Today marks the start of “Road Safety Week”, which was founded by the road safety charity, Brake, “to raise awareness about road safety and promote steps that everyone can take to stop … needless deaths and injuries year-round”. Thompsons are proud of our close working relationship with Brake and entirely support their campaign. Whilst the campaign can feature a lot of fun activites, such as baking cakes, there is also a serious message behind it all: that is raising awareness about road safety through educating children about the dangers that roads present and adhering to traffic signals. After all, perhaps the most relevant statistic is that “every 30 seconds someone, somewhere in the world is killed in a road crash”.
The differences between causing death by careless driving and causing death by dangerous driving seem quite narrow to Joe Bloggs on the street, but what are the actual differences between the two criminal offences? Put simply, the latter is a more serious crime and therefore, carries a greater sentence if convicted.
This week’s Myth of the Week focuses around road traffic accidents and some of the myths perpetuated by insurance companies.This is simply not true. If your insurer settles on a 50:50 basis with the other driver’s insurers, you are still entitled to 50% of the value of your claim (if you agree that you are 50% at fault).
Whiplash it seems, above all other injuries, has become synonymous in the minds of the public with the law surrounding personal injury. Maybe it’s because it’s the injury we are most likely to encounter if we are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road accident or maybe it’s the prevalence of adverts depicting people with large white surgical collars smiling as they collect their compensation.
Using a mobile device whilst driving has been banned since 1988. Yet on average 1 person per hour is caught using their mobile phone whilst driving. This caused an estimated 492 accidents during 2014 across Britain. 84 of these were classed as serious accidents and 21 resulted in loss of a life. In 2015 twenty two people died as a result of a driver being distracted by a mobile phone. Despite all this, although convictions are decreasing, a recent RAC study found that there are more drivers than ever flouting the ban and that most re-offend. The high profile case of the cyclist, Lee Martin, who was run over in 2015 by a driver distracted by his phone highlights this. He had 8 previous convictions for the same offence! The time has come for tougher sanctions.
Since 1934 UK drivers have required to pass a test to ensure they were safe to be on Britain’s roads. The test has undergone many changes since its introduction. Not surprisingly as the first test was introduced there were very few cars on the road! The test has evolved to include a theory test and latterly a hazard perception element.
Although there can be little doubt that car accident claims still make up for a disproportionally high part of the workload of the average Scottish personal injury solicitor, recent analysis of British driver black box data has found Scottish drivers to be safer than everywhere else in the UK with the exception of North East England, the region which was found to have the safest drivers in the country.
In 2013 campaigners claimed that Scotland had the worst pedestrian accident rate in all of Europe, with Living Streets, a pedestrian safety group, revealing that pedestrians accounted for 68 per cent of road deaths in built-up areas; this compared against a Europe-wide average of 37 per cent.