To mark the 120th anniversary of the first person – a pedestrian – to be killed in a road crash in the UK, the TTC Group is calling on motorists to watch out for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.
Bridget Driscoll was hit by a new petrol-engined car as she crossed the grounds of the Crystal Palace in London on 17 August 1896.
The car was being used to give demonstration rides with the driver later accused of travelling at the “reckless” speed of 4mph.
At Mrs Driscoll’s inquest, the coroner said he hoped “such a thing would never happen again”. However since then, there has been more than half a million road deaths in the UK.
The number of road deaths has fallen over the years. In 1934, 7,343 people were killed on the UK’s road network, compared to 3,201 in 2005 and 1,732 in 2015.
Pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable road-users. In 2015, 409 were killed, representing 24% of all road deaths.
To mark the anniversary the TTC Group, whose road safety programme educates 330,000 people each year, has urged motorists to re-read the Highway Code and to adopt the “C.O.A.S.T.” safer driving strategy:
- Concentrate – focus on the driving task and avoid distractions such as mobile phones
- Observe – Read the road actively and scan for vulnerable road user
- Anticipate – Expect the worst and be prepared. Always think – what if ?
- Space – always leave at least a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front on a dry road. In the wet this needs to be at least doubled
- Time – Don’t rush – plan your journey and allow yourself plenty of time to think, plan and act – rushing can lead to poor decisions and a possible collision
Alan Prosser, director of the TTC Group, said: “Drivers must look out for pedestrians and other vulnerable road-users. Driver error is a recognised factor in around 95% of collisions
“We have to share the road space safely with each other. Be aware of what is around you. Always maintain a safe distance, this gives us time to respond to any incident and helps to make sure you can stop in plenty of time.
“Drivers can feel very detached from the outside environment and misjudge safer following distances. If you are following traffic then you should be at least two seconds behind in dry weather, if the road is wet this should be doubled.
“At 30mph, the overall stopping distance is around 75ft or 23 metres, that’s over two bus lengths, and that’s with ideal road and weather conditions. A car moving at just 30 mph travels over a bus length every second.”