Today is the first day of Injury Prevention Week 2020 – a safety awareness initiative run by the non-profit organisation APIL (Association of Professional Injury Lawyers). In previous years, this ran as just a single-day event and the switch to a new week-long format reflects the importance of the theme of helping to prevent avoidable accidents. This year’s campaign will focus on road safety for pedestrians, with over 22,000 pedestrian deaths in the UK in the last year. This figure represents over a quarter of all road deaths. The campaign falls just a few weeks before children in the UK start to return to school. For many children, the school summer holidays immediately followed the school closures caused by COVID-19. After such a long absence, a reminder of pedestrian safety is very timely.
As an APIL member firm, we very much support this initiative. As a profession, injury lawyers will always fight to improve the legal remedies available to those who have suffered injuries, but we would much rather see them avoid those injuries in the first place. Through Injury Prevention Week, APIL provides some thought-provoking, informative research that can help educate people on hidden risks. When it comes to eliminating avoidable accidents, we believe that this type of education and communication has a big part to play.
Some of APIL’s research and statistics may surprise you. For example, it’s likely that almost all drivers know that the white lights on the rear of a vehicle mean that it is reversing or may be about to do so. However, when it comes to non-drivers just 44% of them are aware of this, which presents risks, but also a great opportunity to inform people and eliminate accidents.
One risk that many people are aware of is that of distractions caused by mobile phones. Understandably, most public awareness campaigns have focused on drivers, who could put the lives of others at risk as well as their own if they use a mobile phone whilst driving. Again, APIL’s research highlights one of the less obvious risks with a surprising statistic. It found that 72% of drivers have often seen people walking into roads to cross without looking, whilst using a mobile phone.
For the campaign, APIL will be working with mainstream media across the country and using their own Social Media presence to share facts and figures like these with the public. The hashtag #IPWeek2020 will be used across Social Media campaigns and MPs have been contacted and encouraged to raise awareness among their own followers and constituents.
You can find more details on the APIL website throughout this week as well as their Social Media channels. If the campaign avoids even one dangerous accident, it will have been worthwhile.