Why no war on road terror?

museum road crash

Within moments of the road traffic collision outside the Natural History Museum this week, which saw many pedestrians injured by a car that careered onto the pavement, the area was crawling with police armed response teams, hazardous material containment personnel and a helicopter was overhead. Within 20 minutes, my iPad started to blink with news reports of the suspected terror attack and it continued for hours. It was not until later that day that the story was downgraded to a run-of-the-mill road ‘accident’. No extended opinion pieces about the threat to the lives of pedestrians on pavements up and down the country from being run down or from deadly pollution. No radio phone-ins about the effect that road danger has on our collective quality of life. And certainly no pronouncements from a transport minister on how immediate action is required to tackle this daily terror.

Why on earth does the media and wider society take so little interest in road danger? It’s not as if it lacks human interest. Over recent weeks, we’ve made mention of recent court cases that have seen drivers who have killed and maimed children on the pavement as young as five walk away with extremely lenient fines. And yet these stories rarely make the news.

If a plane or a train crashes, the story makes headlines and the evening news. If a car ploughs onto a pavement and kills a child, it’s rarely described as a collision and most commonly an ‘accident’. The term accident describes a few drops of tea spilt on one’s trousers – not a ton of metal smashing into a person. The language is important because words are powerful. We turn a Nelsonian eye to the violent deaths and life-changing injuries that occur every single day on our roads.

Has the dynamic of our relationship with our cars become so dysfunctional that we suffer from collective Stockholm syndrome?

Thousands of lives would be saved and our quality of life would be immeasurably improved if we tackled road danger. Surely the time has come for a war on road terror.

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Ethical insurance company 2017

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Comments

  1. David

    Reply

    Excellent article, thank you. I’d like to see it on big billboards all around the country. Except that would probably be an unwarranted distraction to motorists, especially if there happened to be a schoolteacher standing in the way….

  2. Martin Bishop

    Reply

    The TFL Report: “Collisions and casualties on London’s roads:Annual Report 2015” states that there were 2092 people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on London’s roads in 2015 (136 fatalities). 730 (66 fatal) were pedestrians and 387 (9 fatal) were cyclists.
    That should be worrying enough but the breakdown of pedestrian KSI according to location shows 114 KSI on pedestrian crossings and a further 76 KSI within 50 metres of crossings.
    In the case of cyclists, 167 KSI collisions occurred where the cyclist had right of way and the motor vehicle driver drove into/across their path.
    Draw you own conclusions!

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