New road safety campaign
Environment Minister Alex Attwood today launched a new DOE road safety campaign.
Entitled “Just Because”, the campaign focuses on the vulnerability of pedestrians and the shared responsibility both drivers and pedestrians have to respect each other on the road.
Just over one in five deaths on Northern Ireland’s roads are pedestrians.
Between 1998 and 2011, 360 pedestrians have been killed and 3,073 people have suffered life-changing serious injuries as a result of being hit by a vehicle while walking on our roads. During this period, pedestrians accounted for just over 20% of all road deaths.
Mr Attwood said: “Pedestrians do not have protection when they are hit by a vehicle. This makes pedestrians susceptible to serious injury when they are struck by a car, truck or bus. Even a relatively low-speed collision can result in death. The continuation of pedestrian deaths makes this campaign timely and I very much hope has real influence.”
The research shows that almost three quarters of pedestrian deaths were due to pedestrian error, while drivers were responsible for over one quarter of pedestrian deaths. The new campaign, therefore, speaks to both groups.
Mr Attwood continued: “The major challenge we face when we look at the facts of all those pedestrians who have been killed and seriously injured is that we are all at risk - young children, the elderly, teenage boys and girls, men and women, in rural and urban areas. Road tragedy does not discriminate – the reality is that all pedestrians are fragile and this is reflected in the new campaign.”
The lack of consideration drivers and pedestrians have for one another is also a factor. Research has shown that drivers and pedestrians exist in parallel worlds. The driver thinks he/she is the more important and likewise, the pedestrian believes he/she is the more important - both equally frustrated with each other.
Mr Attwood observed: “Pedestrians have a right to use the road just as motorists have a right to drive. A wider appreciation for the problems they each face on their respective journeys will surely lead to a reduction in collisions and tragedies. Vigilance is the key here. Drivers vigilant of pedestrians and respecting their right to use the road. Pedestrians themselves taking sensible precautions like wearing conspicuous clothing and crossing the road at appropriate places, including using pedestrian crossings. A pedestrian under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is at a significantly greater risk of being involved in a collision.”
Head of PSNI Road and Armed Support Unit, Superintendent Muir Clark said: “For most people, putting your seat belt as soon as you get into a vehicle is second nature. However, as pedestrians, many of us forget to follow the most basic safety advice.
“Last year in Northern Ireland, 59 people lost their lives in collisions, 13 of those people were pedestrians. Many more were seriously injured. These are particularly traumatic deaths, particularly painful and potentially life changing injuries.
“All road users should pay heed to the messages in this advertisement. It only takes a second to become one of these statistics, so take a few moments to consider these simple safety measures. Always use pedestrian crossings, be safe and be seen, make sure you are visible to motorists. Fluorescent materials are most effective during the day and reflective materials at night. Where there’s no footpath face oncoming traffic. Take extra care when walking under the influence of alcohol. Don’t get distracted for example while listening to an mp3 player Motorists should be aware of pedestrians near or crossing the road. I urge all road users to follow the guidance in the Highway Code-it may just save your life.”
The advert highlights some of the rules in the Highway Code and dramatizes the tragic consequences if drivers or pedestrians do not know, understand or respect these rules.
The “Just Because” television advert will run from 23 May to August 2012.
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Weather for Londonderry
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
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