August 17, 2018
On this day... Bridget Driscoll was the first recorded death in the UK as a result of a motor collision on 17th August 1896. The coroner said that he hoped “such a thing would never happen again”.
Sadly, government figures from 2016 indicate a 4% rise in the number of road deaths from the preceding year with 1,792 people recorded as losing their lives as a result of motor vehicle collisions.
The charity Road Peace dedicates the month of August each year as ‘National Road Victim Month’ to remember people that have been killed or injured on our roads. The charity aims to support those affected by road deaths in a number of key areas:
Road Peace was set up in 1992 by a Mother who lost her Son in a motor collision. The charity has a small team of staff and a network of members and volunteers who are able to offer peer support to the bereaved by sharing their own experiences.
Most people will have seen a roadside memorial after a fatal motor collision or on the anniversary of such an event. While these displays show support for the victim or their families they do not last forever. Road Peace offer a Remember Me plaque to provide a lasting memorial of lives lost and to serve as a warning to other road users highlighting the everyday risks of road use.
As well as providing guides to the bereaved on inquests, prosecutions and sentencing, Road Peace campaigns for reforms within the justice system that they hope will:
- see improvements in the initial investigations to a road death
- bring about more effective inquests with a set standard across the UK and that are more sensitive towards the victims’ families
- provide more appropriate prosecutions for the people responsible for a road death including tougher sentencing and driving bans
- bring about fairer compensation for victims and their families with easier access to justice
- obtain better rights for crash victims than are currently afforded to them
Five people a day die on Britain’s roads. Road Peace believe that road deaths are not a normal death, they are sudden and violent, they are premature, but most importantly they are avoidable. More needs to be done to prevent road deaths from occurring including enforcing traffic laws, educating people about dangers and attempting to change designs and behaviours to eradicate them, promoting walking and cycling schemes.
The reality is that all drivers can play a part in reducing the number of road deaths particularly as the main causes of injury or death are avoidable – namely; speeding, using a handheld mobile phone and drink driving by:
- allowing plenty of time to get to destinations safely and remembering it’s better to arrive late than not arrive at all.
- turning off or placing mobile phones on silent and placing out of reach to avoid being tempted to check it.
- NOT driving if you have had anything alcoholic to drink, even if you’ve had less than the guidelines say, call a taxi or use public transport, why risk yours or other people’s lives?
If you have been affected by a road death you can contact Road Peace for emotional support and practical guidance on 0845 4500 355 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (calls are charged at the local rate). Alternatively you can email Road Peace using the address firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website today.
About the author
Samantha Handley is a Litigator within our Loss Recovery Team.
Samantha, who joined the business in 2008, is an experienced Loss Recovery Litigator and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. Samantha deals predominantly with corporate fleet clients and in addition to handling her own caseload, Samantha enjoys supporting and training new members of the team.