Alcohol has been identified as a major contributing factor to a 12% increase in the number of incidents involving adult pedestrians on roads in the north east of England.
In response, Road Safety GB North East region has launched a new campaign, Check Out Before You Step Out, to coincide with the onset of dark nights when the number of pedestrian incidents typically rises.
Of the 3,328 adults involved in pedestrian accidents across the region during the last five years, almost half of them involved people aged between 16 and 35; 78 of these casualties were fatality injured and 756 were seriously injured. Adults also account for almost nine out of 10 of total pedestrian fatalities on the region’s roads, and adult pedestrian incidents on the region’s roads increased 12% in 2012.
A large number of incidents occur during the winter months and during the hours of darkness, particularly over Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights when young people are out drinking. The highest numbers occur in large towns and cities; Newcastle has had the greatest number, followed by County Durham, Sunderland, Northumberland and Gateshead.
Check Out Before You Step Out uses traditional media and social media including Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness among pedestrians and drivers, and specifically targets colleges, universities and licensed premises.
Each of the region’s 12 road safety officers will also promote the campaign in their towns and cities, and ask businesses and colleges to display posters and distribute flyers.
Alan Kennedy, road safety manager at Durham County Council and chairman of Road Safety GB, said alcohol and failing to pay attention were two of the major contributing factors, with young people aged between 16 and 24 accounting for a third of the victims.
He said: “Young adults who are out after dark, particularly those that are drinking, are most at risk, so we’re urging them to look after themselves and to keep their friends and family safe, too.
“Drivers must also take responsibility and pay particular attention to pedestrians. People are not always easy to see at night or at times of poor weather, so we would appeal to drivers to take extra care and to watch their speed.
“Pedestrians have no protection, so a car travelling just a few miles over the speed limit can have a catastrophic effect.
“Our message to everyone this winter is to stay alert and stay alive.”
For more information contact Karen Westcott at DTW on 01287 610404.