National Road Victims Month – August 2014


RoadPeace are a national charity for road crash victims. This August marks National Road Victims Month where we remember those killed or injured on our roads. In raising awareness of this we hope to help prevent lives being lost or devastated by careless, irresponsible drivers.

Car Crash Test

Road Accidents and the Month of August

The first person to be killed by a car on the road was a scientist called Mary Ward. She was killed in Ireland, in August 1869. Mary was well-educated and from a renowned scientific family, though she is remembered mainly for the accident that took her life. Unlike the modern day models we see now, Mary fell under the wheels of an experimental steam powered car built by her cousins. At the time, it was thought steam power would be the main propulsion method for cars, and not the petrol and diesel engines we know currently.

When a nearby doctor arrived on the scene, she had suffered cuts, bruising, bleeding from the ears and a broken neck. Even in the 19th century, motor cars were dangerous and a sign of things to come.

In 1896, Crystal Palace, London, the first pedestrian in the UK was killed by a car, again in the month of August. The car was only travelling at 4mph but this was enough to inflict a fatal head injury. The speed of the car is often an indication of how serious an injury can be. Of course, vehicles travel much faster these days, and deaths as a result are much more common. Probably the most high profile death of recent times was in August 1997. Princess Diana was killed after being involved in a high-speed chase through the tunnels of Paris. Her death shook the world and was a powerful reminder to all that speed kills.

Five a Day

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), despite England having one of the best road safety records in Europe, 5 people still die on our roads every day. Around 400 of those killed are the victims of speed.

Children are specifically at risk in the month of August, due to the school holidays. They are more likely to be in public places, and drivers should be aware of the possibility of them being on the roads. Reducing speed will help reduce accidents.

The aim of this month if to raise awareness for those that have already been injured or killed on the road, but prevention is always better than cure. Finding ways to prevent accidents is the key to saving lives.

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