During the late 1970’s about 1,500 pedestrians, most of whom were teenagers, were killed or badly injured on the roads in Britain. By the 1980’s, the figure had doubled. There was a debate about the relentless rise in these figures at the European Road Safety Year Conference in London, where various people expressed their opinions on the topic:

Frank West, Chairman of the Pedestrians’ Association:
This killing of pedestrians, especially children, is a national disaster but it is obscured by the decline in road casualties as a whole. Among reasons for that general decline are stronger cars, the wearing of seat belts and less walking. The result is that people think the roads are safer, although for pedestrians they are becoming more and more dangerous.


We know from the work of Professor Ian Howarth at the University of Nottingham that most casualties occur in residential areas hardly because children ignore drivers, but it is just the other way round. We need to narrow the roads and use policemen to slow down cars. We also want to see better policing and improved driver training as well.


In Norway, you get a driving licence only after passing two tests. You receive a temporary licence after the first but it is made permanent only after passing another test, a year later. Something similar should be introduced for new drivers in Britain. Reducing casualties among the ten- fourteen-year-olds presents special difficulties. Such children are beginning to explore on their own and tend to give up the basic niles for crossing roads taught at school.


They begin to cross the roads by copying adults, learning the dangerous and difficult trick of choosing a gap in the traffic, and marching right into the road. Whatever the case is, children can be excused but not adults. We do not want to see another 3,000 pedestrians, especially young boys and girls, killed or hurt in the 1990’s.


David Smith, The Department of Transport, Head of Road Safety: 

We are aware that the decline in casualties among motorists seems likely to leave pedestrians the largest single road-user casualty group in the 1990’s. Therefore, any required action for reducing casualties to the minimum will be taken.

Peter Bottomley, Minister for Roads:
We advise town planners and road safety engineers to switch their attention from vehicles to people. A third of all journeys are made entirely on foot. Most other journeys involve walking to some degree. That must make pedestrians the most important class of road users. Too often planners and road safety engineers seem to forget that.

A. Mark the best choice.

1. According to Frank West, .

a) most pedestrians, especially children could avoid accidents by walking less

b) British roads are safer for pedestrians despite what people think

c) there would be fewer casualties if children wore seat belts

d) the general decrease in road casualties obscures the increase in deaths of children on the roads

2. The reason for most accidents in towns is .

a) children not obeying rules for crossing roads

b) drivers not paying enough attention

c) children ignoring vehicles and drivers

d) drivers who have a temporary driving licence


3. West refers to Norway because .

a) they know how to educate children about traffic

b) fewer people are killed on the roads than Britain

c) they have a better driving test system than Britain

d) their police are more strict with drivers

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