The Institute of Advanced Motorists made a Freedom of Information Request to reveal details of the most asking for details of the most common pairs of contributory factors reported together by the police attending the scene of an accident in 2013. In receiving this information they were able to find that nearly 18,000 pedestrians were injured in an accident involving a vehicle in the last full year with data available, 2013.
This huge number of casualties puts further emphasis on the need for protection of pedestrians on the streets and the IAM has called for further direct focus on pedestrian protection so both car users and other road users are aware and understand their safety responsibilities around pedestrians on the roads.
When police attend an accident they are able to make a list of a maximum of six contributory factors for the reason behind the collision or accident and from these six it is the first two which are considered the most important. There are 77 different factors to choose from and the IAM’s report found that ‘pedestrians failed to look properly’ or ‘pedestrian, careless, reckless or in a hurry’ topped the list, named as contributory factors in 4,100 casualty incidents, which puts the focus on pedestrians in terms of their road awareness as well as motorists and other vehicle users.
Other factors which ranked highly included ‘pedestrian crossing road masked by stationary or parked vehicle’ and ‘pedestrian failed to judge vehicle’s path or speed’ combined with the previous two contributory factors in a number of combinations.
“Pedestrian Fatalities are rising faster than any other Group”
IAM Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Sillars, commented that “pedestrian fatalities are rising faster than any other group” and this should make them a priority. Drivers need to become more sympathetic and aware of those on foot and Sillars was also keen to highlight the need to remove blame from the equation and focus on solving the problem.
Road traffic collisions are traumatic for all involved but the risk of serious injury is much higher to someone who is hit or knocked by an oncoming vehicle whilst on foot, when compared to someone protected within a vehicle. Pedestrian injuries can range from superficial cuts and bruises to serious long-time and life changing occurrences like head or spinal injuries. In every instance, it is traumatic and can have psychological effects as well as physical and therefore, the IAM are right to push forward with their agenda for pedestrians, showing how it is important to give them the same respect as you would any other road user.
There are many road safety campaigns which recognise the need to protect pedestrians and with the government putting in place concessionary and protective measures for cyclists, maybe the same will be possible for those on foot. The responsibility for pedestrian safety lies both with themselves and other road users and campaigns need to reflect this shared duty.