Brake calls for drivers to step out of their cars at the start of Road Safety Week

12.00 | 23 November 2015 | | 6 comments

Brake has today (23 November) launched a new campaign which calls on people to drive less, on the back of a survey in which 75% of drivers said that people in the UK use their cars too much.

The ‘Drive less, live more’ campaign, launched to coincide with the beginning of Road Safety Week 2015, aims to make roads safer, especially for pedestrians and cyclists, make communities more pleasant, protect the environment and improve public health.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners AIG and Specsavers have published statistics which they say confirms the “devastating effects on health and wellbeing of driving”.

The stats, taken from a survey of 1,000 drivers, reveal that 79% of those surveyed admit to driving on journeys that could be made on foot, bicycle or by public transport – while 85% believe people should reduce car use.

A significant number of respondents (31%) agreed that driving was detrimental to their own/family’s health, and their family’s finances (28%).

Brake also points to data which shows that air pollution is estimated to kill 52,500 people in the UK each year while nearly a third (27%) of UK CO2 emissions come from road transport.

It also says that five deaths and 64 serious injuries happen daily on UK roads and that one in three non-cyclists (35%) would cycle their commute if routes were safer.

The charity also says that 43% of adults in England don’t do the recommended amount of moderate physical exercise, pointing to stats which show that one in four adults in England are obese and a further 37% are overweight.

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.”


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    Actually, Duncan, Brake and its associates were making none of the claims that you are referring to in your “fundamental attribution error” diagnosis.

    They were making observations of what 1,000 drivers felt after contemplating their own journeys by car.

    Whilst the Fundamental Attribution Error may exist, it seems to be more evident in your own comment than in Brake’s report.

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    The Brake campaign is an almost perfect example of an organisation making something called the fundamental attribution error. “The fundamental attribution error is the idea that each of us as an individual is biased toward viewing our behaviors within the context of our circumstances. [Context refers to the system around the person.] However, when we view the behaviors of others we attribute their behaviors to who they are as a person or to their character or character flaws.”

    Your journey is unneccessary, but mine is essential, your speed choice is made because of your cavalier attitude to risk, but mine is made in response to the prevailing conditions. You make nightmare overtakes, but mine are finely judged. Your choice of vehicle represents an unneccessary extravagance, but mine represents a wise choice considering my circumstances and so on and so forth. If we try to solve a problem that is only a problem thanks to the fundamental attribution error then we end up trying to solve a problem that we haven’t got.

    Guarding against the fundamental attribution error is perhaps the most important job for people involved in the management of safety-critical systems, but it isn’t easy which is why it hardly ever gets done.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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    Hugh – I think you will find that many of them are non-drivers representing the green cycling lobby. In fact this is certainly true for Vision Zero of which Brake are a member. ‘Road Safety Week goes green’ says it all really. If you follow Brake’s ‘logic,’ then discouraging people from cycling would save lives/injuries – given the fact that many cyclists simply fall off unaided. In fact Brake’s thinking has to be one-dimensional in order to support their point of view. Take the ‘journeys under 2 miles’ cliche – the purpose of the journey is often the the most important factor – the weekly shop, trip to the DIY store for bulky items,etc. Other factors include weather, convenience, time, infirmity, safety and security etc etc. The school run is one of my pet hates – I walk my grandchildren to/from school twice a week when my daughter is at work. I recognise the fact that some parents have to be in 2 places in a short time frame – a nursery for the younger child and school for the other – locations that may be a mile or two apart. Others have a work routine that means they drop children off at school on the way to work. What’s wrong with accompanying 5 or 7 to 13 year olds to school – they’re under the age of responsibility? Parents want the peace of mind knowing that their children arrived safely – not just from a road safety point of view, but the the likes of abduction too. There are 2 sides to every equation, but Brake only see negatives in cars and drivers. People can work out for themselves how they want to travel, without biased interference, thanks very much!

    Paul Biggs, Tamworth
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    Brake are not suggesting motorised vehicles not be used at all (I’m sure they drive themselves) – it’s those non-essential local, car journeys which could, even occasionally, be made on foot, or on cycles that they’re saying should be considered i.e to the school and the shops. Nothing wrong with that for an idea.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    All praise to BRAKE for making this connection between over-use of motorised transport and road safety. And it really is refreshing to see how many Road Safety GB members are, through their tweets and marketing, supporting this.

    Of course there will be the obvious suspects who try and label this objective recognition of the effects of motorised transport as “anti-car and anti-driver”. But in doing so they tell us more about their own bias and prejudice than shining any informing light on the issue.

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    More evidence, if we needed it, that Brake are simply an anti-driver, anti-car, green group. Extrapolated, loaded agenda-driven surveys shouldn’t impress anyone. From a safety point of view, why would anyone step out of a 5 star safety rated car onto a flimsy bicycle that offers no protection in the event of an accident? I picked up my new glasses from Specsavers last week, but after this nonsense I won’t be going there again. The economy depends on motorised road transport to keep 65 million people alive, not cycling. We all walk to a lesser or greater extent, but very few of us find cycling fit for the purpose or sustainable. The planet is doing just fine, and life expectancy is so high in the UK that the pension age keeps being raised – nothing to do with cycling. By the way, lowering speed limits and making journey times longer just keeps drivers in their vehicles for longer.

    Paul Biggs
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