Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across UK is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity 

Note: this is the national version of this release. Click here for versions specific to your region or specialist audience.

  • Two fixed penalties for 'careless driving' or speeding issued every minute
  • Two in five (41%) UK primary school children say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which police across the country will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of UK drivers senselessly risking lives by flouting traffic laws. Almost one million fixed penalty notices were issued for 'careless driving' and speeding offences in 2013 –almost two a minute. 950,505 were for speeding and 17,483 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by region and postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas [3].

This lack of patience and consideration towards other road users can and does result in tragedy (see case studies below). It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake's survey of 5,000 primary school children [4], released today, show:

  • two thirds (67%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • two in five (41%) say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

That's why Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect people on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for the look out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don't look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That's why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we're asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we're all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes."

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers' national lead for roads policing, added: "Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake's week."

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying: "Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and improving safety is an absolute priority for this government. Cycling and walking are both great exercise and benefit our environment and economy, and I want more people to feel safe on our roads.

"This is why we have made significant investments in road safety and improved education resources for schools, made it easier for councils to introduce 20mph zones and increased fixed penalties for driving offences."

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented: "A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says: "Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, 'look out for each other'. But 'looking out for each other' isn't just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it's about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road."

Facts and advice:

'Vulnerable road users' (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders) account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver's speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can't, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates [7], and drivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash [8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won't notice a difference in your journey time. You'll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it's safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it's a big public health issue. 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]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer [13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error [14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, at

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Week here.
Iris Yee and Gary Igoea will be at the national launch and available for interview. Caroline MacIntyre will be at the Edinburgh launch and is available for pre-recorded interviews.

Lidia Zoetemelk, 42, from London, was travelling to work on her 50cc scooter in south east London when she was hit by a turning truck. She was killed instantly. Find out more.

Lidia's partner, Iris Yee, says: "Lidia's death was a shock to everyone who knew her. To have someone so young, with such a vibrant zest and energy for life, die so tragically and unexpectedly, has been devastating. My world collapsed when she was killed. We were on the brink of starting the next chapter of our lives. We had so much to look forward to, with so many exciting plans and dreams. I have no anger towards the driver of the vehicle for what happened, but I do want to help prevent more tragedies. Lidia often commuted to work by moped or bicycle. She was one of many vulnerable road users. This is why I'm supporting Road Safety Week. More has to be done to prevent deaths like Lidia's, especially improving visibility for drivers of large vehicles, and persuading all drivers to slow down and keep careful look out for people on foot and bike. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, especially the most vulnerable road users.''


Jason MacIntyre, 34, from Fort William, was a well-known Scottish racing cyclist. He was hit by a van while on his bike on 15 January 2008 and died on the way to hospital. Find out more.

Caroline MacIntyre, Jason's wife, says: "The crash has had a catastrophic impact on our lives; it is with us on a daily basis, not only for me, but for our daughters. It has been seven years since the crash and it never gets easier. I'm not sure it's fully sunk in for any of us yet. As an up and coming cycling star he had lots of supporters who were also devastated. He was the most incredible husband and father throughout the difficulties we had with our daughter Morgan being in intensive care, and he put his family above anything. It is devastating for me to be bringing up our children without their father. It takes just a few moments to double check for vulnerable road users like Jason on his bike, and a moment of impatience can cost someone their life. Is that something you can live with on your conscience? So my message to drivers is please, slow down and take your time to look out for people – don't risk destroying lives.''


Timothy Igoea, 44, from Heighington, Lincolnshire, was crossing the road on a spring day when he was hit on the back of the head by a van wing mirror. He subsequently died in hospital. Find out more.

Timothy's brother, Gary Igoea, lives in Lincoln. He says: "Tim's death affected everybody in so many different ways. He was a truly special man; there are not many people you will meet in life like him. There was a strength about him that would dumbfound anyone, especially after his first crash; he almost pushed his disabilities to one side in his determination. I am so proud to have had a brother like Tim – when most people would have crumbled, he stayed strong. He had an incredible passion for life and he was taken from us and his family too early. That's why, this Road Safety Week, I want to tell people that when you get into a car, it's like holding a loaded gun: you have the power to destroy both the life of the victim and the lives of their family and friends. So please, look out for each other, don't be complacent, and be courteous on the road."

Notes for editors:


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.

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 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.


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. 


  • 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 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 4,787 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools across the UK participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 67% said yes, 33% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 41% said yes, 59% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998