Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

November 21, 2019

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Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week 2019

Every year, Road Safety Week, which runs from 18-24 November 2019, aims to shine more light on how dangerous roads in the UK are, as well as raising awareness of how to avoid accidents.

road safety week 2019It’s the biggest road safety event in the UK, with and estimated 2.1 million people that got involved in 2018. Created by road safety charity, Brake, with the support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors including Specsavers and Kwik Fit, each year schools and organisations take part in the campaign by holding demonstrations, awareness video screenings, public speakers and more.

School children are one of the major groups targeted because of the high figures of deaths and injuries. In 2018, a total of 14,254 children were killed or injured because of road accidents in the UK.

Statistics are also high for road accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to Drive Tech, a fleet risk and safety management and driver training company, there were 250 deaths in 2017 as a result of drink-driving, 8,600 number of casualties, 79% of drink-drive accidents involved men and 21% involved women in 2017.

Road Safety Week theme 2019

This year’s theme focuses on how design led solutions, such as autonomous vehicles and safe vehicles, can prevent people dying or being seriously injured on the roads.

During the week, many people are targeted across the nation to be reminded of road safety, schools and schoolkids in particular, so they can learn different ways to reduce risk of getting into an accident, for example they learn about safety when crossing the road and the importance of cycle helmets and high visibility when cycling.

A seven-minute video was produced for this year’s theme called ‘Our future journeys: safer by design’, with TV and radio science presenter and YouTube educator, Greg Foot as the host. The video was played throughout primary schools across the UK, and featured school childern from Hotham Primary School, who gave insight on how safe they feel on British roads.

The film also offers solutions on reducing road accidents, or risks to road collisions by demonstrating how autonomous emergency braking (AEB) can create a safer road environment.

Specsavers’ employee driver safety

Police are also taking part in the week-long campaign, by doing roadside checks of vehicles for safety, offering advice to drivers of poorly maintained vehicles, running speed checks and reminding the public of how speeding is a major cause of accidents and contributor to deaths through road accidents.

Adequate eyesight is essential when driving, it is crucial that drivers have clear vision when reading speed limits, road hazard signs, school stop signs, pedestrians, cyclists and other hazardous objects on the road.

Research from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, revealed that 45% of employers are concerned that their employees who drive for work, for instance truck drivers, may not have satisfactory eyesight.

Director of Strategic Alliances at Specsavers, Jim Lythgow said: “It may be a surprise to many that this figure is so high, especially as the legal requirements for driver eyesight is actually quite minimal. The law still requires a driver to be able to read a modern number plate from a distance of 20-meters. The fact that so many employers are concerned should serve as a wakeup call”.

Specsavers is encouraging employees and employers to regularly get their eyesight checked to prevent road accidents, which can lead to hefty fines or sentences. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is supporting Specsavers’ campaign.

RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett said: “For so many people in the UK; truck operators in particular, the roads are their place of work, it’s where they do business. We need to make sure that they are safe and that we are doing all we can to cut the number of accidents. That includes having regular eye tests to make sure that everyone has not only good eyesight, but also good eye health”.

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