It was road safety awareness week. Tell that to the 61 people who were seriously injured today by other road users, and the 61 victims the day before that and the day before that and everyday in the UK. According to Road Safety Charity Brake, who launched a campaign this week calling on road users to “Look out for each other”, in addition to 61 serious injuries daily, on average, 5 people die every day on UK roads.
Other sobering facts include:
• Two fixed penalties for 'careless driving' or speeding issued every minute
• Two in five (41%) UK primary school children say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike
Yet, the fixed penalty for driving offences, including speeding and mobile phone use, is currently £100 plus three penalty points. “Brake believes this is woefully inadequate, given these crimes can and do lead to terrible crashes, injury and death. Minor crimes that do not pose a direct threat to human life, like littering and smoking in a public place, can be met with a fine of £1,000+. A £100 penalty for driving offences sends out a dangerous message that offences like speeding and phone use at the wheel are not real crimes, and important safety laws need not be taken seriously. Brake argues a fixed penalty of £500-£1,000 would have a significant effect on compliance with these laws, which are in place to protect and safeguard the public.
Brake is also concerned the penalty points system is not working as a way to protect the public from dangerous repeat offenders who show disregard for the law. Brake recently revealed 40% of drivers who have reached 12 points are not disqualified, due to a loophole allowing drivers to keep their licence in 'exceptional circumstances'. This loophole should be closed urgently: those who reach 12 points have been given ample opportunity to comply with the law, and should be automatically disqualified to protect themselves and others”.
Brake is calling on road users to sign up to the following pledge:
Drivers – I'll stay under limits, and slow down to 20mph around schools, homes and shops to protect others. I'll slow right down for bends, brows and bad weather, and avoid overtaking.
Everyone – I'll speak out for slowing down and help drivers understand that the slower they drive, the more chance they have of avoiding a crash and saving a life.
Drivers – I'll never drive after drinking any alcohol or drugs – not a drop, not a drag.
Everyone - I'll plan ahead to make sure I, and anyone I'm with, can get home safely and I'll never get a lift with drink/drug drivers. I'll speak out if someone's about to drive on drink or drugs.
Drivers – I'll make sure everyone in my vehicle is belted up on every journey, and kids smaller than 150cm are in a proper child restraint. I'll choose the safest vehicle I can and ensure it's maintained.
Everyone – I'll belt up on every journey, and make sure friends and family do too.
Drivers – I'll never take or make calls or texts when driving. I'll turn off my phone or put it out of sight and on silent, and stay focused on the road.
Everyone – I'll never chat on the phone to someone else who's driving.
Drivers – I'll get my eyes tested every two years and wear glasses or lenses at the wheel if I need them. I'll take regular breaks and never drive if I'm tired, stressed or on medication that affects driving.
Everyone – I'll look out for friends and loved ones by ensuring they only drive if they're fit for it, and rest if they're tired.
Everyone – I'll minimise the amount I drive, or not drive at all. I'll get about by walking, cycling or public transport as much as I can, for road safety, the environment and my health.
Why not sign up & help prevent the daily carnage on our roads. Any one of us and our children could be innocent victims of reckless road users at any time. Lets do our bit to raise awareness, and safety standards.