Sun 19 Nov 2023

Road Safety Week 2023

During Road Safety Week, from 19 - 25 November 2023, thousands of organisations, schools and communities across the UK are carrying out events to support the UK's biggest annual road safety awareness campaign promoted by Brake, the road safety charity.  

The theme for this year’s campaign is 'Let's talk about SPEED'.

Brake's aim is to raise awareness that every time we drive faster than the speed limit, or faster than is appropriate for the road conditions, we increase the likelihood of a crash occurring. This increases the chances of someone being seriously hurt or killed. 

Brake report that excess speed is a contributory factor in one in three fatal road crashes. Speed is a critical issue for the safety of our roads. Not only does it impact safety, speeding also makes our communities noisier and more polluted, and it discourages walking and cycling. The speed at which a vehicle is travelling can dictate whether a driver is able to stop in time to avoid a collision. This can be the difference between life and death. Despite this, Brake reports that as many as three in four UK drivers admit to breaking speed limits.  An average speed reduction of 1mph can reduce crash frequency by 5%.

Rural roads are statistically the most dangerous roads in the UK, and this is primarily due to unsafe speed limits which are in place. There are more road traffic collisions per mile travelled on rural single carriageways than on motorways or dual carriageways.  In addition to the increased number of collisions, they also carry the highest fatality risk, with 50% of fatal crashes occurring on rural roads.

In the UK, whilst the default national speed limit on rural single carriageways is 60mph, Brake is campaigning for speed limits which are based on the design of the individual road.  Brake argues it is seldom safe to travel at 60mph on these types of roads, given they are often narrow, winding, and can have poor visibility.  For this reason, they are campaigning for the Government to investigate the safety benefits of lowering the default speed limit, and to introduce safe speed limits as opposed to a default speed limit of 60mph.  Instead of a default limit, they propose higher speed limits should only be allowed on rural roads which have passed a safety assessment.  

Brake report on a range of statistics relating to the dangers of driving at excessive speed. A vehicle travelling at 20mph would be able to stop in time to avoid a child running out onto the road three car-lengths in front. The same vehicle travelling at 25mph would not be able to stop in time and would hit the child at 18mph. This impact carries the same force as the child falling from an upstairs window. The greater the impact speed, the greater the chance of death. A pedestrian hit at 30mph has a one in five chance of being killed. This rises significantly to a one in three chance if they are hit at 35mph. Small increases in speed can lead to a significant increase in impact severity.

Road Safety Week is an opportunity to raise funds for the important work that Brake do in supporting those affected by road traffic collisions, but also to raise awareness of road safety. This year, Brake are encouraging their supporters to take part in the #Brake5 Challenge. This fundraising campaign is focussed on raising awareness of the fact that, shockingly, five people lose their lives on UK roads every day as a result of road traffic collisions. Those taking part in #Brake5 Challenge are encouraged to challenge themselves with a fundraising activity related to the number 5, such as a five-mile walk, running five times in a week, or swimming five lengths of a pool. Donations to Brake will help support their vital work through their National Road Victim Service. A donation of £55 could help five children bereaved by a road crash by providing their family with a children's picture book and guidance on supporting children. £555 could help 50 families with a support pack. £5,555 could help four road victim families to get support from the National Road Victim Service for a year. Brake’s website also has a section specifically for children - Brake Zebras - which has lots of fun activities, stories and activities children can engage with, along with their families, carers or teachers.

For our #Brake5 Challenge, the team at Morton Fraser MacRoberts made a selection of healthy smoothies and enjoyed a chat with colleagues about Brake's work. We then took part in a bracing five mile walk around Edinburgh city centre. We will be posting a blog about our #Brake5 Challenge later in Road Safety Week.  We will also be posting daily content throughout Road Safety Week to support Brake and promote road safety.

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