The latest provisional Government figures show that more than 16 people are killed or seriously injured on UK roads every day. A study of drivers found that only nine percent of people were able to correctly identify a puffin crossing, and more than half (57 percent) were unable to identify a pelican crossing, despite new road rules.
New Highway Code rules were introduced last year in a bid to boost road safety and remind people of the rules.
As part of this, a “hierarchy of road users” was launched, ensuring that quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.
It stated that everyone has an equal right to use the road, and likewise everyone has a shared responsibility to behave in a safe and considerate manner.
Improvements to road safety measures will also lead to fewer road traffic collisions, not only saving lives but also the billions of pounds spent every year on dealing with such collisions.
After more than a year of being in place, research from Admiral Car Insurance only a third of those surveyed have heard of the guidance.
While awareness is slightly better among younger people (41 percent), just eight percent of people over 65 years old were aware of it.
Figures from the Department for Transport also highlight the increased risk facing pedestrians, with the group revealed to be the second-most at risk of death or serious injury after car occupants.
In fact, the latest data reveals the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured on British roads increased more than any other road user group, up by 30 percent compared to the previous year.
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By comparison, the number of pedal cyclists increased by five percent over the same timeframe.
Lorna Connelly, Head of Claims at Admiral Car Insurance, reminded drivers to remain aware of their surroundings when out and about on the road.
She added: “Having any sort of car accident can be a frightening experience, but when a pedestrian is involved, the implications can be devastating.
“While the number of pedestrians who were sadly killed or seriously injured on our roads reduced during the pandemic, it’s concerning to see numbers creeping up again.
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“What’s worrying about these findings is how little both drivers and pedestrians understand about the designated crossings and what the rules are to safely use them.
“We all have a responsibility to act with caution, and traffic collisions can be catastrophic, so it’s vital we do all we can to keep one another safe.”
The research also showed how drivers and pedestrians can be distracted by the “various pulls of day-to-day life”.
The most common reason for near misses at crossings included pedestrians becoming distracted by their phones.
For drivers, the top reasons were failing to stop, travelling too fast and failing to see an oncoming pedestrian.
The data found that many drivers were confused or simply unaware of the differences between the types of crossings.
A pelican crossing is controlled by traffic lights, with a pedestrian being able to press a button that changes the lights to red after a short amount of time.
A puffin crossing has been described as a more intelligent version of the pelican crossing.
They have sensors which detect the presence of a pedestrian, with signals for pedestrians mounted on the near side of the road.
The most common type of crossing is the zebra crossing. These can be identified by the two sets of flashing amber beacons, with white lines on the road, where pedestrians have priority and the right of way.
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