Fire crews will spread road safety messages

12.00 | 29 May 2012 | | 4 comments

Fire crews will engage with the public across Britain to pass on safety messages as part of the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) National Road Safety Day on 6 July.

Fire and Rescue Services across the country will lend their support to convey road safety messages at motorway service stations, car parks and petrol stations. The key theme for the event is: “Only a fool breaks the two-second rule”.

Lee Howell, CFOA president, said: “I am delighted that CFOA is leading on this important road safety initiative.

“Despite the success over the recent years in reducing the number of road traffic collisions there are still an average of five deaths and 65 serious injuries on the UK roads each day.”

At a national level within the Fire and Rescue Service, responsibility for road safety sits within the Prevention, Protection and Road Safety (PPRS) Directorate.

Dave Curry, director of PPRS, said: “25% of all fire and rescue service call outs are to road traffic collisions.

“Everyday our fire crews deal with the traumatic aftermath of appalling road accidents, which are preventable. As a result of this experience and our positive relationship with the public, the fire and rescue service is ideally placed to deliver road safety messages.”

Dave Etheridge, CFOA lead for road safety, added: “We want to encourage all Fire and Rescue Services to get involved in talking to the public on CFOA National Road Safety Day.

“Too many people drive far too close to the car in front and don’t allow enough time to brake safely. A recent Brake and Direct Line survey discovered that 53% of those questioned admit to breaking the two-second rule on motorways. Don’t forget to keep your distance and drive according to the weather conditions.”

Click here for details of local events planed for the day, or for more information contact Jackie Findlay on 01827 302370.


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    I firmly support any efforts to reduce casualties on our roads, however, in my view, the interventions need to be targeted and coordinated and based upon robust data analysis. I am sure that all of us would be happy to support any road safety interventions working together, my worry is that this is often now not the case and we are in danger of duplication and dilution of messages. I wonder how many road safety teams were contacted prior to decisions being made on this initiative and indeed how many are part of the action on the day.

    Terry Beale, Taunton, Someret
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    Paraphrasing the HC (para 126) that, ‘you must be able to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear’ is probably the most important sentence in the HC. Two seconds is likely to be a blue smoke job and most drivers are generally much less than that. Police driving schools certainly used to recommend a following distance (as opposed to a hold-back prior to overtaking) of 3-4 seconds. 30% of road crashes are front to rear end shunts. If people were prosecuted for going into the back of another vehicle then that would send a massive message to the general driver about taking responsibility for their own safety.

    The RTC on the M5 caused several deaths. It seems to me (as is probably the case with most M-Way crashes) that these were a result of people being unable to stop in time.
    When will road safety organisations and the government latch on to this very simple principle?

    Nigel Albright, TAUNTON
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    The two second rule comes from the estimate that a vehicle travels 1.5ft per mile per hour or 105ft at 70. The overall stopping distance is 315ft – assuming a driver reacts at the same time as the driver in front 210 feet is available for braking hence the two second rule. I agree that it is cutting it fine as a line of road users are extremely unlikely to react at the exact same time to an event. This assumption is rarely put across when people are educated about the two-second rule.

    Dr James Whalen, Wolverhampton
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    I notice the two-second rule is being promoted. Am I the only one who has always felt that this is too short a gap for anything other than quite low speeds? In the US, I have seen recommendations of 4 and 5 second gaps to avoid collisions which seems far more realistic. Does anybody know where our two-second rule originated from? Perhaps one of the reasons we still have motorists unintentionally tailgating at speed, is that for years the official recomended ‘safe distance’ is anything but! I always drive automatics and long ago mastered left-foot braking which reduces stopping time and distance but even then adopting the ‘two second’ rule would be cutting it fine. Sometimes ‘official’ road safety advice is wrong.

    Hugh Jones, South Wirral, Cheshire
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