National Road Victims Month
This month marks National Road Victims Month, where we remember those who have been killed or seriously injured on our roads. The road traffic accident charity RoadPeace has observed National Road Victims Month since 1998 and August was chosen as it traditionally sees the most number of fatalities on the road, maybe surprisingly more so than icy winter months.
August brings with it the school summer holidays meaning there are more children on our roads while on holiday from school. With many families choosing to holiday in the UK during our summer months our motorways will see many more cars during August. Cars are more likely to be full of luggage, journeys tend to be longer and the children may well be in the back seat; this can be distracting to the driver, making accidents more likely.
In addition August marks the anniversary of several poignant road traffic accidents, including Princess Diana’s fatal road traffic accident on 31st August 1997 and Bridget Driscoll, who was the first person to be killed in a road traffic accident in the UK in August 1896.
According to Department for Transport figures, an estimated 1,560 road deaths were reported in 2021. An estimated 27,300 people were killed or seriously injured and there were an estimated total of 127,967 casualties of all severities. This has again increased from last year’s statistics. Those who survive are often left with serious, life-changing injuries which is why National Road Victims Month is important to raise awareness, promote road safety and remember those who have sadly been killed or injured on the road.
A number of events will be held throughout this month including a service of remembrance at the RoadPeace Wood at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The wood itself was planted as a place where the lives of victims could be remembered by living trees. Trees can be individually sponsored to remember those who have lost their lives or been injured due to a road crash. Furthermore a special Ceremony of Remembrance is held annually at Liverpool Cathedral on the anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales to remember her and everyone who has been killed on the roads.
While remembering those we have lost as victims of road collisions, we can all do our bit to ensure the future safety of our loved ones. Here are some tips to keep you safer on the roads during National Road Traffic Victims Month:
- If you are planning a long drive this summer try to minimise any distractions
- Pre-plan your journey to avoid getting lost and take short stops to break up your journey
- Always wear seatbelts and use appropriate safety seats for children and babies
- Leave plenty of room between you and other road users
- Pay attention to road signs and speed limits
- Never drive when tired, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Being focused and aware of your surroundings could make all the difference. Using the roads sensibly and considerately could avoid a needless collision. Wherever you are planning to travel to this summer, stay aware and stay safe.