AS charity Brake hosts its latest road safety initiative, Greater Manchester’s emergency services are reminding people about the dangers they are faced with when using the roads.
The stark reminder comes as figures from Greater Manchester Police reveal that between March and September 2020, compared to the same time in 2019, the number of fatal casualties in Greater Manchester has increased by 29 per cent – from 24 to *31.
Most of the fatal casualties were cyclists (up from one to five) and people riding on motorcycles (up from two to eight), followed by car drivers (up from six to seven) and passengers (up from two to three).
‘No Need to Speed’ is the focus for Brake’s Road Safety Week (November 16-20, 2020) - when it is encouraging organisations and communities across the UK to raise awareness of speeding on the roads and the consequences that all too often come with speeding.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) firefighters attend Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) whenever someone is trapped in a vehicle, which can be as a result of speeding.
GMFRS’ Head of Prevention, Area Manager Paul Duggan, said: “Our firefighters are called to hundreds of road traffic collisions every year and all too often witness people suffering preventable life-changing injuries, or losing loved ones, as a result of distractions while behind the wheel and speeding.
“We now deal with more collisions than we do house fires, so continually work with our partners, and charities such as Brake, to do all we can to keep people safe on our roads – whether that be pedestrians, those driving, or those who cycle or ride motorbikes.
“Our advice is to slow down and stay safe – speed kills.”
Firefighters from GMFRS join victims in sharing their ‘stories’ to help raise awareness of the dangers that come with using the roads in a bid to keep more people safe.
One GMFRS firefighter sharing his personal experience to help others, is Watch Manager Russ Maden from Stalybridge Community Fire Station. In his ‘story’, Russ recalls a serious collision he attended on the M60 which resulted in the death of a biker. Russ’ ‘story’ is on GMFRS’ website along with personal experiences from some of his colleagues.
Brooke Trotter, who was hit by a speeding car in Manchester city-centre shares his experience to make people think twice about speeding.
Brooke said: “13 years ago I was a student living a great life in Manchester, but the life I knew was taken away from me very suddenly one night, when a young driver made the decision to speed through the city-centre and not pay attention to the road.
“He lost control and hit me as I was walking on the pavement. As a result, I suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. It’s an invisible disability, but for the past 13 years I’ve been living as half the person I used to be – unable to keep up with my friends, finish my degree or pursue a career.
“The effects are forever, as this doesn’t go away. Please look out for each other when out on the roads – mistakes are easy to make and the consequences last forever.”
Brooke’s ‘story’ can be found on GMFRS’ website.
In 2002 Vicky Peters from Lancashire lost her life due to speeding at 18-years-old. Vicky was a passenger in a car being driven by her boyfriend’s friend, and her dad Mike has shared their family’s story in a bid to help save others from going through what they have.
Mike said: “There is not a day goes by that I don’t think of the incident - it killed Vicky and changed everything in a moment.
“Life has never been the same nor will it be ever again. A life full of potential and opportunity was taken in a moment. There are now only memories and photos recall the brightest smile and huge heart that was Vicky.”
Mike’s ‘story’ can be found on GMFRS’ website.
Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “Supporting Brake’s Road Safety Week here in Greater Manchester we continue our ongoing mission in raising awareness of road safety in a bid to reduce deaths and serious injury on our roads.
“In 2019 more than 60 families lost a loved one on our roads – with a further 600 people suffering serious and often life-changing injuries. In the last six months of this year a further 31 people have died unnecessarily. This is just so tragic and heart-breaking for everyone involved.
“Collisions often occur because of distractions such as speeding, so when you are behind the wheel please do think about others, yourself and your family and friends – lives are often wrecked beyond repair and the consequences last a life-time.”
Chief Inspector Matt Bailey-Smith, Greater Manchester Police, said: “Speed limits are there for a reason. Not only do excessive speeds increase the chances of driver error and time it takes for the vehicle to stop, but higher speeds also increase the fatality rate for pedestrians who may be involved in a collision with that vehicle. That's why we are support the Brake's Road Safety Week's message – No Need to Speed.
"Throughout the week of action we will be focusing on those roads and areas that the statistics show have the highest threat and where the public are most at risk, however, it is important to note that our officers routinely patrol the roads of Greater Manchester taking appropriate action against those who drive above the speed limit or dangerously, in order to keep people safe.
"I would also like to thank the majority of responsible road users who do abide by the speed limit and remind those that don't, that even though the roads may seem quieter during the current lockdown, that those small increases in speed can add up to big risks and have devastating consequences, for vulnerable road users in particular, please don't take the chance."
Dan Smith, North West Ambulance Service Head of Service for Greater Manchester said: “Each year, we see many devastating injuries and sadly a number of deaths as a result of road traffic collisions, many of which could be avoided.
“Brake Charity has found that speed contributes to one in five fatal crashes in the UK, and this Road Safety Week we’re calling on drivers to take action and curb their speed to help reduce the number of collisions.
“A split-second lapse of judgement behind the wheel really can mean the difference between life and death – slow down and save lives.”
You can find more information about staying safe on the roads on GMFRS’ website.
Do you know your stopping distances when travelling at different speeds while behind the wheel driving? Why not take Brake’s test now.
Follow activity on social media from November 16 to November 20 using #RoadSafetyWeek2020.
*Please note that GMP statistics are ‘provisional’ and may alter at a later date.
16/11/2020 09:25 AM