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The findings have been published to mark today’s launch of national Road Safety Week, supported by Kwik-Fit and Specsavers, which is shining a light on campaigners who are “Stepping Up for Safe Streets” and improving the safety of roads.
A UK-wide survey of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Brake, has also shown that nearly a third of adults were in a collision, or had a near miss, with a vehicle on a UK road in the past year, with a quarter (24%) of North West residents stating they were involved in such incidents.
Road safety campaigners believe that crashes and near misses have a big impact on people’s perceptions of safety, making streets feel less welcoming and holding people back from choosing to walk and cycle, modes of transport which reduce the danger for others.
Road danger is a serious issue in the North West. 194 people were killed and 2,553 seriously injured on the region’s roads in 2018, with the number of people being killed a 16% increase on 2017. Three in 10 (29%) of all deaths and serious injuries on the North West’s roads in 2018 were pedestrians. Cheshire West and Chester has seen the biggest rise in the total number of people killed or seriously injured with an increase of 32%, rising from 112 in 2017 to 148 in 2018.
Brake is sharing inspiring stories of supporters in the region who are campaigning to reduce road danger and is also advising how everyone can step up in their daily lives, suggesting that people choose to leave the car at home, to help improve safety and air quality, or pledge to be a safe driver, always keeping within speed limits and never drinking or taking drugs and driving.
Schoolchildren, community groups and employees across the region will be taking part in the week by learning about, and celebrating, the safe systems solutions which can eliminate death and serious injury from the roads – from 20mph limits in urban areas, to technology which can prevent vehicles from speeding.
Another simple way for people in the region to get involved with Road Safety Week is by completing Brake’s survey about the safety of the streets where you live. The findings will be shared with local authorities to help them understand the views of the people who live, work and play on their streets. You can take part here.
Road Safety Week 2019 partners, Kwik-Fit and Specsavers, are also backing the campaign for safe streets, with Kwik-Fit offering free vehicle safety checks at more than 600 centres across the country and Specsavers touring a virtual reality driving experience to encourage people to make sure their eyesight is good enough for driving.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “These findings paint an alarming picture of the danger on the North West’s roads and yet it’s what we’re all exposed to, every day, when getting about. We shouldn’t have to accept this level of risk as part of our daily lives and so we are calling on everyone to “Step Up” for Road Safety Week and shout out for the solutions that we know can make our roads safe.
“Across the region, people are working tirelessly to campaign for safe streets, organising petitions, meeting with MPs and councillors and raising money and awareness. This Road Safety Week we want everyone to think about how they can do their bit and step up for safe streets. Can you join or start a local campaign? Do you need to take the car on your next journey, or could you walk, cycle or get the bus? If you are travelling by car, will you pledge to always keep within speed limits and never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs? Let’s all Step Up for Safe Streets and, together, we can help make roads safer for everyone.”
Mark Slade, managing director of Kwik Fit, said: “This campaign highlights that we can all play a role in making our streets safer. While car safety technology becomes ever more advanced, it is vital to remember that the most important component is still the driver. We are all responsible for our own vehicles when we get behind a wheel so we urge drivers to make sure they ‘step up’ and keep their cars in the safest condition possible. At Kwik Fit we are here to help keep people safe on the roads so urge any motorist who has concerns about any part of their vehicle to bring it into one of our centres for a free check.”
Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins said: “It’s clear that good eyesight is vital for safe driving but we know that many people do not have regular eye tests, running the risk of falling below legal driving standards and potentially putting themselves and others at risk. We urge drivers to Step Up for Safe Streets, this Road Safety Week, by checking that your eyesight is fit for driving. We’re delighted to be supporting Brake’s Road Safety Week campaign this year – together, we can help make roads safer for everyone.”
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