims and knows the devastation that such incidents cause to families every day – on average, there is a death or serious injury on a UK road every 20 minutes.
Sharron Huddleston’s 18-year old daughter, Caitlin, was killed in a crash in 2017 when her friend, who had recently passed her driving test, lost control of their car. Sharron is working with Brake to improve young driver safety.
“The death of my daughter, Caitlin, broke my heart. Knowing that Caitlin’s death could have been prevented is what pushes me on to campaign for better driver licensing and why I’m encouraging others to Step Up for Safe Streets for Road Safety Week. No mother should ever have to go through the pain of losing a child in a road crash but by working together we can try and make sure that tragedies like Caitlin’s never happen again.”
Jackie McCord’s 16 year-old daughter, Cassie, was killed in a crash in 2011 by a driver with poor eyesight. Following this tragedy, Jackie successfully campaigned to get Cassie’s Law introduced, which gave police powers to fast track an application to revoke a motorist’s licence if they believe they are unfit to drive.
“Getting Cassie’s Law introduced wasn’t easy but it was worth it, as it has helped make our roads safer. I encourage everyone to think about how they can help make our roads safer and what they can do to Step Up for Safe Streets this Road Safety Week.”
Schoolchildren, community groups and employees across the country are taking part in activities during Road Safety Week, helping them learn about the solutions which can eliminate road death and serious injury. These solutions are part of the “safe systems” approach to road safety and include measures such as 20mph limits in urban areas, segregated cycle lanes, and technology which can prevent vehicles from speeding. Brake is also sharing how everyone can “Step Up” and help improve road safety in their daily lives, suggesting that people choose to leave the car at home, when possible, helping improve safety and air quality, and pledge to be a safe driver, always keeping within speed limits and never drinking or taking drugs and driving.
Road Safety Week 2019 partners, Kwik-Fit and Specsavers, are also backing the campaign for safe streets, with Kwik-Fit offering free vehicle safety checks at more than 600 centres across the country and Specsavers touring a virtual reality driving experience to encourage people to make sure their eyesight is good enough for driving.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:
“Across the country, people are working tirelessly to campaign for safe streets, organising petitions, meeting with MPs and councillors and raising money and awareness. This Road Safety Week we want everyone to think about how they can do their bit and step up for safe streets. Can you join or start a local campaign? Do you need to take the car on your next journey, or could you walk, cycle or get the bus? If you are travelling by car, will you pledge to always keep within speed limits and never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs? Let’s all Step Up for Safe Streets and, together, we can help make roads safer for everyone.”
Further details about Road Safety Week can be found at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk