Road safety week 2019 - Prevention is better than cure

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Road safety week 2019 - Prevention is better than cure

Road safety week 2019


They are a major cause of brain injury and an ‘unbearable’ number of deaths. As the UK’s Road Safety Week launches today, we ask: how do we prevent road crashes? 

Only two years ago, the World Health Organisation linked arms with The United Nations to drive home their ‘Safe Systems’ approach to cutting casualty numbers.

They urged member nations to ‘accommodate human error’ when considering safety of transport systems, speeds, vehicles and road users.

It was significant timing for Britain which, in 2017, saw a 6-year high in death and casualty numbers on the roads. (1) 


  • 1,793 people were killed, the highest number since 2011.
  • 24,831 people were seriously injured. 


Of the deaths, more than half of the victims were ‘vulnerable’ road users; that is, pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. (2) 


   The type of road mobility that is in place throughout the world still fosters an unbearable number of deaths, serious injuries and illnesses every year, both as the immediate consequence of road traffic crashes and through air pollution   

World Health Organisation


Yesterday, the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims marked ‘the scale of emotional and economic devastation’ caused by road crashes.

It recognised the suffering of victims and, vitally, the work of people such as Occupational Therapists who help them in the aftermath.

Today, the UK’s road safety charity, Brake urged everyone to ‘Step Up for Safe Streets’ in its annual campaign to save lives.

It is “encouraging people to learn about, shout about and celebrate the amazing design-led solutions that will allow us all to get around in safe and healthy ways, every day.”


The road ahead 

The ‘Safe System’ approach incorporates safety technology and designs that have been proven to reduce road accidents.

The World Health Organisation has highlighted ten key areas where safe system solutions should be applied:


  • Speeding - every 1% increase in mean speed increases the fatal crash risk by 4% and the serious crash risk by 3%.
  • Drunk/drug driving - proven to increase crash risks.
  • Motorcycle helmets - can reduce the risk of fatal injuries by 42% and head injuries by 69%.
  • Seat-belts - cut the risk of death among drivers and front seat occupants by up to 50%, and the risk of death and serious injuries by 25 per cent for rear seat occupants.
  • Child restraints - can lead to a 60% reduction in deaths.
  • Distracted driving - drivers using mobile phones are around 4 times more likely to be involved in a crash.
  • Unsafe road infrastructure - footpaths, cycling lanes, crossing points, and other traffic calming measures can be critical in reducing death and injury.
  • Unsafe vehicles: the UN wants all manufacturers to meet its safety standards on front and side impact protections, electronic stability control, air bags and seat belts.
  • Inadequate post-crash care: delays in detecting and providing care increase the severity of injuries.
  • Poor enforcement of traffic laws: if traffic laws are not enforced, there will be little chance of influencing behaviour. 


In support of safe system solutions, Brake is now calling on all of us to play our part in ensuring these solutions operate across communities:

  • Policy-makers - you can develop and mandate safe systems solutions.
  • Emergency services - you can highlight your vital role in keeping us safe.
  • Organisations - you can ensure your policies and procedures are safe solution savvy.
  • Schools - you can teach young people about safety and encourage them to drive change.
  • Individuals - you can pledge to use roads safely, cut vehicle use and call for safe systems.


Meet Ronny

A road crash left motorbiker, Ronny with a life-changing brain injury. Here’s how Krysalis Neurological Occupational Therapists helped him:



  1. Transport, Department for. Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2017. s.l. : Gov.UK, 2018.
  2. Nations, United. The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. s.l. : United Nations, 2019.

*Not everyone believes in the head protection of cycling helmets, but why? Find out tomorrow as we delve deeper into Road Safety Week’s hot topics.


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