Pledge to do six simple things to save lives this Road Safety Week

News from Brake


Five people are killed every single day by something we already know how to cure. If people change their driving behaviour, we can prevent the 470 deaths and serious injuries that happen on our roads every week.

This is why Road Safety Week 2016, which is coordinated by Brake, the road safety charity, supported by Specsavers, will focus on the six elements of the Brake Pledge: Slow, Sober, Secure, Silent, Sharp and Sustainable.

The date for Road Safety Week will be 21-27 November and we will be asking everyone to show their commitment to saving lives and road safety by making and sharing Brake's Pledge online. Non-drivers can also take the Pledge to make sure the driver of any car in which they are a passenger sticks to the six Pledge points.

Brake believes that good road safety is made up of these core strands, and a safe driver will adopt each one as part of his or her daily driving routine. The consequences of not driving safely can be catastrophic.

Road safety is more than one part of what a driver does on the road; it is every action that can change the outcome of a journey and the future of individuals, communities and our planet.

Slow: Trying to make up time when running late could be the difference between a safe journey and one that ends in a fatality. Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for the conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in more than one in four (27%) fatal crashes in Great Britain [1].

Sober: That one drink a driver has before getting behind the wheel could affect their ability to make a split-second decision, a decision that might prevent them from killing either themselves or another road user. In 2013 one in 10 (11%) of drivers/motorcycle riders killed had alcohol present in their body even though they weren’t over the limit [2]. One in seven road deaths are at the hands of someone who got behind the wheel over the limit [3].

Secure: Despite their huge impact on road safety, seat belts are still seen as an inconvenience by a minority of drivers, yet using a three-point belt reduces the chance of dying in a crash by 50% [4]. 21% of car occupants killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt [5].

Silent: That phone call a driver thinks simply cannot wait could cost them or another road user their life. Drivers who perform a complex secondary task at the wheel, like using a mobile, are three times more likely to crash than non-distracted drivers [6].

Sharp: Booking in for a regular eye test should be at the top of any driver’s to-do list, as a skipped test may cost someone their life. Road crashes caused by poor driver vision are estimated to cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million in the UK per year [7].

Sustainable: By minimising the amount we drive, or not driving at all, and walking, cycling or using public transport instead we are removing the potential for many crashes to happen in the first place and doing the best we can for the environment and our individual health. Air pollution is a major killer: there are an estimated 29,000 deaths from particulate matter pollution in the UK [8], 5,000 of which are attributable to road transport [9].

This year’s Road Safety Week theme partly builds on the successful 2015 theme, which saw us call on people to ‘drive less, live more’ as Brake focused on the ‘Sustainable’ element of road safety. The Road Safety Week 2015 Evaluation Report found that Road Safety Week reached more people than ever before, thanks to traditional media coverage throughout the Week and an improved social media presence overall.

Gary Rae, Director of Communications and Campaigns for Brake, said: “We’ve designed this year’s theme to be action orientated. Anyone can make and share the Pledge – individuals, businesses and community organisations. It’s practical, and if every driver vowed to slow down, never drink or take drugs when driving or use their mobiles, always wear a seat belt and make sure children are safely restrained, get their eyesight regularly tested, and minimise the amount they drive, then our roads would be safer places for everyone.” 


[1] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2014, Department for Transport, 2015, table RAS50001

[2] Statistical data set: Reported drinking and driving (RAS51), Department for Transport, 2014, table RAS51007

[3] Provisional estimate for 2014, from Reported road casualties Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (second provisional), Department for Transport, February 2016

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

[5] Oral evidence: Road traffic law enforcement, HC 518, Transport Select Committee, 7 December 2015

[6] The Impact of Driver Inattention On Near-Crash/Crash Risk: An Analysis Using the 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study Data, US Department of Transportation, 2006

[7] Fit to Drive: a cost benefit analysis of more frequent eyesight testing for UK drivers, RSA Insurance Group plc, 2012

[8] Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England, 2014

[9] Steve H. L. Yim and Steven R. H. Barrett, “Public Health Impacts of Combustion Emissions in the United Kingdom”, Environmental Science & Technology 2012 46 (8), 4291-4296