National Road Victim Month 2019 Kicks Off

National Road Victim Month 2019 has begun, giving us the chance to remember those that have been injured or killed on our roads.

It also provides the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue of safety on our roads and how we can improve it, keeping more people safe.

August chosen after death of Princess Diana

The charity RoadPeace, responsible for the annual event, explained that August was designated as National Road Victim month after the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The date of her death, 31 August, was the same as the first recorded road traffic accident victim Mary Ward, who was killed in Ireland in 1869.

Britain’s first road accident victim was also killed in August. Bridget Driscoll died on 17 August 1869 after a collision with a motor vehicle.

The lasting effects of road accidents

A survey by RoadPeace of its members found that 95% of victims suffered with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after their accident.

In 2018, 1,782 people were killed in road traffic accidents, according to the Department for Transport. Meanwhile, there were 160,378 casualties of all severities caused by accidents on our roads. Some 25,484 people were seriously injured, which includes life-changing injuries.

Car occupants were the group recording the highest number of road deaths, at 777 in 2018. This accounted for 44% of all road deaths last year. Pedestrians recorded the second highest number of deaths, at 454, making up 25% of the total number.

A total of 354 motorcyclists were killed, 20% of all road deaths, while 99 pedal cyclists died in road accidents, making up 6% of the total. However, given the smaller number of pedestrians, motorcyclists and pedal cyclists on the road compared to cars, these road users are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in accidents.

In 2018, the fatality rate for motorcyclists per billion miles travelled was the highest, at 119.7. Pedestrians were the second most at risk, at a 34.4 fatality rate per billion miles. Pedal cyclists saw the next highest rate, at 29.7 deaths per billion miles travelled.

Prevention is possible

According to RoadPeace, car accidents “are not inevitable”. They are caused by dangerous driving, unfit vehicles and unsafe road environments. Aiming to make our roads as safe as possible, the charity was founded “on the principle of road danger reduction”.

It works to support effective traffic law enforcement, which targets those posing the greatest risks to others – especially vulnerable road users – as well as safer systems and vehicles that are better designed, equipped and driven.

RoadPeace is calling for more police and crime plans to include road traffic crime, as well as for traffic law enforcement to be a core function for police. It also campaigns for road policing to focus on reducing danger to other road users, particularly the vulnerable.

Society “underestimated effect of accidents”

Nick Simmons, CEO of RoadPeace, said: “Society has too long underestimated the effect of road crashes. Thousands die or are injured on the roads in Great Britain each year, but countless more are suffering as they deal with the fallout from these crashes.

“RoadPeace’s remembrance ceremonies are to remember the dead and help support those left behind by giving them the opportunity to connect with each other.”

On the second Saturday in August every year, RoadPeace organises a ceremony of remembrance for the victims of road accidents. It takes place at National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. This year’s event begins at 2pm and allows the loved ones of those killed in these accidents to come together and remember them.

If you have been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault, First4Lawyers could help you get the justice you deserve. We can help you make a claim for compensation, which could help you get back on your feet.

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