When the clocks go back in late October and we all find ourselves setting off home in the dark it's traditional to mark the change with a flurry of press releases trying to place the blame for road collisions and casualties firmly on the shoulders of the victims.
Here is one example of this autumn's crop from an organisation calling itself Road Safety GB, which was formerly unknown as the Local Authority Road Safety Officers Association, a bunch of career bureaucrats who have taken the concept of ineffectuality to new depths.
"Road Safety GB has launched a campaign to highlight the extent of the danger presented to children by the darker evenings that follow October’s clock change."
And that danger is? We're not exactly told, except that -
"The national campaign encourages children to wear bright, reflective clothing, especially for walks to and from school"
So the danger, it seems, arises from children behaving irresponsibly by wearing school uniforms or, even worse, fashionable and practical clothes on their way to and from school. Do Road Safety GB tell us why this should be so dangerous? Er no, it appears to be assumed that everyone 'knows' why wearing normal clothes is irresponsible and dangerous. All we get is a reiteration of the blame mantra -
"Be Bright, Be Seen’ places the responsibility on people of all ages to ensure children wear bright, reflective clothing.."
"...twice the number of child pedestrians were killed on the nation’s roads in November compared with October and December, while there is a 10% increase in the overall number of pedestrian fatalities...During the week, nearly 40% of all pedestrian casualties occur between 3pm and 6pm."
No mention of how our children are getting killed. Do they spontaneously combust perhaps? Or get struck by lightning? Or might it possibly have something to do with all those cars hurtling around, routinely breaking speed limits, jumping red lights, failing to stop at Zebras, driving on footways, chatting on mobiles, texting and generally fiddling with electronic devices rather than bothering to do anything as boring as actually looking where they're going?
No mention of cars or motor vehicles whatsoever in the Road Safety GB press release. No mention of speeding, no mention of the need to stop on red or at Zebra crossings, no mention of the dangers of driving on footways, chatting on mobiles, texting and all the rest. All we get is the subtlest hint, no more, of the possible involvement of motorists -
"...but Road Safety GB is also calling for adults and drivers to be more aware at this time of year....also on rush hour drivers to be especially watchful during their journeys, ensuring headlights are working correctly."
So what is it that 'adults and drivers' are supposed to be more aware of? Oh yes, that their headlights are working correctly. So it seems we 'adults and drivers' can carry on speeding, texting and chatting on mobiles to our hearts' content providing our headlights are working correctly. According to Road Safety GB these things are so insignificant as to be unworthy of even the slightest mention in a road safety press release and who are we to argue with these supine, self-serving pathetic parasites.
So motorists, when you're multi-tasking in your car, speeding along residential streets while chatting on your mobile, and some child gets in YOUR way and ends up a mangled, lifeless heap in the gutter, remember the Road Safety GB advice and be sure to check whether the child was wearing 'bright reflective clothing'. Unless your very unlucky the child won't be so you can rest assured that the blame is entirely theirs. As long as your headlights were working correctly of course.