Articles Tagged ‘research - Brake the road safety charity’

‘Drive less, live more’ campaign launched by Brake, as devastating UK-wide health effects of driving are revealed

Monday, 23 November 2015

Brake, the road safety charity

Contact 01484 550067 / 07976 069 159, or e: news@brake.org.uk

  • Released today: 75% of drivers surveyed think people in the UK use their cars too much
  • Air pollution is estimated to kill 52,500 people in the UK each year
  • 43% of adults in England don’t meet the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. Cycling or a brisk walk to work can meet these recommendations.
  • Five deathsand 64serious injuries happen daily on UK roads, up 4% on the previous year

A national campaign launched today (23 November) by the charity Brake at the start of Road Safety Week calls on drivers to drive less, live more. The campaign aims to make roads safer, especially for people on foot and bike; save money; make communities more pleasant; protect the environment; and improve public health. Media are invited to campaign launch events – see box below.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners AIG and Specsavers today reveal statistics confirming the devastating effects on health and wellbeing of driving, including the extent of air pollution, the shocking number of deaths it causes, and levels of ‘inactivity’ across different parts of the UK.

A map of the UK showing statistics for each local authority is now live at roadsafetyweek.org.uk/drivelessmap for your analysis.

Brake, Specsavers and AIG are also today launching results of a survey of 1,000 driving adults (23 Nov):

  • Eight in 10 (79%) admit to driving on journeys that could be made on foot, bicycle or by public transport.
  • A large majority of people surveyed see overuse of cars as a problem, but point the fingers at others: 75% think people use their cars too much, but only 30% think they are guilty of this.
  • 85% of those surveyed believe people overall should reduce car use, for a variety of reasons: 52% to reduce air pollution and noise, and half (50%) to protect the environment and stop climate change.
  • Significant numbers agreed their driving was detrimental to their own/family’s health (31%), and their family’s finances (28%).
  • The most commonly cited factor people said would help persuade them to drive less (37%) was making public transport in their area more frequent, accessible and convenient.

Full results are at the bottom of this release.

Filming, photo and interview opportunities:

Media are invited to attend the main launch in London or media calls across the UK in Glasgow, Bristol, and York. Find out more fromnews@brake.org.uk.

Main launch event:

WHERE:Horse Guards Parade, London SW1A 2AX   WHEN: 8:30am-11:00am 23 November

FILMING/PHOTOS:Met Police and their Cycle Safety Team will be running exchanging places, with cyclists and pedestrians given the opportunity to sit in an HGV and learn about their blind spots first hand. There will also be a spinning class with London’s Santander bikes, demonstration of BMW Electric bikes, Cemex’s new Econic truck which provides better safety for cyclists, and HaveBike's mobile cycle workshop.

INTERVIEWS:Brake campaigns director, Gary Rae (07748 674851), Met Police spokesperson Inspector Dave Osborne (07921 067 383), vox pops with members of the public.

OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS from the event will be provided from mid-afternoon on the same day. Contactnews@brake.org.uk to confirm expected upload time. To set up pre-record filming and interviews with Brake, emailnews@brake.org.uk.

 

Why drive less, live more?

Every day five people die on UK roads, and 64 more are seriously injured – every one causes needless devastation, trauma and suffering, which Brake witnesses through its victim care services [1][2]. The vast majority of these serious casualties, which went up by 4% last year, are down to driver error.

Brake believes road safety isn’t just about driving safely and legally or using the green cross code, although these are important. It’s about making our streets safe and pleasant for everyone to use freely, and doing everything we can to protect ourselves and people around us. A big part of that is driving less, as little as possible, or not at all if you can.

It’s common for people to habitually walk the few metres from their front door to their car and drive, even if they’re only going round the corner. A quarter of car journeys (23%) are less than two miles [3]. People who walk or cycle often have to face busy, noisy streets, full of pollution and fast traffic. Is this the way we want it?

Walking, cycling or using public transport not only helps to make our streets safer, more pleasant and less polluted, it has personal benefits too. It can save families a lot of money, help people live healthier, more active lives, reduce stress and illness, and help people connect with their communities.

That’s why Brake is asking everyone to consider how they use roads, and to see if they can drive less, live more, and walk, cycle or use public transport instead, to help make our roads and communities safer, happier, healthier and less polluted places.

Members of the public can show their support for the drive less, live more campaign by:

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns at Brake, said: “Our Road Safety Week theme of ‘drive less, live more’ makes clear the link between improving road safety, preventing casualties, protecting people and the planet, and our choice of transport. We understand that not everyone has freedom of choice in the way they travel, hence we continue to have a strong year-round focus campaigning for a safer environment for walking and cycling through our GO 20 campaign. We also support the efforts of partner organisations that are campaigning for better public transport. But our main aim through this November’s Road Safety Week is to help people consider the options open to them, and better understand the benefits of driving less, to road safety, health, personal finances, communities and the planet.

“Road Safety Week has become the most crucial fixture in our calendar for raising public awareness of road safety, and it has also become a crucial fixture for many educators, road safety professionals, and employers around the country too. We believe this year’s theme is a critical one for all of us, providing a chance to show how road safety is a bigger issue than many people think.”

Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins, said: “Specsavers is proud to continue to work with Brake to support Road Safety Week, a timely reminder of the dangers on our roads. As winter approaches, bad weather and dark nights impact on visibility affecting pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike. But we hope this doesn't discourage people from walking and cycling at this time of year. We would urge all road users to ensure they have regular eye tests in order to keep both themselves and their loved ones safe and to cut down on the amount of preventable collisions on our roads.”

Stuart Sutherland, Casualty Profit Centre Manager at AIG, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Brake in the dedicated work it does to promote road safety in the UK. This partnership is one of a number of road safety initiatives across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa as part of AIG’s Together for Safer Roads objectives. It reflects our commitment as a company to working around the world alongside partners in business, government and the community to make our roads safer and prevent unnecessary death and injury.”

More facts about driving and its impact:

  • By 2040 the number of cars on England’s roads is set to increase by 39% compared to 2010 and traffic delays by 61% [4].
  • Nearly a third (27%) of UK CO2 emissions come from road transport [5]. Air pollution is a major killer: there are an estimated 29,000 deaths from particulate matter pollution in the UK [6], 5,000 of which are attributable to road transport [7], and an additional 23,500 deaths from NO2 [8]. Much of the UK still exceeds EU standards on NO2 emissions; and in those areas where levels are too high, 80% of emissions are due to road transport, mostly cars and vans [9].
  • Fear of traffic can discourage people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. A Brake survey found one in three non-cyclists (35%) would cycle their commute if routes were safer [10].
  • Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11].
  • One in five cars on the road during the morning rush-hour is doing the school run. Half of children are now driven to school [12], yet the average school run for primary schools is just 1.5 miles [13]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [14]. Children who are encouraged to walk, cycle, scoot or skateboard to school tend to engage more with their community, stay healthy, and arrive alert, relaxed and ready to start the day [15].
  • One in four adults in England are obese and a further 37% are overweight [16]. The cost to the NHS of people being overweight is estimated at £4.2 billion per year [17]. The Chief Medical Officer recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise a week, yet 43% of adults in England don't do this [18].
  • Incorporating activity like walking, jogging and cycling into everyday life is effective for losing weight [19], and can help guard against asthma, depression, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers [20].
  • People who take the bus or train to work instead of driving have a lower BMI and healthier bodyweight [21].
  • Nearly half of households in England could be struggling with car-ownership costs [22]. Driving less can save money: for example, a family can save £642 per year by swapping a car-based school run for walking or cycling [23].

Notes for editors:

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week
Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2015 takes place 23-29 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors AIG and Specsavers.

AIG
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organisation serving customers in more than 100 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS
  • Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country

End notes:

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2014, Department for Transport, 2015

[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2014 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2015

[3] National Travel Survey 2014, Department for Transport, 2015

[4] Road Transport Forecasts 2013, Department for Transport

[5] Local authority carbon dioxide emissions estimates 2012, Department of Energy & Climate Change

[6] Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England

[7] Public Health Impacts of Combustion Emissions in the United Kingdom, MIT

[8] Tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

[9] Tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

[10] Commuters call for safer streets for cycling, to enable more to get on their bikes, Brake

[11] National Travel Survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013

[12] Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics, 2011

[13] Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics, 2011

[14] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014

[15] The school run, Sustrans

[16] Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, NHS, 2013

[17] Tackling obesities: future choices – project report (2nd ed), Foresight Programme of the Government Office for Science, 2007

[18] Public Health Outcomes Framework, Public Health England, 2014

[19] Start Active, Stay Active: a Report on Physical Activity from the Four Home Countries’ Chief Medical Officers, Department of Health, 2011

[20] Benefits of exercise, NHS, 2015

[21] Associations between active commuting, body fat, and body mass index: population based, cross sectional study in the United Kingdom, BMJ 349 :g4887, 2014

[22] Locked Out: Transport poverty in England, Sustrans, 2012

[23] Estimate by Sustrans based on figures from the AA, DfE school statistics, DfT National Travel Survey, DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors and the Bike Station, June 2014

Full survey results:

Survey of 1,000 UK adult drivers carried out by Surveygoo on behalf of Brake, September 2015:

Q.1 On average, do you think people in the UK use their cars? (tick one)

Far too much  28%

A bit too much 47%

About the right amount 25%

A bit too little  0%

Far too little 0%

Q.2 On average, do you think you personally use your car? (tick one)

Far too much 6%

A bit too much 25%

About the right amount 57%

A bit too little 10%

Far too little 3%

Q.3 Do you think people in the UK should reduce their car use, and if so, why? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, to protect the environment and stop climate change 50%

Yes, to make roads safer, especially for people on foot and bike 31%

Yes, to save money 40%

Yes, to improve public health 39%

Yes, to reduce air pollution and noise 52%

Yes, to help support local businesses 11%

Yes, to make their communities more pleasant and interact with people more 25%

No 15%

Q.4 Do you think you PERSONALLY should reduce your car use, and if so, why? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, to protect the environment and stop climate change 28%

Yes, to make roads safer, especially for people on foot and bike 16%

Yes, to save money 36%

Yes, to improve public health 21%

Yes, to reduce air pollution and noise 26%

Yes, to help support local businesses 6%

Yes, to make their communities more pleasant and interact with people more 13%

No 38%

Q.5 Do you think your own car use has any negative effects on you and/or your family, and if so, what? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, it is making me/us less healthy 31%

Yes, it is putting me/us in danger on the roads 12%

Yes, it is costing me/us too much money 28%

Yes, it is making me/us less likely to meet people and engage with the local community 11%

No 46%

Q.6 Do you think your own car use has any negative effects on society, and if so, what? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, it is contributing to making people less healthy because it creates pollution 38%

Yes, it is contributing to making people less healthy because it discourages them from walking or cycling 30%

Yes, it is contributing to putting people at risk on the roads 14%

Yes, it is contributing to costing society money, for instance because of road building costs or delays caused by congestion  21%

Yes, it is contributing to making our community less pleasant and/or sociable 15%

No 39%

Q.7 Would any of the following persuade you to use your car less? (tick as many as apply)

Driving cost more 18%

Public transport in my area was cheaper 32%

Public transport in my area was more accessible, frequent and convenient 37%

Walking and cycling in my area was safer and more pleasant 23%

More was done to convince me driving was harmful to me and my family 9%

More was done to convince me driving was harmful to society 4%

More was done to convince me driving was harmful to the environment 5%

Other people used their cars less 8%

None of the above - I will not/cannot use my car less 35%

Q.8 Choose the statement that most applies to you (tick one)

I never make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead 22%

I often make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead  18%

I rarely make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead 29%

I sometimes make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead 32%

 

As children head back to school we reveal the extent of dangerous speeding in 20mph areas

  • Four in 10 (40%) of drivers admit to ‘sometimes’ breaking the speed limit by at least 10mph
  • More than a quarter of drivers ‘regularly’ speed in areas designed to keep children (and other vulnerable road users) safe

A new survey by Brake and Direct Line has revealed how many drivers are speeding on roads where lower limits are in place to keep children and other road users safe.

Four in 10 (40%) of drivers admit they sometimes travel at 30mph or more where there is a limit of 20mph. More than a quarter (26%) of drivers say they do this at least once a month and just over one in five (21%) admits to driving much faster than the 20mph speed limit on a weekly basis. Most 20mph zones and areas are in the vicinity of schools and homes where many children will be regularly walking and cycling.

In 2014, 53 children under 16 were killed and 2,029 were seriously injured on British roads: that’s almost six children seriously hurt or killed every day. The majority (80%) were on foot or bicycle at the time.[i] 

Speed limits are put in place to keep all road users safe, especially vulnerable ones like children, and can make the difference between life and death. If a child runs into the road three car lengths ahead, a driver travelling at 30mph will not be able to stop in time, and will still be travelling at 28mph when they hit the child. A driver travelling at 20mph should just be able to stop in time, providing they are paying attention, have well-maintained brakes, and are driving in dry conditions.

There is plenty of evidence to show that lowering traffic speeds, and lowering limits to 20mph specifically, reduces casualties and creates a safer road environment, especially for those on foot and bicycle, but of course this only works if limits are adhered to. 

Analysis of 75 20mph limit sites in Scotland found casualties dropped by 42%.[ii] The World Health Organisation recommends 20mph limits as a key measure to improve pedestrian safety and save lives.[iv]

Case study

Tommy Kenny was just 10 years old when he was tragically knocked down and killed on a pedestrian crossing on a 30mph road in London. He was thrown approximately 60ft on impact, leaving him with multiple traumatic injuries so severe that he stood no chance of survival. The police investigator said that the driver was doing between 30-39mph when he hit Tommy. If the limit had been set to 20mph rather than 30mph, Tommy might still be here today.

Tommy's aunt, Michelle Kirby, said: “Tommy was a much loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin with the best years of his life ahead of him. Our lives fell apart when he died and he is missed hugely by his whole family. He was a very bright, fun-loving and cheeky boy with a unique personality and a vivid imagination. He loved dinosaurs, Steven Gerrard and Doctor Who. 
If we are honest with ourselves, most people have to admit to creeping over the speed limit at times. Yet we've all seen the harrowing adverts on TV showing the horrific results of what speed can do to a child. If you drive at 20mph, you have a good chance of being able to stop in time if you need to, such as if a child runs out in front of you. We all need to slow down, and we can all do that today. One can only imagine what pain Tommy's parents, Lynsey and Lloyd, have gone through and will do for the rest of their lives.”

Alice Bailey, campaigns advisor for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “All parents want to know their children are safe while travelling to and from school and playing outdoors. Speed limits are in place to keep all road users safe and if tragedy strikes and a child is hit by a car, the speed at which it is travelling could be the difference between life and death. 20mph limits benefit our communities in so many ways, keeping them safer, cleaner and greener; when limits are lower, many more people choose to ditch the car completely and walk and cycle instead[CF1] . If people feel they have to drive, the lower speed limit will have a negligible impact on travel times and bring so many other positive effects.”

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line, said: "Adhering to the speed limit is such a simple way of helping to make our roads safer and is within all drivers’ gift. We urge drivers to be conscientious and to remember that speed limits exist for very good reasons and that it is a legal requirement to observe them.”

Q.1 Within the past year, have you driven at 30mph or faster in a 20mph speed limit?

No, never                                            60

Yes, less than once a month              14

Yes, about once a month                      5       

Yes, about once a week                       8

Yes, several times a week                    9

Yes, once a day or more                      4

Q.2 Within the past year, have you driven at 40mph or faster in a 30mph speed limit?

No, never                                            60

Yes, less than once a month              16

Yes, about once a month                      4

Yes, about once a week                       8

Yes, several times a week                    9

Yes, once a day or more                      3

 

Notes to Editors:

Tommy’s mum Lynsey is available for interview

Please contact Alice at Brake on 01484 550063 or on abailey@brake.org.uk

Or email the news inbox on news@brake.org.uk

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com


[i] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2014, Department for Transport, 2015, table RAS30062

[ii] 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001

[iv] Pedestrian safety: a road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners, World Health Organisation, 2013

Beep Beep! campaign urges drivers to slow down to save little lives, as three in five parents report speeding around their child’s school

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Road safety charity Brake and Churchill Insurance are urging drivers to ‘go 20’ and take more care in communities, as their latest survey puts the spotlight on irresponsible driving around schools and nurseries. Three in five parents (59%) reported witnessing speeding outside their child’s school or nursery in the past year, with the same number (60%) also reporting drivers pulling out or turning without looking properly.

The findings come as up to 26,000 tots across the UK take part in the first national Beep Beep! Day of 2015, a road safety project for nurseries and infant schools run by Brake and Churchill and aimed at helping keep young children safe on the roads. See the Beep Beep Day! launch video and photos.

Brake and Churchill’s survey of 1,000 parents of 5-11 year olds also found:

  • Nearly half (47%) reported distracted driving, such as drivers on phones, around their child’s school.
  • Two thirds (65%) reported inconsiderate or illegal parking around their child’s school.
  • Three in 10 (30%) had witnessed children not being secured properly in child restraints.

Worryingly, there are indications that parents themselves could be part of the problem. A third (32%) admitted they don’t drive more safely, for instance by slowing down and looking more than usual, near schools and nurseries, and a quarter (24%) admitted they don’t even do so around their child’s own school or nursery. Three in five also admitted they don’t take more care around homes (62%) or shops (60%).

As well as teaching children aged two to seven road safety basics, Brake’s Beep Beep! Days raise awareness among parents and drivers about how they can keep kids safe. As this year’s project kicks off, Brake and Churchill are appealing to all drivers, including parents, to take responsibility for children’s safety to help prevent the six child deaths and serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day [1].

In particular, drivers are being asked to stick to 20mph or below around schools, nurseries, homes and shops, to protect children and others on foot or bike.Find out aboutBrake’s GO 20 campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“All children have the right to a healthy life, and to be able to play safely – rights that are universally enshrined in the UN convention on the rights of the child. And yet, in the UK, one of the most developed countries in the world, our children are often denied these rights because of the lethal danger posed by fast traffic and careless driving. That’s why, in a year when the UN is asking people across the world to help #SaveKidsLives on roads, we’re calling on UK drivers to take the lead in making roads safer for children – by going 20mph or less and taking more care in communities. As well as educating kids about road danger, we hope the Beep Beep! Day project will serve as an inspiration for parents and drivers to help reduce that danger.”

Steve Barrett, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: “We are very proud to be supporting Beep Beep! Day once again this year. Too many children die or are seriously injured on our roads each day. Beep Beep! Day is a great way of starting to educate young children on road safety, as well as raising awareness among drivers, including parents and grandparents, of the need to drive with extreme care when young children are about.”

REGISTER! 

Nurseries, playgroups, child-minders, infant schools and children’s centres can sign up now to run a Beep Beep! Day. Register online to receive a free electronic resource pack, or purchase a bumper hard-copy pack for £12.60 (inc VAT), including posters, stickers, certificates, activity sheets, road map and hand print poster. Go to www.brake.org.uk/beepbeepday, call 01484 550061 or emailbeepbeep@brake.org.uk.

About Beep Beep! Day

In 2014, 15,000 children took part in a Beep Beep! Day. Brake encourages nurseries, playgroups, infant schools, children's centres and childminders to run the event on one of three dates – in 2015, these are 18 March, 8 July and 15 November – or on whatever day is best for them. Nurseries receive a free electronic pack with downloadable resources, or can buy a bumper hard-copy pack for £12.60 (inc VAT) to help them run road safety activities and promote road safety to parents and the community.

Beep Beep! Days involve activities such as creating a poster of hand prints saying 'We hold hands', experimenting with toy cars to learn the words stop and go, and singing road safety songs. Activities are designed to help children to start understanding road safety, and to emphasise to parents and other adults their responsibilities in protecting children. Sponsorship raised by children helps Brake provide support for families bereaved and injured by road crashes and run community road safety campaigns.

See www.brake.org.uk/beepbeepday.

Advice for parents

When your child starts to walk with you around your community, talk to them about how they must always hold your hand. If your child is likely to pull away from you, use safety reins or a wrist strap. Hold hands until your child is at least eight, or longer depending on their development.

Make sure they understand the meaning of stop, traffic, danger, look, listen, walk don't run, and other key words. Encourage your child's nursery or playgroup to teach road safety through a Beep Beep! Day. Your child's learning will be more effective if they are taught about road safety at school as well as at home.

See www.brake.org.uk/families.

Full results

These results, released today (Wednesday 18 March 2015), are from a survey of 1,000 parents of children aged 5-11, conducted by independent survey company Surveygoo in March 2015.

Q1. Do you drive more safely (e.g. slowing down and looking around more) around the following? (tick all that apply)

  • Your own child’s school or nursery – 76%
  • Other schools and nurseries – 68%
  • Leisure facilities (e.g. parks, playgrounds, sports facilities) – 50%
  • Shops – 40%
  • Homes – 38%
  • None of the above – 15%

Q2. Have you witnessed any of the following bad driving behaviour around your child(ren)’s school or nursery in the past year? (tick all that apply)

  • Speeding – 59%
  • Pulling out/turning without looking properly – 60%
  • Inconsiderate/illegal parking – 65%
  • Road rage – 33%
  • Distracted driving (e.g. on phones) – 47%
  • Children not belted up properly in child restraints – 30%
  • None of the above – 11%

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Churchill

Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Churchill and UK Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0800 200300 or visiting www.churchill.com.

End notes

[1]In 2013, there were 2,053 children (ages 0-15) killed or seriously injured on UK roads. Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2013 Annual Report, Department for Transport, 2014.Police Recorded Injury Road Traffic Collision Statistics: 2013 Key Statistics Report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014.

Brake calls for zero-tolerance on at-work drink- and drug-drivers

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

Employers are being urged to implement zero-tolerance policies on at-work drink- and drug-driving by road safety charity Brake, as a Brake and Licence Bureau survey finds fewer than half (44%) would dismiss an employee for driving over the legal alcohol limit.

Published today (14 May) in a report for employers with staff who drive for work by Brake's Fleet Safety Forum, the survey reveals:

  • More than half never test employees for alcohol (55%) or drugs (57%)
  • Four in 10 (44%) would dismiss an employee found driving over the legal limit for alcohol
  • Six in 10 (62%) take disciplinary action against employees found to have any amount of alcohol or illegal drugs in their system at work, but only three in 10 (30%) would dismiss employees for this
  • Fewer than half (47%) educate drivers on the risks of drug-driving, and only slightly more (50%) educate drivers on the risks of drink-driving.

It is vital that any employer with staff who drive for work takes steps to prevent drink and drug driving. Drink-driving accounts for one in six UK road deaths [1], and even very small amounts of alcohol impair driving [2]. Research suggests almost a quarter (24%) of road deaths in the UK involve at least one illegal drug or medicine [3].

Previous Brake research has found people who drive for work are susceptible to these risks. They are more likely to admit to driving first thing after having drunk a lot of alcohol the night before, and to driving after taking illegal drugs, than drivers who do not drive for work [4].

The survey also found many employers don't have crucial practices in place to manage other fitness drive issues, like tiredness, stress and poor eyesight, which can lead to devastating and costly crashes:

  • Only four in 10 (42%) regularly review schedules and workloads to ensure drivers are not put under undue pressure that could lead to stress or tiredness
  • Only six in 10 (60%) stipulate that employees should stop and rest if they feel sleepy at the wheel
  • Only one in four (25%) require staff who drive for work to have a full eyesight test every two years.

Brake is urging all employers with staff who drive for work – whether they have a fleet of commercial vehicles, company cars, or staff driving their own vehicles on company time – to implement policies and procedures to ensure their drivers are sober, alert, not stressed or tired, and have good eyesight.

Steps such as introducing zero-tolerance policies on drink and drugs, requiring regular eye tests, and managing workloads and schedules, can help organisations prevent devastating crashes, reduce insurance and repair costs, and improve their reputation. See advice below. Employers can access more detailed advice from Brake by ordering the report and joining Brake's Fleet Safety Forum at www.brakepro.org/survey2014pt1.

Laura Woods, research and information officer at Brake, says: "It is desperately worrying that so many employers are lacking the tough approach needed to tackle drink and drug driving at work. This is highly dangerous, selfish risk-taking that should be treated as gross misconduct. People who drive for work should be clear that there is no safe amount to drink before driving – not a drop. We're appealing to all employers with staff who drive for work to ensure their drivers know the risks, know the rules, and know that breaking the rules will not be tolerated. Employers can use Brake's Fleet Safety Forum guidance to review their driving policies and practices, and ensure their drivers are always fit to drive."

Les Owen from Licence Bureau says: "Too many companies bury their head in the sand about road risk management, but this is not helping their business nor making our roads safer. This report identifies the state of companies' management of fitness to drive issues. Companies have a responsibility to manage the at-work safety of staff who drive just as much as staff performing construction, electrical, engineering or other duties, and should consider their corporate social responsibility when reading this report. If all employers acted positively, one step at a time, to implement the recommendations in this report it would make a big difference to road safety, result in fewer collisions, and benefit many businesses' bottom line. All companies can make a huge difference to safety by following these recommendations, whether they already engage with Brake or not."

Brake's advice for employers

Drink- and drug-driving are deadly risks. Any amount of alcohol or illegal drug use at work should be considered gross misconduct. This zero-tolerance policy should be supported by comprehensive alcohol and drugs education, covering such inadvertent risks as 'morning-after' drink driving, and the risks from medicines such as hayfever drugs. Workplace testing for drugs and alcohol will ensure employees are following the rules and help spot any problem drivers before they cause a crash.

Safe drivers are well-rested, alert, and stress-free. Employers should talk to their drivers about any health concerns, including stress from their work or home life, to flag up any problems that might affect their driving. It is also important to manage schedules to ensure drivers have sufficient rest time, and are not put under undue pressure that could cause stress or encourage them to take risks such as speeding.

Good eyesight is fundamental to safe driving, so employers should require drivers to have eye tests at least every two years, preferably funded by the organisation.

The Fleet Safety Forum survey report gives further guidance and best practice case studies in managing fitness to drive issues. Employers can order the report at www.brakepro.org/survey2014pt1

About the report

The survey results come from Brake and Licence Bureau's Fleet Safety Forum Survey Report Part One: Fit to Drive, released today (Wednesday 14 May 2014). 228 organisations that employ drivers responded to the survey, which was conducted online through SurveyMonkey.

Brake advises and supports companies to manage their road risk through its Fleet Safety Forum. The survey report is available for free to Fleet Safety Forum subscribers, or can be purchased for £5 by non-subscribers. Special offer: the first 25 non-subscribers to request the report through our online form will get a copy for FREE.

 

 

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, a Fleet Safety Forumpractitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

The Fleet Safety Forum is a not-for-profit service for fleet managers run by Brake. Subscribers receive: free and discounted access to Brake's professional events; free training in Brake's Pledge to stop dangerous and unnecessary driving; e-bulletins containing the latest initiatives and research in fleet and road safety from across the globe; password access to the Brake Professional website containing guidance for managers and a host of resources for drivers; and posters. Annual subscription costs £155 +VAT. Subscribe at www.brakepro.org, call +44 (0)1484 559909 or email professional@brake.org.uk.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels, Department for Transport, 2013

[2] Official blame for drivers with very low blood alcohol content, University of California, 2014

[3] The incidence of drugs and alcohol in road accident fatalities, Transport Research Laboratory, 2001

[4] At-work drivers: drink and drugs, Brake and Direct Line, 2012

Brake joins road safety groups and emergency services to call for lower drink-drive limit

10 October 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Public opinion polls show 77% in favour of a lower legal limit

Today, Brake, the road safety charity has joined a wide range other groups calling for MPs to reduce the UK’s high drink driving limit. See notes to editors for the full list.

There is also strong public support for lowering the limit, with the British Social Attitude Survey recently finding that three quarters of the public (77%) support lowering the drink driving limit.[i]

The Government state that drink driving ‘remains a priority’, but there has been no reduction in the number of drink driving deaths since 2010.

  • Every year drink driving causes 240 deaths and more than 8,000 casualties in the UK. This costs £800 million a year.
  • 60% of those who are killed or injured are people other than the driver, such as passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • In England and Wales the drink-drive limit is set at 80mg alcohol/100ml blood and has been since 1965.

England and Wales have one of the highest drink drive limits in the world. Set 80mg alcohol per 100ml blood, it is greater than the rest of Europe (with the exception only of Malta), as well as Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Lowering our drink drive limit to 50mg alcohol/100ml blood would reduce drink driving deaths by at least 10%.

The Government of Malta recently announced plans to lower the drink drive limit to 50mg this month in a new National Alcohol Policy to reduce harm.(1)

Scotland lowered its limit to 50mg in December 2014, and police figures showed a 12.5% decrease in drink-drive offences in the first nine months.(2) Northern Ireland is set to lower its drink driving limit before the end of 2016.

A two-minute animation has been produced by the Institute of Alcohol Studies to support this campaign, outlining the key arguments: http://www.ias.org.uk/lowerlimit

Gary Rae, Brake’s director of communications and campaigns, said: “Drink driving remains one of the biggest causes of devastating road crashes; often young and inexperienced drivers and passengers are involved and frequently they are the tragic victims. We must continue to send a clear message to all drivers that drinking and driving is a lethal cocktail. It's shocking to see how many crashes, many involving deaths and serious injuries, have involved men in their 20s. This call to action today is a useful stepping stone to a time when there is a zero alcohol limit.”

Katherine Brown, Director at the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: “Recent decades have seen great improvements in road safety, but progress on drink driving has ground to a halt. With hundreds of lives lost each year, we can’t afford to let England and Wales fall behind our neighbours in road safety standards. “It’s time the Government looked at the evidence and what other countries are doing to save lives and make roads safer. We need to make drink driving a thing of the past, and to do this we need a lower drink drive limit.

Notes to editors:

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns,community educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

More information on drink driving, with fully referenced statistics and information on drink driving accidents across England and Wales broken down by region, can be found here – www.ias.org.uk/lowerlimit

Drink driving background info:

In England and Wales the drink-drive limit is set at 80mg alcohol/100ml blood and has been since 1965. Drivers who drink up to this limit are six times more likely to be killed in an accident as drivers who have not consumed alcohol.

The cost of UK drink driving accidents and casualties is £800 million per year.(3) This does not include the 40% of fatal accidents where people have alcohol within their system, but are below the 80mg limit.(4)

Drink driving leads to 240 deaths and more than 8000 casualties each year.

The Department for Transport calculate that 60% of those who are killed or injured in reported drink driving incidents are people other than the driver, such as passengers, other road users or pedestrians.(5)

Organisations lending their support to the animation calling for a lower drink drive limit include:

 

The RAC Foundation The AA
Institute of Advanced Motoring Campaign Against Drink Driving
Insure the Box BRAKE: The Road Safety Charity
Allianz Abellio
Medical Council on Alcohol Spectrum Community Health
Alcohol Health Alliance The Royal College of Emergency Medicine
British Medical Journal Royal College of Practitioners
Royal Society of Public Health College of Paramedics
SCARD: Support & Care After Road Death & Injury Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Roadpeace
Fire Brigades Union Police Federation
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Durham Police and Crime Commissioner

 

References:

(1)  Malta National Government (Oct 2016) Alcohol Policy Document

(2)  BBC News (29 May 2015) Drink-drive offences fall after lower limit introduced.

(3)  Institute of Alcohol Studies. Drink driving factsheet.

(4)  Department for Transport (2016) Proportion of killed drivers/riders resulting from reported accidents by BAC category

(5)  Department for Transport (2016) Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final)

[i] Telegraph (20th Sep 2016) Three quarters of people think the drink driving limit should be lowered.

Charity urges car buyers to put safety first, as survey finds brand more important to young drivers

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, is encouraging drivers – especially the young – to put safety first when it comes to buying a new vehicle. The call comes on the back of survey results, released today (11 August 2015), showing safety features are less of a priority for young drivers when choosing a vehicle than its brand.

The survey, carried out on behalf of Brake and Direct Line, put safety technologies third on a list of decision-making factors for all drivers, behind reliability and fuel economy. However, less than half of drivers (48%) named safety as one of their three most important considerations. Among young drivers (17-24) it was even fewer – less than two in five (37%) – fewer than chose brand (39%).

‘Infotainment’ systems, which allow access to social media and other functions unrelated to driving, are also becoming an increasing factor in young drivers decision making and are fitted in many new vehicles. More than one in five (21%) young drivers (17-24) said they wanted such a system, and one in six (17%) said it is one of their most important features in choosing a vehicle. However, these systems could pose a distraction risk similar to that of using a mobile phone. Any attempt to multi-task at the wheel is known to make you at least two or three times more likely to crash [1].

The survey also showed a lack of engagement among drivers with important industry safety standards such as Euro NCAP. A five star Euro NCAP rating is the easiest way to be sure your vehicle is protecting both you and the people around you on the road, and yet less than a quarter (23%) of drivers said it was something they looked for in a new vehicle.

Brake is urging all drivers to put safety features that protect both themselves and others top of the list when choosing a new vehicle, opting for a five start Euro NCAP rating wherever possible.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“Vehicle safety technology has come on leaps and bounds, and a large part of the casualty reductions we have seen in recent decades are likely to be attributable to this. It is important that all drivers take advantage of these advances as much as possible, to protect both themselves and the people around them on foot and bike. When choosing a vehicle to drive on public roads, safety should always be the number one consideration. However, any vehicle is ultimately only ever as safe as the person driving it, and choosing the safest possible vehicle still needs to be combined with legal, considerate driving.”

Gus Park, director of motor at Direct Line,commented: “Our research shows that younger drivers are most at risk of a crash; however less than half this group chose safety in the top three considerations when buying a car. New cars are now more likely to be fitted with ‘infotainment’ systems, so we'd urge drivers to be sensible. As with mobile phones, a moment of distraction could potentially costs lives.”

Brake campaigns against all forms of driver distraction, including that caused by in-car technology, as part of itsdrive smart campaign. Tweet us:@Brakecharity, #DriveSmart. Read thesurvey report.

Brake’s advice: vehicle selection

Drivers should choose vehicles that not only protect the occupants, but also minimise the threat posed to other road users. Some vehicles are designed to minimise the damage to vulnerable road users in a collision. For example, cars with a short front-end and a wide windshield are less likely to kill pedestrians in a crash [2].

The safety features of new European cars are rated in crash tests by Euro NCAP. They provide a star rating that take into account occupant safety, child occupant safety and pedestrian safety [3]. Brake strongly advises anyone buying a new car to consult these ratings at www.euroncap.com and buy the safest vehicle they can afford for their own and others’ protection.

From January 2016, vehicles will only be able to achieve a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating if they are fitted with collision avoidance technologies such as pedestrian detection, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking (AEB). AEB uses sensors to detect hazards ahead, and apply the brakes automatically if a collision is predicted. It could reduce pedestrian casualties by 15% [4], and prevent 60 deaths and 760 serious injuries in the UK within three years if installed in all new vehicles [5].

Although there is an increasing range of features that either come as standard on new vehicles, or that people buying vehicles can opt for to help protect themselves, their families and other people around them, none of these features offer complete protection. Choosing the safest possible vehicle still needs to be combined with safe, legal and considerate driving.

For more facts on safe vehicles seewww.brake.org.uk/facts. For more advice for drivers seewww.brake.org.uk/pledge.

Brake’s calls for government action

In-built vehicle ‘infotainment’ systems, that enable drivers to perform tasks straight from the dashboard that have nothing to driving, such as checking social media, are becoming increasingly widespread. If these devices are used for tasks such as emailing and social media updates while driving, they are potentially as distracting and dangerous as using a mobile phone. Brake therefore calls on government to regulate their use, and to implement tougher penalties for distracted drivers. Brake is also in support of government-backed testing of driverless vehicles currently taking place, technology which Brake believes has the potential to lead to huge casualty reductions.

About the report

These survey results come from Section 2 of Report 1: Are you ready to drive?, part of the Direct Line and Brake reports on safe driving, 2015-17, released today (Tuesday 11 August 2015). The survey consisted of 1,000 drivers and was conducted by Surveygoo. Read the report.

Full results

Q1. Which of the following do you consider most important when choosing a new vehicle, aside from its cost? (tick your top three)

  • 75% said build quality and reliability (17-24: 55%)
  • 73% said fuel economy (17-24: 36%)
  • 48% said safety technologies (17-24: 37%)
  • 24% said power and performance (17-24: 20%)
  • 23% said versatility and utility (17-24: 18%)
  • 21% said brand (17-24: 39%)
  • 13% said environmental impact (17-24: 18%)
  • 7% said entertainment/infotainment systems (17-24: 17%)
  • 2% said none of the above (17-24: 0%)

Q2. Which of the following features would you want to have on your next car? (tick any that apply)

  • 74% said airbags (17-24: 40%)
  • 67% said anti-lock brakes (ABS) (17-24: 29%)
  • 59% said blind spot warning system (17-24: 38%)
  • 37% said autonomous emergency braking (AEB) (17-24: 28%)
  • 29% said pedestrian protection systems (17-24: 0%)
  • 27% said adaptive cruise control (17-24: 31%)
  • 23% said five star Euro NCAP rating (17-24: 11%)
  • 12% said infotainment system, e.g. social media access (17-24: 21%)
  • 2% said none of the above (17-24: 0%)

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, orThe Brake Blog. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.

End notes

[1] The impact of driver inattention on near-crash/crash risk, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006

[2] Effects of vehicle impact velocity, vehicle front-end shapes on pedestrian injury risk, Xiamen University of Technology, 19/09/12

[3] Pedestrian protection, Euro NCAP

[4] Vehicle safety, DaCoTa, 2012

[5] Auto Braking Cars: Government Should Meet Motorists Halfway, Thatcham, 2014

Charity urges government to make driver eyesight tests compulsory

Survey shows overwhelming public support

Thursday 21 August 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling on the government to introduce compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers, as a survey with Specsavers and RSA Insurance Group shows strong public support. Almost nine in 10 (87%) are in favour of drivers having to prove they have had a recent sight test every 10 years, when they renew their licence or photo card. Research indicates this change in the law would significantly reduce the estimated 2,900 casualties caused by poor driver vision each year [1].

The survey shows why government action is needed, with a quarter (25%) of drivers admitting they have not had their eyes tested in more than two years – despite research showing you can lose up to 40% of your vision before noticing the difference [2].

Many drivers are also failing to respond to warning signs in regards to their vision: one in five (19%) have put off visiting the optician when they noticed a problem. In addition, a shocking one in eight drivers (12%) who know they need glasses or lenses to drive have done so without them in the past year.

Brake, Specsavers and RSA's survey of drivers also found: (full results below)

  • More than 1.5 million UK drivers (4%) have never had their eyes tested;
  • One in eight (12%) have not had their eyes tested for more than five years; and
  • Of the 54% of UK drivers who believe they don't need glasses or lenses to drive, one third (33%) have no way of knowing this for sure, having not had an eyesight test in over two years.

The only measure currently in place to ensure driver vision satisfies minimum legal standards is the number-plate test carried out from 20 metres away before driving tests, and occasionally at the roadside if police suspect an eyesight problem. This does not test visual field or contrast sensitivity, both of which are important to safe driving, nor is it a totally accurate measure of visual acuity (vision over distance).

Following their driving test, a driver may never need to produce any further evidence that they can see well enough to drive. It is estimated up to five million UK drivers would fail a number-plate test if they had to take it again [3].

Brake is urging the government to introduce a requirement for drivers to prove a recent, professional eye test when applying for a provisional licence, and at least every 10 years thereafter. It's estimated this would save the public purse at least £6.7 million a year by preventing crashes [4].

Brake urges all drivers to make sure their vision is up to scratch by having a professional sight test at least every two years, following expert advice, and always wearing glasses or lenses if they need them. See Brake's advice below.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Compulsory regular eyesight testing for drivers is a common sense, lifesaving move. Clearly the public agrees that the government needs to act to tackle the alarming number of drivers taking a lax approach to their eyes. Making sure your vision is up to scratch is crucial to safe driving, and though it may seem there are plenty of excuses to put off going to the opticians, none is good enough when it comes to putting people's lives at risk. If you drive, it's not just your own health you are jeopardising by neglecting your eyesight, but the lives of those around you. That's why it's vital for drivers to get their eyes professionally checked at least every two years – eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without you noticing."

Mark Christer, Managing Director of Personal Insurance at RSA, said: "We want far more rigorous checks that drivers' eyesight meets the minimum standards. The UK's 'number-plate test' is a relic of the 1930s and it's no wonder so many other EU countries have introduced more modern testing. It is time we did too.

"Put simply, if you're not sure whether you are fit to drive, you could be seriously endangering yourself and other road users. The limitations of our current system mean many people could be doing just that without even knowing it."

Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers' clinical spokesperson, said: "The stats are quite alarming, it's important that we all recognise the importance of regular eye examinations and the role that they play in keeping both drivers and pedestrians safe on the roads. Currently eye sight is only tested once, on the day of the driving test. It is then the driver's responsibility to check whether their vision remains above the legal standard. Because eyesight deteriorates gradually over time, the only way a driver can be 100% certain that they remain both legal and safe is to have regular eye examinations."

Responding to Brake's campaign, Dr Susan Blakeney, clinical adviser to the College of Optometrists, commented: "It's vital that both drivers and non-drivers are fully aware of their eye health as it can be very easy for people not to realise their eye sight is worsening, particularly over the age of 40. Drivers need to ensure that they are able to see vital road signs and other road users clearly to avoid putting themselves and fellow road users in danger. Raising awareness of this as an issue is very important.

"Having regular sight tests will not only ensure that people can see as clearly and comfortably as possible, but will also detect early signs of eye disease, which may not yet be affecting the person's sight. All drivers have a responsibility to ensure they are fit and legal to drive every time they get behind the wheel."

Read about Brake's Sharpen up campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #SharpenUp. Read the survey report.

Case study
Natalie Wade, 28, from Rochford, Essex, was killed by a partially sighted driver in February 2006. She was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing, along with her mother, Christine Gutberlet, by 78 year old John Thorpe. Christine survived, but Natalie suffered severe brain damage from which she died in intensive care on Valentine's Day. The bride-to-be was shopping for her wedding dress when she was hit.

Driver John Thorpe was blind in one eye and had 40 defects in the other, but had not declared his sight problems to the DVLA. He died of natural causes before his trial could be completed. The inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Natalie's family have been campaigning for changes in the law to prevent similar tragedies. Natalie's aunt, Revd Brenda Gutberlet, says: "Natalie was a wonderful, bubbly young woman, full of life and laughter. She was lovely to be around. The years since her death have been a rollercoaster, for Natalie's parents and for all her family and friends. It's hard to put into words what it has been like.

"Natalie's death, like so many on our roads, was completely avoidable. The question every driver should ask before they get behind the wheel is: am I fit to drive today? But not everyone is honest with themselves. To get behind the wheel of a vehicle unable to see shows a disregard for the lives of others, and it can't be right that we still allow drivers to do so."

Brenda's MP, Rebecca Harris, is supporting the family's campaign. Responding to the report, she said: "These survey results are genuinely shocking. It's clear public awareness of how important this issue is remains frighteningly low. We need drivers to see getting behind the wheel without regular eye tests or without wearing the prescription lenses they need as being as irresponsible as drink-driving."

Facts
Poor vision heightens crash risk [4], causing an estimated 2,900 road casualties at a cost of £33 million in the UK every year [5].

Vision problems are very common – 74% of people in the UK wear glasses or contact lenses, or have had laser eye surgery [6]. Long- or short-sightedness is the most common [7], but several health conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, cataract and glaucoma, can also cause serious damage to eyesight. These conditions are more common in people aged over 50, but can affect younger people too. Changes in eyesight can be gradual, and it is possible to lose up to 40% of your vision before noticing it [8].

Vision can be affected by a number of defects only identifiable by a professional eye examination. These include problems seeing things in your central or peripheral vision, known as visual field defects, which can be caused by illnesses such as glaucoma, retinal disease or cataract. Drivers with visual field defects have double the incidence of road crashes and traffic violations as drivers with a full visual field, and almost half are unaware of the problem [9].

At present, drivers in the UK are required to read a modern car number plate (made after 1 September 2001) from 20 metres away [10]. However, this does not test for visual field and contrast sensitivity, both of which are important to safe driving.

The number plate test is only carried out when someone takes their driving test, plus it may be conducted by police at the roadside if they suspect an eyesight problem. This means that following their driving test, a driver may never need to produce any further evidence that they can see well enough to drive. Drivers aged over 70 have to declare when renewing their licence that their eyesight meets minimum legal standards, but do not have to provide evidence of this.

It is estimated up to five million UK drivers would fail a number-plate test if they had to take it again [11].

Some countries already have more stringent systems in place to regulate driver eyesight. In the US, a number of states, such as California, issue restricted licences indicating that the driver is required to wear glasses or lenses to drive, if the vision examination shows this to be the case. If they are then stopped by the police and are not wearing glasses or lenses, they can be immediately penalised [12].

Brake's advice
If you drive, regular visits to the opticians are essential to ensure your eyesight meets legal standards and you're not putting yourself and others at risk. You should get your eyes checked by an optician at least every two years or straight away if you notice any problems. Don't be tempted to put it off – most vision problems are easily corrected, and the sooner you know the problem, the sooner it can be fixed.

Going to the optician needn't be expensive and may be free – eye sight tests are free in the UK if you are under 16, over 60, claiming certain benefits, or have certain medical conditions. Check the NHS website to see if you qualify. Many high street opticians also run promotions offering free or cheap tests. If you regularly use computer screens at work, you are entitled to ask your employer to pay for your eye tests.

If your optician or GP mentions any problems with your vision or health conditions that could affect it, let them know if you drive and ask if your vision is at risk of falling below minimum safe standards. Visit www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving to find out what conditions must be reported.

If you need glasses or lenses you must always wear them when driving, even on short journeys. Keep a spare pair of glasses in your vehicle if you're prone to forget them.

Calls for government action
Brake calls on the government to introduce a requirement for drivers to provide proof of a recent, professional eye test when applying for their provisional licence, to ensure all new drivers meet appropriate standards.

Brake is also campaigning for compulsory regular eye tests for drivers throughout their driving career. Brake proposes that drivers should have to produce evidence of a recent eye test when renewing their licence photocard every 10 years. It's been estimated this would save the public purse at least £6.7 million a year by preventing crashes [13].

The government should also raise awareness among drivers about the importance and benefits of getting eyes tested at least every two years or straight away if you notice a problem. This could include reminders in communications from the DVLA, such as tax disc renewal letters.

About the report
The survey results, released today (Thursday 21 August 2014) consisted of 1,000 drivers and was conducted by Surveygoo. Read the report.

Full results
Q1: If you require glasses or lenses for driving, do you always wear them while driving?

  • 36% don't need glasses or lenses for driving, and have had an eyesight test in the past two years
  • 18% don't need glasses or lenses for driving, but haven't had an eyesight test in the past two years
  • 41% need glasses or lenses for driving, and always wear them
  • 3% need glasses or lenses for driving, but have driven without them once or twice in the past 12 months
  • 2% need glasses or lenses for driving, but have driven without them numerous times in the past 12 months

Q2: When did you last have an eyesight test by an optician?

  • 50% said in the last year
  • 24% said between one and two years ago
  • 8% said between two and three years ago
  • 5% said between three and five years ago
  • 5% said between five and 10 years ago
  • 3% said more than 10 years ago
  • 4% have never had their eyes tested

Q3: How regularly do you usually get your eyesight tested by an optician?

  • 26% said once a year at least
  • 40% said every two years
  • 14% said every three to five years
  • 2% said every five to 10 years
  • 6% said only if they notice a problem
  • 12% said never or hardly ever

Q4: Have you ever noticed problems with your vision but put off visiting the opticians?

  • 8% said yes, because they were worried about the cost of an eye exam, glasses or contact lenses
  • 6% said yes, because they were busy
  • 3% said yes, because they were worried they would find something seriously wrong
  • 3% said yes, because of other reasons
  • 2% said yes, because they were worried it would mean they couldn't continue driving
  • 81% said they'd always immediately booked an eye test when noticing vision problems, or they'd never noticed problems with their vision

Q5: How often do you check your vision using the number plate test?

  • 22% do this at least every six months
  • 17% do this annually
  • 10% do this every two years
  • 24% do not do this regularly, but have done it at least once since passing their driving test
  • 26% have not done the number plate test since passing their driving test

Q6: Do you think driving test candidates should have to provide proof of a recent, full eyesight test by an optician, which accurately assesses distance and peripheral vision and checks for other vision problems?

  • 67% said yes
  • 33% said no

Q7: Should drivers have to prove their vision meets minimum legal standards for safe driving by providing evidence of a recent sight test when they renew their driving licence or licence photocard?

  • 87% said yes
  • 13% said no

Q8: Do you think opticians and GPs should be obliged to let patients know if their vision or health conditions mean they are falling below legal requirements for safe driving?

  • 94% said yes
  • 6% said no

Q9: Do you think opticians and GPs should be obliged to inform the DVLA if one of their patients who drives has a vision or health condition that means they fall below minimum legal standards for safe driving?

  • 76% said yes
  • 24% said no

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

RSA
With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/ 

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader's Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS
  • Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes
[1] Fit to drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012
[2] World Glaucoma Day, International Glaucoma Association and Royal National Institute for the Blind, 2009
[3] "Millions of motorists are driving blind", Daily Mail, 2011. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-144678/Millions-motorists-driving-blind.html 
[4] Detailed cost-benefit analysis of potential impairment countermeasures: research in the framework of the European research programme IMMORTAL, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, 2005
[5] Fit to Drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012
[6] Britain's eye health in focus, College of Optometrists, 2013
[7] SixthSense Opticians Survey, YouGov, 2011
[8] World Glaucoma Day, International Glaucoma Association and Royal National Institute for the Blind, 2009
[9] Incidence of visual field loss in 20.000 eyes and its relationship to driving performance, Archives of Ophthalmology, 1983
[10] Driving eyesight rules, DVLA, 2014
[11] "Millions of motorists are driving blind", Daily Mail, 2011. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-144678/Millions-motorists-driving-blind.html 
[12] International vision requirements for driver licensing and disability pensions: using a milestone approach in characterization of progressive eye disease, Alain Bron et al, 2010 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2999549/ 
[13] Fit to drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012

Cheaper, greener, healthier, quicker..? Brake says “get on your bike” this Cycle to Work Day

news@brake.org.uk

Despite cycling being one of the healthiest, cheapest and most environmentally-friendly forms of transport available, the UK lags way behind many other countries when it comes to cycling levels. That’s why Brake is backing this year’s Cycle to Work Day taking place on Wednesday 14 September.

The latest Department for Transport National Travel Survey found that in Britain only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike. A study by the European Commission in 2010 found that just 2% of people aged 15 and over in the UK use a bicycle as their main form of transport – the seventh lowest level in Europe.

Cycle to Work Day's long-term aim is to see one million people regularly commuting by bike by 2021, so Brake is encouraging everyone who is able, to consider getting on their bike to give it a try.

A lack of safe cycling routes may be a key reason for the lack of cycling in the UK. A survey of UK drivers by Brake and Direct Line indicated that almost four in 10 (39%) non-cyclists could be persuaded to cycle if there were more cycle routes and trails connecting their home to local facilities.[i]

Brake is urging the government to invest more money into making cycling safer to encourage more people to get about by bike – not just once a year, but regularly. This would not only benefit individuals financially but improve the environment and our communities, by reducing the number of cars and harmful vehicle emissions. Transport accounts for a fifth (21%) of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with road transport making up the most significant proportion of this.[ii]

Increased cycling can also significantly improve people’s health. Currently, physical inactivity accounts for one in six deaths in the UK, with half of women and a third of men damaging their health due to lack of physical activity. Office workers are particularly at risk: sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day increases your risk of an early death by 60%. The good news is that one hour’s activity a day is enough to reverse this damage.[iii]

Regular cycling is suggested by the NHS as a means to lose weight, reduce stress, reduce the likelihood of depression and improve fitness: an 80kg (12st 9lb) person will burn more than 650 calories with an hour’s riding.[iv] Improved health from cycling would also benefit the economy; deaths due to physical inactivity are believed to cost the wider economy £7.4 billion.[v]

Encouraging more people to cycle could also improve safety further due to fewer motor vehicles. Almost all road deaths and serious injuries are caused at least in part by the actions of drivers,[vi] so if individuals drive less or not at all, it means they pose less danger to others.

Alice Bailey, campaigns advisor for Brake, said: “Everybody wins when we all cycle more. Our communities are cleaner, greener and safer, and our bank balances and bodies are healthier too. The more we do it, the greater these improvements will be. Brake is encouraging everyone who is able to, to try cycling this Wednesday (today). We also want the government to do much more to make our streets safer for cyclists so more of us will make this a daily and not a yearly choice.”

Notes to Editors:

More on Cycle to Work Day here: https://www.cycletoworkday.org/

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Check and prep your vehicle to save lives this winter, says charity

Survey reveals rising ignorance on vehicle maintenance

Road safety charity Brake and Direct Line are urging drivers to take vehicle maintenance seriously, especially during winter weather, as a survey reveals alarming numbers of drivers do not make, or know how to make, basic and essential safety checks. Even if they notice a problem with their vehicle, many drivers admit to knowingly putting lives at risk by driving anyway.

Brake and Direct Line’s survey found:

  • Almost half (45%) admit having driven with at least one risky vehicle problem or defect in the past year, with men and young drivers the worst offenders.
  • More than a quarter are not confident they know how to make essential checks like ensuring tyres are in safe and legal condition (27%) and brakes are working properly (26%), with confidence lowest among women and young drivers. For tyres, this is up from two in five (20%) three years ago [1]. See the full report for more on trends.
  • One in three (37%) do not ensure their tyres have 3mm tread(recommended in wet weather).
  • Only a minority carry some important emergency items in winter, like a high-vis vest (27%), food and water (20%) and blanket or warm clothes (38%).
  • One in seven (15%) do not make basic checks such as correct oil and water levels or working lights, indicators, or brakes before long journeys, with women less likely to make checks than men.

Younger drivers are most at risk, with a third (33%) of 17-24 year olds not confident they know how to check brakes are working properly and more than three in five 17-34 year olds (63% 17-24, 62% 25-34) having driven when they knew there was a problem with their vehicle.

Men performed better than women in terms of making and being confident about maintenance checks. However, men were also more willing to take risks by knowingly driving a vehicle with problems. See full results below or the survey report.

With vehicle defects contributing to 2,000 crashes – 42 of them fatal – in 2013 alone(latest figures) [2], vehicle maintenance is a serious issue. Brake is urging all drivers to take responsibility for the safety of their own vehicle, by making basic checks once a week and before any long journeys, and getting any problems fixed straight away. See Brake’s advice below or visit www.brake.org.uk/maintenanceadvice.

With winter upon us, Brake is also concerned that many drivers are unprepared for bad conditions or breakdowns. Stopping distances can double in the wet and increase ten-fold in ice and snow, so keeping tyres and brakes in good condition is more critical than ever. See Brake’s winter driving advice at www.brake.org.uk/badweather.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“Safe driving starts before you get behind the wheel – the driver has to be fit to drive, and so does the vehicle. Taking a vehicle on the road without being sure it is roadworthy is asking for trouble, exposing yourself and others to unnecessary danger and potentially costing you more in the long-run. It is shocking to see so many drivers both ignorant and wilfully negligent when it comes to basic and essential vehicle maintenance checks. It’s especially worrying at this time of year, when drivers need to make sure they and their vehicle are prepared in case bad weather hits. You don’t need to be an expert to carry out basic vehicle checks, and it needn’t take long. If you are unsure of what to do, follow Brake’s advice, and consult a local mechanic if you need to. And if you do discover a problem, don’t put off getting it fixed, which risks a breakdown, extra costs, or worse, a devastating crash.”

Rob Miles, director of motor at Direct Line, commented: “Drivers are putting themselves, their passengers and other road users in jeopardy through their actions. If you fail to make basic maintenance checks on your vehicle, particularly in the cold weather, you are dramatically increasing your chances of a crash, not to mention the risk of a fine and even points on your licence.“

Tweet us:@Brakecharity. Read the survey report. You can also visit www.directline.com/car-insurance/advice/maintenance for more car maintenance tips.

Facts

Drivers and fleet operators have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and well-maintained. If safety critical parts such as brakes, tyres, windscreen wipers and wheels are not kept in good repair, this could cause the driver to lose control or fail to respond in an emergency, with potentially fatal results.

Vehicle defects contributed to 2,000 crashes in 2013, 42 of them causing deaths [3]. Illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres are the most common defect contributing to fatal crashes [4].

In the UK, all cars, motorbikes and light passenger vehicles must pass an annual MOT test once they are three years old. Trucks and buses have their own version of the MOT, known as the annual vehicle test. 40 percent of cars and vans failed their initial MOT in 2012/13 [5].

The legal minimum tread depth for tyres is 1.6mm in the UK, but less than 3mm can be risky in wet weather, as it results in significantly increased stopping distances [6].

Brake’s advice

Making sure your vehicle is in good working order before you set off needn't take long. There are a few simple checks you can do yourself to make sure your vehicle is as safe as it can be. Brake advises drivers to do the following once a week and before any long journeys.

Check:

  • tyres have a tread depth of at least 3mm (less is risky in the wet), are free from cracks, buckles or bulges, and are at the right pressure (using a gauge to check);
  • all lights and indicators are working properly by having someone stand outside the vehicle as you switch them on and off;
  • windscreen wipers and washers are working by testing them while the car is stationary, and topping up the windscreen washer if needed;
  • oil and water levels are correct;
  • windows and mirrors are clean and clear, and the latter positioned properly;
  • brakes are working, by applying them gently while driving very slowly in a safe, flat place with no one else around. If they feel different to how they usually feel – such as taking longer to 'bite' or are harder to push down or are making squeaking or grinding noises – you need to get them checked with a mechanic immediately.

If you notice any problems, get them fixed straight away, and consult a garage if you have concerns.

About the report

These survey results come from Section 1 of Report 1: Are you ready to drive?, part of the Direct Line and Brake report on safe driving, 2012-14, released today (Thursday 22 January 2014). The survey consisted of 1,000 drivers and was conducted by Surveygoo. Read the report.

Full results

Q1: Do you check the following on your vehicle before setting out on long journeys?

  • Correct oil and water levels: 42% said always; 43% said sometimes; 15% said no (19% women, 11% men)
  • Working wipers and washers: 45% said always; 40% said sometimes; 15% said no (1% women, 11% men)
  • Clean and clear windows and mirrors: 59% said always; 32% said sometimes; 9% said no (12% women, 5% men)
  • Tyres in good, legal condition: 49% said always; 40% said sometimes; 11% said no (14% women, 8% men)
  • Working lights and indicators: 49% said always; 36% said sometimes; 15% said no  (17% women, 12% men)
  • Working brakes: 57% said always; 27% said sometimes; 15% said no (17% women, 13% men)

Q2: Are you confident you know how to check the following on your vehicle?

  • Correct oil and water levels: 83% said yes (79% women, 88% men; 74% 17-24, 91% over 65)
  • Tyres have legal tread depth, right tyre pressure and in good condition: 73% said yes (61% women, 86% men; 70% 17-24, 84% over 65)
  • Brakes working properly: 74% said yes (68% women, 81% men; 67% 17-24, 85% over 65)
  • 9% said none of the above (11% women, 6% men; 0% 17-24, 8% over 65)
  • 4% said they don’t know (6% women, 2% men; 5% 17-24, 4% over 65)

Q3: In the past 12 months, have you driven, even once, when you knew your vehicle had any of the following problems?

  • Windows or mirrors not clear or clean: 24% said yes (24% women, 24% men; 18% 17-24, 40% 25-34, 16% over 65)
  • Windscreen wipers broken or washers not topped up: 19% said yes (16% women, 23% men; 39% 17-24, 26% 25-34, 8% over 65)
  • Lights broke or faulty (when it was dark): 12% said yes (11% women, 14% men; 15% 17-24, 24% 25-34, 0% over 65)
  • Tyres defective (worn tread, wrong pressure, or cracks or bulges): 12% said yes (12% women, 12% men; 13% 17-24, 26% 25-34, 4% over 65)
  • Broken indicators: 4% said yes (3% women, 5% men; 5% 17-24, 8% 25-34, 0% over 65)
  • 55% said they have not driven with any of the above (58% women, 51% men; 37% 17-24, 38% 25-34, 77% over 65)

Q4: What items do you carry in your vehicle in winter in case of bad weather or breakdowns?

  • 85% carry an ice-scraper/de-icer (85% 17-24, 90% over 65)
  • 53% carry a torch (32% 17-24, 67% over 65)
  • 51% carry cloths (45% 17-24, 72% over 65)
  • 47% carry a first aid kit (54% 17-24, 57% over 65)
  • 38% carry a blanket/warm clothes (38% 17-24, 37% over 65)
  • 31% carry a warning triangle (19% 17-24, 40% over 65)
  • 27% carry a high-visibility vest (29% 17-24, 28% over 65)
  • 20% carry food and drink (4% 17-24, 15% over 65)
  • 16% carry a spade (7% 17-24, 23% over 65)
  • 3% carry none of the above (0% 17-24, 5% 25-34, 1% over 65)

Q5: The recommended minimum tyre tread depth in wet weather is 3mm. Do you check for this on your vehicle?

  • 10% said no, but they do check they meet the legal minimum requirement (1.6mm) monthly or more (12% women, 9% men; 8% 17-24)
  • 13% said no, but they do check they meet the legal minimum requirement (1.6mm) less than monthly (14% women, 12% men; 4% 17-24)
  • 14% said no, they never check their tyre depth (19% women, 7% men; 5% 17-24)
  • 21% said yes, less than once a month (18% women, 25% men; 18% 17-24)
  • 31% said yes, about once a month (27% women, 35% men; 42% 17-24)
  • 11% said yes, weekly or more (10% women, 12% men, 23% 17-24)

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.

End notes

[1]Direct Line and Brake Reports on Safe Driving 2012-2014: report one, section two – vehicle maintenance, Brake, 2012http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DL_Are_you_ready_to_drive_Sec_2.pdf

[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2013, Department for Transport, 2014

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] VOSA effectiveness report 2012 to 2013, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, 2014

[6] Tyres should be changed at 3mm, RoadSafe, Mira, Continental, 2005

Convictions up, but shocking numbers still drug-driving

29 February 2016 

news@brake.org.uk

As the Department for Transport confirms a six-fold increase in the number of people caught drug-driving, we can reveal huge numbers of drivers and passengers are still taking dangerous risks when it comes to drugs. 

The survey by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line reveals a shocking one in 16 drivers (6%) admit they drive at least once a month after having taken drugs.

The release of these figures comes a year after the introduction of new drug-drive laws designed to make it easier for police to catch criminal drivers. In the 12 months since the law change, there has been a six-fold increase[i] in the number of convictions for drug-driving nationally, but some individual police forces have seen their arrest rates go up by 800%.

On 2 March 2015 it became an offence in England and Wales to drive with even small amounts of 17 legal and illegal drugs in your system, including cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine. The law removed the need to prove the driver was “impaired” and set the levels so low, it effectively brought in a zero tolerance when it comes to drug-driving. The offence carries an automatic 12-month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and a prison sentence of up to six months.[ii]

The change in the law coincided with the introduction of new roadside drug testing kits that are used by the police to detect even tiny amounts of the most commonly used drugs: cannabis and cocaine.

Brake and Direct Line’s survey also found one in 12 people (8%) thought they had probably or definitely been a passenger, in the last year, in a car driven by someone who had taken drugs. Worryingly, one in six people (16%) said they would get in a car with a drug driver.

The latest official road safety figures available show 47 road deaths and 197 serious injuries in 2014 were caused when a driver was impaired by some kind of drugs. This was up from 21 deaths and 181 serious injuries in 2013.[iii] But some estimates suggest around 200 people a year are killed on Britain’s roads by drivers on drugs.

Read more here about how different drugs can affect a person’s driving.

Alice Bailey, campaigns advisor for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “The hundreds of extra convictions over the last 12 months prove just how overdue this law change was. Different drugs have different effects, some slowing reaction times, others making drivers over confident and more likely to take risks, but they all have the potential to make drivers a danger to themselves and all other road users. The government must make sure the police have the necessary resources to carry out these tests and keep catching dangerous drug drivers who risk killing themselves or someone else.”

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line, said: “The significant increase in drug-driving convictions since the change in the law last year should serve as a serious deterrent to those considering getting behind the wheel after taking drugs. This is testament to how, when road safety issues are given due prominence, positive change can be achieved.”

 

Case Study

14-year-old Lillian Groves was knocked down and killed by a speeding driver who had taken cannabis. Her killer was jailed for just eight months but was released after just eight weeks. Her family campaigned for the Government to introduce roadside drug testing devices, and still campaigns for the tougher sentences for those found guilty of drug-driving.

Lillian’s aunt, Michaela Groves, said: "These latest figures show that drug driving is a real problem, putting many lives at risk. All the hard work is making a difference but I fear this is just the tip of the iceberg. It is expected these figures will continue to increase year on year as the drug-drive law becomes embedded nationally. I’m concerned there won't be any real change in driver behaviour until we start seeing the punishments and sentences for drug-driving as harsh as they can be. Therefore we must make the message very clear - if you drive after taking drugs, you will be banned for a long time, at least two years; and if you kill someone after taking drugs and then driving, you will be jailed for 14 years and in addition to this will receive a criminal record. I also would like to see drug-drive education become part of the driving test so young people understand the dangers when they first get behind the wheel."

Audio from Michaela available on request

Take action: Make the Brake Pledge to never drive after taking drugs or drinking any alcohol, plan ahead on nights out so everyone gets home safely, and speak out if a friend is drug-driving.

 

Full survey results

Q1: In the past year, have you driven after taking illegal drugs?

7% of drivers report having driven in the past year after having taken illegal drugs.

•           Once a week or more             3%

•           About once a month               3%

•           Less than once a month         1%

•           No, never                                93%

Q2: Within the past year, have you been a passenger with a driver who has taken illegal drugs or may still be affected by taking them?

One in five people (18%) might have been a passenger in a car driven by a person on drugs in the past year.

•           Definitely                     3%

•           Probably                      5%                  

•           Possibly/don’t know    10%

•           Definitely not               82%

Q3: If you had been relying on a designated driver to drive you home, and then found out that they had been taking drugs, would you get in?

One in six people would get into the car with a designated driver who they knew had taken drugs.

•           Yes, probably, no matter what the circumstances     3%

•           Yes, but only if they seemed safe to drive                 13%                

•           No, definitely not                                                         84%

 

Notes to Editors:

For interview opportunities with Brake and Michaela Groves, please contact Brake by email on news@brake.org.uk

Brake urges all drivers to make theBrake Pledgeto never drive after taking drugs or drinking any alcohol, plan ahead on nights out so everyone gets home safely, and speak out if a friend is drug-driving.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or online.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com


[i] http://www.pacts.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/160211-Feb-2016.pdf

[ii] http://think.direct.gov.uk/drug-driving.html

[iii] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/road-accidents-and-safety-statistics, Table number RAS50001

 

 

Don’t let your lunch be a crash diet… warnings about the dangers of eating at the wheel

6 October 2016
news@brake.org.uk

  • A third of drivers reveal they eat at the wheel
  • One in ten drivers admit suffering a near-miss because they were distracted by food

A new survey by Brake, the road safety charity and Direct Line has found a third of drivers questioned sometimes eat food behind the wheel. Just over a quarter of people (27%) have unwrapped and eaten the food and a third (33%) admit to eating food someone else has unwrapped for them.

The worst offenders are drivers aged 25-34. More than half (55%) in this age bracket admitting they have unwrapped and then eaten at the wheel, with just under a third of those admitting to doing it at least once every week.

Additionally, one in ten of the drivers who responded said they had been involved in a near-miss because they were distracted by eating food. A near-miss was classed as having to suddenly brake or swerve to avoid a hazard.

Research shows that drivers who eat and drink at the wheel are twice as likely to crash[i] and this risk may be even higher if the food is hot, messy or you have to unwrap yourself[ii]. Eating and drinking while driving diverts attention away from the driving task, increasing reaction times by up to 44%, meaning drivers will respond to hazards much more slowly. It also causes physical distraction, as at least one hand is off the wheel holding food or drink[iii].

While is not against to law to eat while driving it can become a crime if a person’s driving becomes distracted because they are unwrapping food or eating it. Driving without due care and attention or careless driving is a criminal offence, whatever the distraction. The maximum penalty for the offence is a driving ban.

Case study

Off-duty firefighter and dad of two, Joseph Wilkins was cycling when he was knocked down and killed on a country road near Abingdon in May 2012. The driver was eating a sandwich at the wheel and convicted of causing death by careless driving.

Joe’s partner Nicci Saunders said: "Joe was a kind, caring, loving, father and my best friend.  He was in training to cycle from Lands End to John O’Groats and had completed the same ride twice that week.  He went out on 24th May with a friend to do the ride again.  He kissed his two young children goodnight, kissed me goodbye and went out.  The next time I saw him he was lying dead in a road after being hit by a car at 60 miles an hour, breaking his neck.  To tell a two and a five year old that their daddy will never be coming home again is still the worst thing I have ever had to do in my life. 

Joe was cycling down a straight road on a beautiful sunny day when Paul Brown was distracted by eating a sandwich while driving.  He had over 13 seconds to see Joe, but didn't, and ploughed straight into his back wheel, killing him instantly.  The thought that he lost his life was inconceivable but to find out it was due to someone eating made it feel even more of a loss.  This just should not have happened.  

I see people all the time eating and drinking in cars and by doing this taking their eyes off the road.  Just a couple of seconds can take another person’s life and put hurt in to a family that never goes away.  It's been four and a half years now, yet he is still missed as much now as he was on that first day.  The girls, as they get older understand more what they are missing without having their dad around and all because someone couldn't wait to get home to eat.”

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns advisor for Brake, said: “Imagining a distracted driver you may think of someone on a mobile phone, but many things can dangerously draw our attention away from the roads around us. In the fast-paced world we live in it is sometimes tempting to eat on the go, but drivers who are distracted by something else, even food, significantly increase their risk of causing a devastating crash. If you’re hungry, you probably need to take a short break from driving to eat and recuperate before continuing your journey when you’re not distracted by hunger or eating.”  

Gus Park, commercial director of motor at Direct Line said: "Whilst we appreciate people's busy lifestyles often dictate that we eat on the go and that a sudden pang of hunger can seem impossible to ignore, we urge drivers not to let their stomachs get in the way of good judgement and safe driving. If you really can't wait until you reach your destination to eat, then stopping off for a comfort break is a much better idea than eating at the wheel. Pit-stops provide a great opportunity to re-energise before the next leg of your journey."

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

For more regional figures please contact Brake on news@brake.org.uk

Five worst regions for eating and driving near-misses

  1. London                        28%
  2. Scotland                      17%
  3. North East                   13%
  4. East Midlands              13%
  5. West Midlands             12%

Full survey results

Q.1 Within the past year, have you eaten food you opened/unwrapped yourself while driving?

  Total % 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Yes, once a week or more 4.3 12.2 16.6 2.7 3.8 1.2 1.5
Yes, about once a month 6.8 8.5 25.8 9.6 5.3 3.4 1.5
Yes, less than once a month 3.4 11.3 1.9 4.4 2.0 5.0 0
Yes, once or twice 12.6 9.6 10.2 23.5 12.1 7.7 15.3
No, never 72.9 58.4 45.5 59.8 76.8 82.6 81.7
Average no. times 3.5 8.2 12.0 3.3 3.0 1.5 1.3

Q.2 Within the past year, have you eaten food opened/unwrapped and passed to you by a passenger while driving? 

  Total % 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Yes, once a week or more 3.4 5.3 19.9 3.4 1.0 1.7 0
Yes, about once a month 7.3 15.8 18.0 10.5 9.1 1.3 3.4
Yes, less than once a month 5.3 13.7 7.8 7.4 3.0 4.5 3.2
Yes, once or twice 17.8 14.1 11.8 25.4 18.9 17.0 16.6
No, never 66.3 51.0 42.6 53.3  68.0 75.5  76.8 

Q.3 Within the past year, have you had a near miss (e.g. had to brake or swerve suddenly to avoid a hazard) because you were distracted by food or drink?

  Total % 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+
Yes, more than once 3.3 7.1 16.8 3.1 3.4 0 0
Yes, once 7.0 17.1 23.9 12.7 4.1 2.7 0.5
No 89.8 75.8 59.3 84.2 92.5 97.3 99.5

This is a survey of 1000 people.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com

Government challenged to work towards zero road deaths, as charity sets out priorities to stem rising casualties

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

At a parliamentary reception held at the House of Commons today (14 July 2015), road safety charity Brake has set out its vision for a future free of the needless trauma of road death and injury. See photos here.

Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend told an audience of new and returning MPs that, following the first annual increase in road casualties of all severities in 17 years, the time has come for the government to make a statement of intent by reinstating ambitious casualty reduction targets – with the ultimate goal of reducing deaths and serious injuries on UK roads to zero.

To mark the event, Brake and long-time campaign partners Direct Line Insurance have today released a report examining UK drivers’ reported attitudes and behaviour in a number of key areas over the past decade, and making recommendations for improvement. Findings include:

  • The proportion admitting drink driving has fallen, although a sizeable minority of a third (32%) still admitted driving after drinking any amount of alcohol in 2013, compared with more than half (51%) in 2003.
  • The overall proportion of drivers saying they use mobiles at the wheel has fallen slightly, with less than half (45%) admitting doing this in 2013, compared with 54% in 2006. However, most drivers who used to use hand-held phones at the wheel appear to have switched to using hands-free phones, which is just as dangerous [1]. Texting has remained a constant issue, and use of internet and apps is an emerging threat to safety.
  • It’s become less common for drivers to admit speeding overall, but it remains a widespread threat. In 2015, more than half of drivers (57%) admitted speeding, an improvement on 88% in 2004. However, drivers are continuing to admit speeding on urban roads at similar levels, risking the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Young drivers have been consistently shown to be more likely to take a range of risks, including speeding and mobile phone use. However surveys have also shown widespread support among drivers for a new ‘graduated driver licensing’ system to improve the safety of new drivers, with 84% in favour of a minimum leaner period. Find out more in the full report.

Brake has set out further key road safety policies necessary to help make its vision a reality:

  • An effective zero-tolerance drink drive limit (of 20mg alcohol per 100ml of blood) to sever the link between drinking and driving for good. Find out more.
  • Greater priority given to traffic policing and increased penalties for mobile phone use and speeding, to pose a stronger deterrent against driving distracted, impaired or dangerously. Find out more.
  • A system of graduated driver licensing, to allow new drivers to learn in a safer and more structured environment while less exposed to risk, and help tackle young driver crashes. Find out more.
  • A default urban speed limit of 20mph, to cut casualties among the most vulnerable road users and allow people to walk and cycle in their communities without fear. Find out more.

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said:“We often hear that the UK has among the safest roads in the world. Yet after years of progress in bringing down casualties, figures for 2014 have revealed the first annual increase for 17 years. Every death and injury is devastating, as Brake knows well from supporting bereaved and injured victims, and every one is preventable. People on foot and bike – those travelling via the healthiest, least polluting and harmful means – have borne the brunt of the recent increase in casualties. In fact, if you travel by foot or bike in the UK you are far more likely to be killed or injured than in many of our European neighbours.

“There is far more we can do to make our roads as safe as they can be, where no one must pay the ultimate price for getting around. Global research and experience shows that measures like graduated driver licensing, 20mph limits and a lower drink drive limit are effective in preventing loss of life, and making our streets and communities safer, more pleasant places. We are appealing to the government to respond to the rise in casualties and seize the opportunity of preparing a new road safety strategy, by making clear that ultimately, we should be moving towards zero road deaths and injuries and ensuring everyone can get around without fear or threat.”

Gus Park, Direct Line’s director of motor,added: “One death or injury on our roads is one too many. That’s why since 2003 Direct Line and Brake have been producing our Reports on Safe Driving. These reports have, and continue to provide an insight into what needs to be done, advice for drivers and recommendations for Government to make our roads safer for everyone.”

Notes for editors

Quick reference: road casualty statistics

Casualties of all severities rose to 194,477 in Great Britain in 2014 (latest figures), an increase of 6% from 2013, interrupting what was a steady downward trend since 1997. The number of people seriously injured rose by 5% to 22,807, and the number of people killed rose by 4% to 1,775 [2].

People on foot and bike bore the brunt of the rise in casualties. Pedestrian deaths rose by 12% to 446, accounting for three quarters of the overall rise in fatalities. Serious injuries to cyclists rose by 8% to 3,401, continuing a long term trend that has been ongoing since 2004 [3].

Full detailed statistics can be found in the Department for Transport’s annual casualty report for 2014,available here.

About the report

The Brake and Direct Line summary report on safe driving, 2003-15, released today (Tuesday 14 July 2015) summarises some of the key findings of more than a decade of driver survey reports. The reports examine driver attitudes, knowledge and behaviour in relation to all aspects of safe driving, from fitness to drive to breaking traffic laws.

The summary focuses on three key threads of the reports – fitness to drive, driver distraction, and speed. It outlines the facts, trends, and makes key policy recommendations for improvement.

The reports are based on regular representative surveys of 1,000 drivers from across the UK, carried out on behalf of Brake by independent research company Surveygoo. To consult the reports in more detail, see www.brake.org.uk/safedrivingreports.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, orThe Brake Blog. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.

End notes

[1] Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance: a case-crossover study, University of Western Australia, 2005

[2] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: main results 2014, Department for Transport, 2015.

[3] Ibid

Government red tape puts brakes on 20mph limits

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Brake, the road safety charity

news@brake.org.uk
 

Stronger national leadership needed to unlock full potential, report finds

A research report released today (30 September 2015) by Brake, the road safety charity, has called for the removal of unnecessary barriers faced by local councils in implementing 20mph speed limits to deliver safer walking and cycling. The report finds that moving to 20mph limits across built up areas would deliver significant safety benefits, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, and suggests red tape and a lack of strong national government leadership is at fault for the current UK postcode lottery when it comes to reaping the benefits of lower traffic speeds in communities.

A freedom of information request submitted by Brake to all 206 local traffic authorities in Great Britain regarding their decisions to implement 20mph limits or not identified some key stumbling blocks, including:

  • Cost. With local authority budgets under severe pressure, many councils view the cost of introducing 20mph limits as prohibitive, with much of the costs (75% in one case) spent on installing repeater signs in line with current regulation. Although many councils recognise this cost is likely to be outweighed in the long run by crash prevention, it is enough to discourage some councils. The government could reduce these costs by amending signage regulation.
  • Central government guidance. The government’s guidance on introducing 20mph limits states trouble-free compliance is likely on roads where average traffic speeds are already 24mph or below [1]. This has been misinterpreted by some councils as meaning 20mph limits should not be introduced on roads with higher average speeds, when doing so has been shown to achieve greater speed reductions. Brake argues the government can show stronger leadership and remove red tape by revising guidance to be less prohibitive.

With 20mph increasingly the norm in urban areas across the UK, Brake advocates making this the national default urban speed limit, alongside its 16 GO 20 coalition partners. This would avoid problems currently experienced by local authorities by only requiring them to spend money signing exceptional roads that are appropriate to remain at 30mph or higher. This would also be easier for drivers to understand and would likely increase compliance and speed reduction.

However, short of changing the urban default, Brake is recommending that major progress could be made in making walking and cycling safer, and big savings achieved, by relaxing regulations on repeater signs on 20mph roads and revising government guidance on setting local speed limits.

Small margins make a big difference

Reaffirming the wide-ranging benefits of 20mph limits, the report found that signs-only 20mph speed limits can be expected to achieve, as a minimum, a 1mph reduction of average traffic speeds, leading to a 6% reduction in collisions. Where limits are backed up with public awareness and enforcement campaigns, speed reductions could be as much as 4mph, reducing collisions by almost a quarter (24%). The report suggests this improvement in safety is likely to have a positive impact on walking and cycling levels, with significant health and environmental benefits.

Dr Tom Fisher, research manager for Brake, said: “At a time when local authority budgets are being slashed by central government, that government has a duty to do what it can to enable those authorities to spend that cash as efficiently as possible. However, when it comes to making streets in their communities safer, the government is tying the hands of cash-strapped councils with out-dated and unnecessary regulation.

“20mph limits are an effective and globally-recognised solution to unacceptably dangerous roads in our cities, towns, and villages. Ultimately, we would like to see 20mph become the default urban speed limit in the UK. In the meantime, the government can remove red tape and show stronger leadership by providing clearer and more positive guidance, and by doing away with the requirement for costly repeater signs.”

About Brake’s GO 20 campaign

Brake is part of a broad coalition of organisations calling for more local authorities to adopt widespread 20mph limits, and for the government to make 20mph the national urban default, through its GO 20 campaignTweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #GO20.

Why GO 20?

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have far more time to react in an emergency. Studies show when 20 limits replace 30, there are fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists [2].
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling [3].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution: If more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity costs society dearly [4]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services [5]. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 pays for itself many times over [6]. It also helps people save money by choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

Notes for editors

About the report

GO 20: Towards changing the default urban speed limit to 20mph was produced by Brake, the road safety charity, in autumn 2015, with kind sponsorship from Bridgestone. The report is divided into two sections: a literature review exploring current evidence on 20mph limits and their effects, and results of a freedom of information request to local authorities exploring their implementation and experiences of 20mph limits. 122 of 206 local authorities in Great Britain provided a response. Read the full report.

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, orThe Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

End notes

[1]Department for Transport circular 01/2013: setting local speed limits, Department for Transport, 2013

[2] For example, 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001;  20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010

[3] Where widespread 20 limits have been introduced levels of walking and cycling increased by 20% Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012

[4] The annual costs of physical inactivity in England are estimated at £8.2 billion. At least five a week - evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health - a report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 2004

[5] Road casualties in Britain cost an estimated £34.8billion in 2011, due to the burden on health and emergency services, criminal justice costs, insurance payouts, and human costs. Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

[6] In Bristol, 20mph resulted in a massive return on investment because of cost savings to the health service through increased physical activity. They used the World Health Organisation’s Health Economic Assessment Tool to estimate the changes in costs. They found for every £1 spent they saw a return of £24.72 through increased walking and £7.47 through increased in cycling. Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012.  Reducing speeds in urban environments reduces casualties. For each 1mph speed reduction, casualties decrease by 5%, the effects of drivers’ speed on the frequency of road accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 2000, fewer crashes reduces the burden on the NHS, emergency services and local economy. Each death on roads costs £1.7 million and each serious injury costs £190,000, Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

It’s never clever to use a smartphone while driving

Friday July 29 2016

news@brake.org.uk

  • Almost half of drivers aged 25-34 use apps while driving (49%)
  • More than half of 25-34 year olds read or write text messages while driving (55%) 
  • Drivers aged 18-35 are most likely to text or use apps behind the wheel

A new survey by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line reveals around half of drivers aged between 25 and 34 are taking huge risks by texting, using apps or going online on their mobiles when they are behind the wheel.

More than half (55%) of 25-34 year old drivers questioned admitted they had sent or read a text message on their mobile, while behind the wheel of their car, in the last year.

Despite it being illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone at all while driving, more than four in 10 (42%) revealed they send or read messages at least once a week.

One in five young drivers (18-24) confirmed they regularly text and/or instant message when they are behind the wheel.

Just under half of drivers (49%) aged 25-34 admitted they sometimes go online or use apps (other than sat nav apps) while driving. Almost a third of drivers in that age group said they do that several times a week at least.

Driving is a highly unpredictable and risky activity, so it requires full concentration at all times. Drivers who divide their attention between their phone and the road are significantly increasing their risk of causing a devastating crash.

Reading and writing messages – whether texting, emailing or using apps or social networks – while driving is even more distracting than talking on a phone, as it takes your mind, hands and eyes off the road. Texting drivers’ reaction times are 35% slower and they also have poor lane control.[i] One large-scale study found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash than a driver paying full attention.[ii]

Reaching for a mobile phone can be an irresistible temptation for some, despite knowledge of the risks. In the UK, experts have warned of increasing levels of smartphone addiction by users who are unable to go without checking their phone for short periods or through the night.[iii]

A study of in-vehicle video footage estimated that 22% of crashes could be caused, at least in part, by driver distraction. It also showed that drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel are two to three times more likely to crash.[iv]

Many drivers allow themselves to be distracted because they believe they are in control, and do not believe distraction poses a significant risk.[v] However, research shows drivers are not able to correctly estimate how distracted they are[vi] and 98% are not able to divide their attention without a significant deterioration in driving performance.[vii]

REAL LIFE IMPACT  - case study

42 year old teacher, and mum of two, Zoe Carvin was killed when a 26 year old lorry driver ploughed into a queue of traffic because he was reading a text message. Her husband Paul Carvin said: “When Zoe died it wasn’t as if she had cancer that couldn’t be cured, it was because someone did something stupid. It was such a pointless death. Her death affected hundreds of lives. Two children have been brought up without a mother, 30 children lost their teacher, a driver has been jailed for three years; his life will never be the same either. My daughter recently got engaged and is planning a wedding without her mum. Family members have suffered with depression; it affects us every single day. I recently saw a young woman texting with two small children in the car swerving all over the road obviously not in control of her vehicle. If she only knew what it would feel like for them to grow up without her, or for her to live without them. Crashes like this devastate families. They are entirely preventable.”

Alice Bailey, campaigns and communications adviser for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Younger drivers, especially those aged between 25 and 34, simply aren’t getting the message about the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving. Doing any other complex task while driving hugely increases your chance of crashing. We’ve seen recent examples of drivers who have crashed while trying to play games like Pokémon Go or posting Snapchat images while behind the wheel. These drivers are putting their own and other people’s lives in grave danger by taking this risk. If a phone has to be used as a sat nav, it must be programmed before setting off on the journey and properly secured. There is no other acceptable way to use a phone while driving.”

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line said: “Reading a text message is not a matter of life and death but taking your eyes off the road could well be. It’s simple – wait until your journey is finished or you are safely parked somewhere before you use your phone.”

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Full survey results

The survey consisted of 1,000 drivers and was conducted by Surveygoo.

Q.1 Within the past year, have you driven while sending or reading a text or instant message?

                                                                                  Age Band

                                                  Total    18-24    25-34    35-44    45-54    55-64    65+

Yes, once a day or more           2%         8%       10%       1%      2%        0%        1%

Yes, several times a week         6%       12%      28%        6%     3%        2%        1%

Yes, once a week                       2%         3%        4%        5%      1%        1%         0%

Yes, once a month                     0%         4%        1%        0%       0%        0%        0%

Yes, only once or twice              5%        7%       12%      10%      6%        2%        1%

No                                              85%       67%       45%      79%     88%      95%      97%

Q.2 Within the past year, have you driven while using the internet, social media or other apps on your phone (not including using it as a sat-nav)?

                                                                              Age Band

                                                      Total    18-24    25–34   35-44    45-54    55-64    65+

Yes, once a day or more             3%       4%      17%        2%        2%        0%         0%

Yes, several times a week           4%     12%      14%       6%        3%        0%         0%

Yes, once a week                         0%       2%        0%       1%         0%        0.5%     0%

Yes, once a month                       1%       2%        2%       1%         0%        1%         0%

Yes, only once or twice                3%       8%      16%       8%         0%        0.5%     0%

No                                                89%      72%      51%      82%      95%      98%    100%

 

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com



[ii] Driver Distraction in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 2009

[iv] The impact of driver inattention on near-crash/crash risk, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006

[v] Driver distraction, RoSPA, 2007

[vi] Assessing the awareness of performance decrements in distracted drivers, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, 2008

Just one shot could ruin your tournament

9 June 2016 

news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is reminding football fans to leave their cars at home if they are heading to the pub to watch any of the Euro 2016 games. 

Each year around 250 people are killed in crashes where at least one driver was over the limit[i]. That means in the time it takes for us to find out who will be crowned European Champions another 20 families could have suffered the devastation of losing a loved, because of a drink-driver.  

Drink-driving remains one of the biggest killers on our roads: one in seven road deaths are at the hands of someone who got behind the wheel over the limit. Many more casualties may be caused by drivers who have had a drink but are under the limit, as even this makes you at least three times more likely to die in a crash.

A recent government survey[ii] revealed the number of drivers who admit to drink-driving or possibly driving over the limit has increased slightly over the last two years. Between 2013 and 2015 the number of drivers who admitted drink-driving went up from 2% to 4% and the number who admitted driving when they could be over the limit rose from 7% to 9%.

The increase was bigger for young drivers: the number of 17-34s who admitted to drink-driving increased from 2% to 5% and the number who said they drive when they might be over the limit went up from 8% to 12%. That means almost one in eight young drivers could well be breaking the law, as well as putting their own and other people’s lives in danger.  

The study also shows a worrying decline in the numbers of people who view it as unacceptable to drive if you are NOT SURE if you are over the limit. This is also driven by 17-34 year olds.

In 2013, 71% of 17-34s agreed that it is extremely unacceptable to drive if you MAY be over the limit, but by last year that figure had dropped to 61%.

The biggest shift in opinion is seen among young male drivers. In 2013 68% of male drivers aged 17-34 agreed it was extremely unacceptable to drive if you are unsure if are over the drink-drive alcohol limit. The latest figures put that number at just 54% among young men who drive.

Campaigns adviser for Brake, the road safety charity, Alice Bailey said: “If you’re watching any of the games with your mates down the pub, never be tempted to drink if you are driving. Even small amounts of alcohol increase your risk of crashing and the only safe amount to have before getting behind the wheel is none at all. We see the devastating consequences caused to families when their loved ones are killed by drink-drivers. It’s never worth the risk to both yourself and all other road users. Go out, enjoy the football, and if you want to enjoy a pint, just leave the car at home.”

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Drink-drive penalties

In the UK if a driver is found to be over the drink-drive limit, and/or driving while impaired by alcohol, they can receive a maximum penalty of six months in prison, an unlimited fine and an automatic driving ban of at least one year. If a driver kills someone while under the influence of alcohol, they can be charged with causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs (Section 3A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended by the Road Traffic Act 1991, section 3)), which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Get more information on Brake’s #notadrop campaign here

More facts about drink-driving can be found here

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. 

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

 


[i] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014

[ii] THINK! Road Safety Biennial Survey 2006-2015

Kwik Fit & Brake

kwik fit logo

Kwik Fit has been helping keep British drivers safer on the roads for over 45 years and has teamed up with Brake to highlight the importance of car maintenance in improving road safety.

Brake logo with strap red

While car manufacturers continually develop technology to make vehicles ever safer, the most important factor in reducing incidents remains the behaviour of the person behind the steering wheel.

In a 2017 survey, Kwik Fit wanted to ask British adult motorists to find out their top driving irritations, to highlight the importance of being considerate to other road users. As a result, Kwik Fit created a guide to modern motoring etiquette to expose the bad habits of drivers with the help of some more innocent drivers!

 

Over half (57%) of Brits surveyed said that being tailgated by other road users is the biggest driving annoyance, whilst aggressive driving (55%) and failing to indicate (53%) followed to make up the top 3. Modern habits are also starting to get noticed, such as texting at the wheel and taking selfies in traffic.

And yet it seems we are unaware of our own bad habits on the road - Nine in ten (93%) Brits believe that other drivers are to blame and are oblivious to other road users, whereas nine in ten (95%) respondents believed themselves to be respectful road users!

Table of results

Kwik Fit is encouraging every road user to make the Brake Pledge, to help them and other road users stay safe on the road. Kwik Fit want to help ensure drivers stay secure by providing maintenance advice and support, but are also supporting Brake the road safety charity to raise awareness on road safety overall.

KwikFit banner

Make traffic policing and casualty reduction a priority, says charity, as half of drivers admit flouting traffic laws

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

A report released today (28 April 2015) by road safety charity Brake and Direct Line has revealed worrying and widespread disregard for traffic laws among UK drivers, with half (49%) admitting to breaking them.

Half of drivers who admit breaking traffic laws (25% of all drivers) say they do so through inattention, while the other half (23% of all drivers) admit doing so deliberately, because they think they can get away with it or do not agree with the laws. This makes it clear that more needs to be done both to enforce traffic laws, and to persuade drivers to buy in to the importance of complying with them.

With dedicated traffic police numbers being continually cut back in recent years [1], Brake is concerned that UK roads are becoming increasingly lawless territory. Police officers have reported that they have been forced to “retreat” from motorways, major and rural roads [2]. At the same time, road deaths and serious injuries recently increased by 4% after decades of reductions [3]. This follows government casualty reduction targets being dropped in 2010, against the advice of road safety experts including Brake.

Brake is calling on any new government to reverse this trend and make traffic enforcement a national policing priority, alongside giving greater impetus to bringing casualties down and making streets safer.

Other key findings from Brake and Direct Line’s report on the state of UK driving include:

  • UK drivers are more confident in the safety of their own driving than they were 10 years ago, with more than two thirds (69%) rating themselves as safer than most other drivers, up from half (50%) in 2005. Drivers judge each other more harshly than themselves, with the majority (58%) saying there are more dangerous drivers than safe drivers on UK roads.
  • Young drivers (17-24) are most likely to rate their driving as safer than others, with three in five (58%) saying they are “much” safer. Given young drivers are proportionately involved in more crashes than older drivers [4], this suggests overconfidence is putting them at risk. Young drivers are more likely to rate the majority of other drivers as dangerous and to feel endangered by them, suggesting they may be more aware of bad habits that become habitual for experienced drivers.
  • When asked what unsafe driving behaviours they witnessed most, distraction (such as from mobile phones) (71%), tailgating (71%), speeding (67%) and risking overtaking (66%) topped the list of UK drivers’ concerns.

Find out more about the state of UK driving by viewing the full report here.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“As these figures make clear, law breaking on our roads is not just down to a minority but endemic. For whatever reason, many seem to feel they are beyond the law or that traffic laws are somehow optional. This represents a failure by government to ensure traffic policing is receiving adequate priority and to make clear the importance and legitimacy of traffic laws. Traffic laws exist to save lives and prevent injuries and terrible suffering. No matter how experienced or skilled a driver you believe yourself to be, you cannot break them safely.

“Whoever takes power after 7 May needs to make traffic policing a national policing priority, to ensure there is a strong deterrent against risky law-breaking on roads. We also need to see road safety given greater political priority, to set casualties falling once more and deliver safer streets for communities everywhere. That means reintroducing road casualty reduction targets, and working harder to win the ideological battle, to ensure everyone who gets behind the wheel understands why the rules exist and accepts their responsibility to abide by them and keep people safe.”

Rob Miles, director of motor at Direct Line,commented: “Drivers continue to flout the rules of the road without realising the devastating impact their actions can have. Traffic laws are there for a reason and breaking them puts lives at risk. 

“Breaking the law whilst behind the wheel can lead to a criminal conviction and being declined for car insurance, with even minor offences leading to fines and increased insurance premiums.”

Brake campaigns for stronger traffic enforcement through itscrackdown campaign. Tweet us:@Brakecharity, hashtag #crackdown. Read the survey report.

Facts

  • Traffic police numbers in England and Wales have fallen by 23% in the past four years, from 5,635 in March 2010 to 4,356 in March 2014 [5]. This continues a trend, highlighted by Brake, which has been ongoing since at least 2008.
  • It is not just overall numbers of traffic police that are falling, but their strength as a proportion of all police officers, down from 3.9% in 2010 to 3.4% in 2014 [6].
  • The most recent national road casualty figures showed that deaths and serious injuries increased by 4% in the year ending September 2014, with deaths up by 1%. Child casualties also saw their first rolling year increase in 20 years [7].

About the report

These survey results come from Section 1 of Report 3: A risky business, part of the Direct Line and Brake reports on safe driving, 2015-17, released today (Tuesday 28 April 2015). The survey consisted of 1,000 drivers and was conducted by Surveygoo. See the report.

Full results

Q1: How do you think the safety of your driving compares with other drivers on the roads today?

  • 0% said they are much more dangerous than most drivers (0% 17-24)
  • 1% said they are slightly more dangerous than most drivers (0% 17-24)
  • 29% said they are about average (19% 17-24)
  • 30% said they are slightly safer than most drivers (23% 17-24)
  • 39% said they are much safer than most drivers (58% 17-24)

Q2: In the past 12 months, what has been your impression of the standard of driving on UK roads?

  • 1% said the roads are full of safe drivers (0% 17-24)
  • 41% said there are more safe drivers than dangerous drivers (20% 17-24)
  • 43% said there are more dangerous drivers than safe drivers (68% 17-24)
  • 15% said the roads are full of dangerous drivers (12% 17-24)

Q3: In the past 12 months, how often have you felt endangered by the behaviour of other drivers?

  • 2% said every time I drive (0% 17-24)
  • 14% said most times I drive (24% 17-24)
  • 56% said sometimes (51% 17-24)
  • 24% said rarely (19% 17-24)
  • 4% said never (5% 17-24)

Q4: In the past 12 months, what kinds of unsafe driving behaviour have you witnessed and been concerned about?

  • 71% said distraction (e.g. by mobile phones, eating/drinking, or any other activity at the wheel unrelated to driving)
  • 71% said tailgating/driving too close to other vehicles
  • 67% said speeding
  • 66% said risky overtaking
  • 59% said turning, pulling out or changing lanes without looking properly
  • 39% said drifting/swerving across lanes or straddling more than one lane
  • 38% said running red lights
  • 29% said road-rage
  • 18% said poor vehicle maintenance
  • 2% said none of the above
  • 0% said they don’t know

Q5: Breaking traffic laws: which statement is most applicable to you?

  • 51% said: I never break traffic laws (60% female, 42% male)
  • 24% said: I break traffic laws sometimes because I’m not paying attention (23% female, 26% male)
  • 12% said: I break traffic laws sometimes because I think I can get away with it (8% female, 16% male)
  • 9% said: I break traffic laws sometimes because I think the laws are wrong/unnecessary (6% female, 13% male)
  • 2% said: I break traffic laws frequently because I think I can get away with it (1% female, 3% male)
  • 1% said: I break traffic laws frequently because I’m not paying attention (1% female, 1% male)
  • 0% said: I break traffic laws frequently because I think the laws are wrong/unnecessary (0% female, 0% male)

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.

End notes

[1] Figures were released by the Ministry of Justice in response to aparliamentary question from Jack Dromey MP to Michael Penning MP, Minister of State for Justice, 2 February 2015

[2]Dramatic rise in road deaths as numbers of traffic police fall, The Independent, 1 February 2015

[3]Increase in road casualties should be wake up call for politicians, says charity, Brake, 5 February 2015

[4] Drivers aged 17-19 only make up 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 12% of fatal and serious crashes.New research highlights need for graduated driving licensing, Transport Research Laboratory, 2014. SeeBrake’s young driver fact page for more information on this issue.

[5]Figures were released by the Ministry of Justice in response to aparliamentary question from Jack Dromey MP to Michael Penning MP, Minister of State for Justice, 2 February 2015

[6] Ibid

[7]Reported road casualties in Great Britain, provisional estimates: Jul to Sep 2014, Department for Transport, 5 February 2015

New figures show Highway Code falls short on stopping distances

News from Brake
Tuesday 25 July, 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Stopping distances in the UK Highway Code should be increased because drivers' thinking time has been underestimated, according to figures obtained by Brake, the road safety charity.

Brake asked TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) to provide evidence on the time taken by car drivers to perceive, recognise and react to emergency situations. TRL referred to academic literature and concluded that the average thinking time is 1.5 seconds − more than double the 0.67 seconds set out in the Highway Code (see table 1).

This means that average total stopping distance − including thinking and braking distance − is an extra 2.75 car lengths (11 metres) at 30mph and an extra 3.75 car lengths (15 metres) at 40mph compared with the distances used in the Code. This difference rises to an additional 6.25 car lengths (25 metres) at 70mph.

Table 1: overall average stopping distances (average car length = 4m)

Speed

20mph

30 mph

40 mph

50 mph

60 mph

70 mph

Brake/TRL study

19m

34m

51m

71m

95m

121m

UK Highway Code

12m

23m

36m

53m

73m

96m

Difference

7m

11m

15m

18m

22m

25m

 

See a graphic showing the differences here.

Brake is calling on the Government to increase stopping distances in its next update to the Highway Code.

Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "These figures suggest stopping distances taught to new drivers in the Highway Code fall woefully short. Even though car braking technology has improved in recent years, the majority of the overall stopping distance at most speeds is actually made up of the time taken to perceive the hazard and react.

"The research shows that average thinking time is more than double that set out in the Highway Code. A true understanding of how long it takes to stop a car in an emergency is one of the most important lessons for new drivers. Understanding true average thinking time reminds all drivers how far their car will travel before they begin to brake  − as well as highlighting how any distraction in the car which extends this time, like using a mobile phone, could prove fatal.

"Brake is calling on the Government to increase the stopping distances in the Highway Code as a matter of urgency."

[ENDS]

Notes to editors:

Cuerden, R. (2017). The mechanics of emergency braking. Transport Research Laboratory: http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/pdf/The-mechanics-of-emergency-braking-2017.pdf

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.

We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

New London Mayor backs urban 20mph speed limits

News from Brake

10 May 2016 
news@brake.org.uk

London has followed many other progressive cities, such as Bristol, in bringing in 20mph limits in urban areas. Currently nine of the 12 inner London boroughs have 20mph limits, compared to just two in 2013, and 20mph limits now cover a third of London’s population.

In previous research conducted by Brake on 20mph limits, reducing the limit from 30 to 20mph has been shown to reduce casualties [1] as drivers have more time to react. At 30mph, if a child runs out three car lengths ahead, you will hit the child at almost full speed, with a high chance of killing or injuring them. At 20mph you should be able to stop in time. Children also benefit from slower speed limits because they struggle to judge the speed of vehicles over 20mph, so often make mistakes crossing roads with faster traffic [2].

In 2014 a Brake survey found that eight in 10 people (78%) think 20mph should be the norm around schools, on residential streets, and in village, town and city centres [3].

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns, said: “It’s fantastic to see that 20mph speed limits are now being widely endorsed by high-profile politicians. Mr Khan’s backing clearly shows that he recognises that 20mph limits can enable people to get around their neighbourhoods, towns and city centres more safely, whilst promoting a healthy and sustainable environment.

“We at Brake believe everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their communities without being put in danger. By lowering speed limits to 20mph from 30mph, we can protect the most vulnerable in society such as people with disabilities, children and anyone on bicycle or on foot.”

GO 20 Coalition

Through its GO 20 campaign, Brake is part of a broad coalition of charities calling for 20mph limits to become the norm in our cities, towns and villages. Ultimately, we want the government to change the national default urban speed limit from 30 to 20mph. In the meantime, we are calling on local authorities to GO 20 by implementing widespread 20mph limits in their own areas; and on drivers to help make our roads safer by slowing down to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops, even where the limit is still 30mph.

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education,services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event,Road Safety Week,every November. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, orThe Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

[1]20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001

[2]Reduced sensitivity to visual looming inflates the risk posed by speeding vehicles when children try to cross the road, University of London, 2011

[3]Eight in 10 back 20mph limits as charity takes campaign to parliament, Brake, 2014

Nine in 10 people want criminal drivers who kill charged with manslaughter

PRESS CALL: 1600 hrs 11 July Wellington Arch, Hyde Park, London

news@brake.org.uk

• 91% of people think drivers on drink or drugs who kill should be charged with manslaughter
• 66% of people believe drivers who kill should be jailed for a minimum of 10 years
• 84% of people think drivers who kill while breaking laws should be charged with dangerous and not careless driving

A survey to mark the launch of Brake’s new “ROADS TO JUSTICE” campaign shows there is huge support for strengthening both the charges and sentences faced by criminal drivers.

91% of people questioned agreed that if someone causes a fatal crash when they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they should be charged with manslaughter. That carries a possible life sentence. At present people can either be charged with causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs. Sentences for those charges range between 26 weeks and 14 years, though sentences at the higher end of the range are rarely handed out.

The survey also reveals most people back much tougher sentences for all criminal killer drivers. Two thirds of people (66%) questioned think those convicted should be jailed for at least 10 years. About half of people asked said the sentence for killing someone in a crash should be at least 15 years and one in five (19.8%) think drivers who kill should be jailed for life. At present almost half of drivers convicted of killing are not jailed at all. The average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone is less than four years.

Brake is now calling on the government to immediately review guidelines for both charging and sentencing criminal drivers.

This new campaign is being backed by a number of recently bereaved families who feel they have not had justice for their loved ones. Dawn and Ian Brown-Lartey lost their son, 25 year old Joseph when a speeding driver ran a red light at more than 80 miles an hour. Today for the very first time, the car Joseph was driving, which was cut in two by the collision, is being put on public display (with support and help from Greater Manchester Police) and brought to the House of Commons.

Joseph’s parents, Ian and Dawn Brown-Lartey, said: “We will never get over the loss of our beautiful son Joseph, who had his whole life ahead of him. Hearing that his killer will serve half of a six-year sentence was a further slap in the face to us and our family. The law needs to change so that sentences for causing death by dangerous driving reflect the crime. We can’t bring Joseph back, but what we can do is campaign in his name to stop other families going through what we are. Joseph’s car was split in two. The emergency services said it was the worst road crash they had ever seen. We want people to see that devastation first hand in the hope of educating young drivers but also to hit home with the government the importance of our campaign.”

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “There are too many families, like the Brown-Lartey’s, who suffer the double trauma of losing a loved one in a sudden and violent way, and then witness the judicial system turning its back on them. That’s why we’re launching our Roads to Justice campaign, which calls on government to get tough on criminal drivers who kill or seriously injure others. We believe the public are behind us, judging from our survey results. People we work with tell us they are left feeling betrayed by the use of inappropriately-termed charges and lenient sentences. Drivers who kill while taking illegal risks are too often labelled ‘careless’ in the eyes of the law, and then given insultingly low sentences when their actions can only be described as dangerous and destructive.”

Brake's survey also revealed overwhelming support for never using charges that describe driving as "careless" in cases where bad driving has resulted in death or injury. 84% of people questioned agreed a charge of dangerous driving should always be brought.
In 2014 176 people were charged with “causing death by dangerous driving” and 205 were charged with “causing death by careless driving”. Brake would argue that all careless driving is dangerous, as if you are not giving your full attention to the road and the task, you are more likely to crash and that crash could be fatal.

Notes to Editors:

For more details contact Alice Bailey at Brake 01484 550063 / 07398 760 832

PRESS CALL Monday July 11th 2016

13.30 - 14.30 Parliament Square, Joseph Brown-Lartey’s car will be driven past Westminster parliament.

15.00 Wellington Arch, Apsley Way, Hyde Park, London, W1J 7JZ at Metropolitan Police Road Safety event
Interview opportunities with the Brown-Lartey’s, Brake and other bereaved families backing the campaign

16.00 Wellington Arch
Full press call with car, family members and supporting MPs


Read more about Joseph Brown-Lartey’s case here:
http://www.key103.co.uk/justiceforjoseph/


Full survey results

[Survey of 1,000 adults in the UK]

Q.1 If a driver who has broken the law kills someone, should they be charged with

Careless driving 7%
Dangerous driving 84%
Don’t know 9%

Q.2 Should a driver who gets behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs and then kills someone be charged with manslaughter?

Yes 91%
No 9%

Q.3 What sentence should a driver receive for killing someone whilst driving?

A fine 2.9%
0 – 4 years 11%
5 – 9 years 19.7%
10 – 14 years 18%
15 years + 28.6%
Life imprisonment 19.8%

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of supportto families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

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Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

[1] Causing death by driving: Definitive guideline, Sentencing Guidelines Council, 2008

[2] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2014, Ministry of Justice, 2015

[3] Criminal justice system statistics: motoring pivot table analytical tool for England and Wales, Ministry of Justice, 2015

[4] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2014, Ministry of Justice, 2015