Motorists need to be more vigilant than ever before
Among the most infuriating things I face as a driver are the pedestrians who walk straight out into the road without looking. Worse still are those who do look, see a vehicle heading towards them, and still decide to walk across the road.
Crossing a road is something which you are taught in primary school, but some people clearly need refresher lessons later on in life.
I’m certain that mobile phones and social media are a factor. I am getting increasingly alarmed by the number of pedestrians who just walk out into a road without even checking for traffic while playing on their phones, their seemingly mesmerised faces illuminated by the stark light from the phone’s touchscreen.
Surely checking Facebook or Twitter can wait a few seconds whilst you cross the road, but apparently that is not the case.
If you can’t bear to take your eyes off your phone whilst trying to make your way safely across to the other side, then you seriously have a problem.
I admit that I am one of those people who walk around looking at my phone but as soon as I reach a road I immediately put the phone in my pocket.
Another thing that I have noticed is the number of people not walking an extra few metres to a crossing, instead deciding to cross the road whilst playing a game of chicken.
It might be down to people being too lazy to walk that extra distance, or it might be that people are in a hurry.
Surely people can’t be in so much of a hurry that they risk their lives.
The Government produces a range of very interesting statistics based on road casualties.
Tragically, overall road deaths were up by three per cent to 1,760 in the year to June 2014.
There were 24,580 people killed or seriously injured in the same period, a four per cent increase on the previous year.
Surprisingly, pedestrian deaths are not on the increase. The number of road accidents involving pedestrians is actually decreasing steadily.
There were 1,220 pedestrians killed or seriously injured between April and June 2014, a one per cent decrease compared to the same period in 2013, and 18 per cent lower than the average between 2005 and 2009.
At the same time, death and serious injury among cyclists is climbing dramatically – up 10 per cent year on year.
It’s what lies behind those statistics which is most interesting.
Among potential influencing factors are warmer weather, encouraging more people on to two wheels, and an increase in general traffic.
It might be that slower road speeds are good news for pedestrians.
Sadly, while cyclists tend to ride defensively, pedestrians seem intent on taking unnecessary risks that can place drivers in a very difficult situation.
Unintentionally hurting any human being not only brings a heavy emotional burden but can also land a driver in trouble with the law.
Causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison, although some people think that this is too lenient and it should in fact be life behind bars.
There is also talk of raising the sentence for careless driving to five years behind bars.
It is always a tragedy whenever anyone is hurt on the road.
The major question in all of this is who ultimately should get the blame, the pedestrian for not paying attention to the road, or the driver for not noticing them.