Publicity Campaigns

Grieving parents support pedestrian safety campaign as dark nights begin

Grieving Peter and Allison Fennon are supporting Road Safety GB North East, which is launching the Check Out Before You Step Out campaign to help reduce the number of pedestrian casualties across the North East. Alcohol and failing to pay attention are two of the major contributing factors to pedestrian accidents, with young people aged between 16 and 24 accounting for a third of the victims.

A large number of accidents occur during the winter months and during the hours of darkness, particularly over Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights when young people are out drinking, with large cities and towns experiencing the highest numbers.  
Peter and Allison, from Redcar, know only too well the devastation and finality road accidents can bring. Their only child Kirsty died at the age of 18 in April of last year after being hit by a taxi after a night out in Redcar. Instead of looking forward to the day Kirsty would get married and have children, now her parents are struggling to cope without her.  Allison said: “Kirsty went out that night and never made it home. She had everything to live for, but she was gone in an instant and our lives will never be the same again.  “She wasn’t just a daughter – she was my best friend – and I only wish I could make things different. I keep asking ‘why did this happen, why was she there, why was the driver speeding?’, but it’s too late for questions.  “We want to urge young people to stay with their friends after a night out and to always get a taxi home. We know people drink, but it’s important that they keep their wits about them and that they look out for each other.  “However, drivers also need to be responsible and must watch their speed, particularly after dark and close to pubs and clubs. If the taxi driver had been going slower in our case, maybe Kirsty would have lived.”  
Road Safety GB North East which is made up of the 12 local authority road safety officers in the region has chosen to launch the pedestrian campaign after recording a 12 percent rise in pedestrian accidents in last year.
Alan Kennedy, Road Safety Manager at Durham County Council and Chairman of Road Safety GB, said: “Every year we see pedestrians needlessly injured and tragically killed on our roads and these deaths and injuries could be avoided with just a bit more care.  “Young adults who are out after dark, particularly those that are drinking, are most at risk, so we’re urging them to look after themselves and to keep their friends and family safe, too.  “Drivers must also take responsibility and pay particular attention to pedestrians. People are not always easy to see at night or at times of poor weather, so we would appeal to drivers to take extra care and to watch their speed.  “Pedestrians have no protection, so a car travelling just a few miles over the speed limit can have a catastrophic effect.  “Our message to everyone this winter is to stay alert and stay alive.”
The campaign will use media publicity and social media to raise awareness among pedestrians and drivers through Facebook and Twitter @CheckOutStepOut and is being specifically targeted at colleges, universities and licensed premises.
Each of the region’s 12 road safety officers will also be promoting the campaign in their towns and cities and will be asking businesses and colleges to display posters and distribute flyers.


Drug Drive campaign

A key function in the role of road safety teams is to ensure that messages are spread to the widest possible audiences. This is achieved through direct engagement with the media.

Regular press releases are issued to TV, radio and newspapers through press offices to promote campaigns and highlight messages.

Road Safety GB NE produces a number of road safety campaigns each year to target at risk road users by raising awareness of road safety issues and bringng about a reduction in road casualties.

The campaigns include; speed; seatbelts; drink driving; drug driving; mobile phone use and distraction; in car safety for children; older drivers; younger drivers; motorcyclists; cyclists and pedestrians; fatigue; and medication.

The team has won a number of awards including the acclaimed Prince Michael of Kent International Road Safety Award for its ‘You’d be off your head’ drug drive campaign.

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Hop on a HGV

CYCLISTS were encouraged to see the road from an HGV driver’s viewpoint as part of a road safety initiative.   Middlesbrough Council’s Safe & Active Travel Team gave cyclists and HGV drivers a chance to swap places as part of National Bike Week.  For most cyclists, HGVs present the biggest danger on busy urban roads. Despite making up just 5% of all traffic, they are involved in about 50% of cyclist deaths each year, and many more serious injuries. 

That’s why the Safe & Active Travel Team held an ‘Exchanging Places’ event with cyclists having an opportunity to see exactly what a lorry driver can – and can’t – see. Drivers also had a chance to sit on a bike alongside the lorry to demonstrate how vulnerable the cyclist can be.  Councillor Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Transport, said: “We want cyclists to stay safe when cycling near large vehicles, especially Lorries. The safety advice is simple - ‘stay safe, stay seen’. Lorries have significant areas around them where it is difficult for the driver to see cyclists. 

“The ‘stay safe, stay back’ advice applies to cyclists when cycling near to a moving lorry or approaching any stationary HGV on the road, at junctions, traffic lights or in slow moving traffic. It’s important to get into a position where the lorry driver can see you.  “However it is also important to stress that while this is a problem nationally, we have been fortunate in Middlesbrough not to have any cyclists injured in this way, so this campaign is really about reinforcing the message that such accidents can be avoided by taking precautions and being observant.” 

For more information contact Lynn Hepworth, Road Safety Officer tel: 01642 728178