Road Safety Week: Drivers urged to give up their car to save lives

Road Safety Week

Traffic jams will become more common if nothing’s done, according to Brake

A road safety charity is asking Britain’s drivers to leave their cars at home in an attempt to cut the number of deaths on our roads. The annual Road Safety Week, starting next week on November 23 2015, is aimed at promoting road safety in communities, schools and the work place.

The theme for the 2015 campaign is ‘Drive Less, Live more’. It comes after Government figures showed the number of vehicles had increased for 10 quarters (two and a half years) in succession. Road safety charity Brake, which is behind Road Safety Week, is also warning of gridlock ahead if drivers don’t slash the number of miles they cover. Instead they want drivers to walk, cycle or take public transport.

Why does Brake want us to cut down on using our cars?

According to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) National Travel Survey, almost two thirds of trips (63 per cent) are made by car. And four in 10 car journeys are less than two miles. DfT figures also show that by 2035 the number of cars on England’s roads could have increased by 45 per cent with traffic delays up by 64 per cent. Brake argues that if we replaced car journeys that we didn’t need to take with more sustainable forms of transport it would reduce the number or fatalities on our roads. It would also cut the chance of future gridlock, reduce pollution, improve people’s health because they would do more exercise, and generally make the country a better place, Brake believes.

What Brake says

“This Road Safety Week, we’re encouraging everyone to consider how they use roads, and if they can ditch some driving, and instead walk, cycle or use public transport as much as possible. Work out how much money you’ll save, calories you’ll burn, and pollution you won’t create, and build it into your routine.”

What Brake’s Road Safety Week suggesting

It wants employers to encourage sustainable non-car commuting, or see if journeys for work can be reduced or better planned to reduce mileage. Brake is also suggesting employers might organise a sponsored bike ride or run, or conduct an activity showing how many calories walking and cycling burns.

It is encouraging local authorities to run a car free day or perhaps run a survey to identify barriers to non-car commuting. It’s asking schools and colleges to do the same thing. It is also encouraging people to sign up to its Go 20 campaign.

What is the Go 20 campaign?

This is Brake’s crusade to implement speed limits in communities all over the country. Brake’s point is that doing so will help to protect vulnerable road users such as children, older and disabled people and cyclists. Its reasoning is that at 20mph, if a child runs out three car lengths in front of you, you should be able to stop. At 30mph, you will hit and probably kill them. Ultimately, Brake wants the Government to cut the urban speed limit from 30mph to 20 across the country.

Why tackling road deaths is vital

The number of road deaths is falling. Between July 2014 and June 2015, latest DfT figures show that 1700 people were killed on the UK’s roads. That’s 40 per cent down on the average between 2005 and 2009 and two per cent down on the previous 12 months. But campaigners such as Brake say this still isn’t enough. Governments, car makers and road safety organisations are keen to cut road deaths to zero for obvious reasons.

No one can put a price on the cruel impact losing a loved one in such a terrible way has on the lives of relatives and friends. But the cost to society is enormous. In 2011, the Government estimated that every road fatality cost £1.79m in policing, insurance and the loss of that individual’s future contribution to society.

How you can get involved

Go to the Brake website and you can sign up for a Road Safety Week Action Pack.

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