You know how it is. The traffic lights are on red against you. You are in your car, in the middle lane of three, waiting for the green light to appear, so you can move off across the junction, where an empty carriageway waits for you.
From the car on your right, there is the roar of a constantly revving engine. ‘Someone thinks they are at Brands Hatch’, you mutter to yourself. The lights start to change and our friend on your offside shoots off in a cloud of smoke and dust, racing across the junction, until his (or her) car is a dot on the horizon, or more likely has had to stop at the next set of lights a little further on. Mixed in with your choice of expletives are the words that we’ve all said:
“ What was the point of doing that?”
The week commencing 16th November is Road Safety Week, an initiative co-ordinated by the road safety charity, Brake. It’s an annual, much needed period of 7 days, when we are all invited to think about road safety and of course, how we can play our part in helping to make the roads safer and to stay safe ourselves.
Whether we are drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or horse riders, we all have a vested interest in road safety. No one wants to be the injured victim of a road traffic accident – no-one wants to cause one.
Nevertheless, something has to give. In 2019 there were:
- 1752 road deaths – approximately 5 people killed every day
- 25,945 serious injuries – 500 road accident causing serious injuries every month
- 153, 158 casualties of all severities over the year
Why the focus on speed? Excessive speed isn’t the cause of all road accidents?
It isn’t the only cause of road traffic accidents, but according to research from the accident prevention charity ROSPA, inappropriate speed contributes to around:
- 11% of all injury collisions that are reported to the police
- 15% of crashes the result in serious injury
- 24% of fatal accidents
Driving at inappropriate speeds isn’t just about driving over the speed limit. It can be applied to driving too fast for the current road conditions. That may refer being too heavy on the accelerator when it is raining very hard, when there’s snow or ice on the ground, or it may be something else. For instance, if there is high pedestrian activity in the area that you are driving through, even the speed limit for that street or road may be an unsafe speed to travel at.
Stats do mean something where speed is concerned
When putting together an article like this it can be easy to overload you, the reader, with statistics. Too many stats can have the habit of making your eyes glaze over somewhat, especially if you are reading this after lunch!
We’ve already mentioned a few stats too.
Bear with us though, because here are a few more and they are really eye opening:
|If average vehicle speeds were reduced by just 1mph, the accident rate would fall by approximately 5%.
|Individuals who drive at 10-15% above the average speed of the other traffic that’s around them then it’s much more likely that they’ll end up being involved in an accident.
|Travelling at higher speeds causes more serious injuries
|The risk of a pedestrian being killed increases immensely the more over 30mph the vehicle that collides with them, is travelling at.
|For example, if a pedestrian is hit by a car that’s going at between 30mph and 40mph, they are between 3.5 and 5.5 times more likely to be killed than if the car was travelling at 30mph.
|That being said – about 50% of all pedestrian fatalities occur when they are hit by a car travelling at 30mph or less
How do we get people to start reducing speeds and helping to get the numbers of road traffic accidents down?
The obvious thing here would be to trot out lots of initiatives such as traffic calming, 20mph speed limits, enhanced enforcement etc. All of course have a serious part to play in reducing the number of serious road accidents.
However, perhaps the best thing that we can all do – us, you and everyone else, is to take our foot off the accelerator, just a little bit. If we all did that, together we really could make a difference!
At Mooneerams solicitors we help the victims of road traffic accidents to make personal injury claims against the (insurers of the ) driver responsible for the accident. We see daily how motor vehicles being driven too fast can devastate the lives of others.
That’s why we are helping to play our small part in raising awareness of Road Safety Week and shouting out that there’s NO NEED TO SPEED!
All statistics provided by Brake, RoSPA and Road Safety Week unless otherwise acknowledged.