24th November 2014
Dave Prowse is reprising his role as the Green Cross Code Man - all set to do battle in the digital age.
This time however the avuncular road safety star is targeting adults instead of children as more than half admit to using their phones while crossing the roads. In reality this number could be even higher. It's an image we have become accustomed to – pedestrians checking emails, sending tweets or listening to music.
While it's taken for granted to be connected on the move, these activities have contributed to 10% of all road casualties. As a result the code, sponsored by MORE TH<N insurance, has been updated and new advice will sit alongside the traditional 'Stop, Look and Listen'.
Also known for playing Darth Vader in the movie Star Wars, the 78 year old first played the Green Cross Man 40 years ago to teach children about road dangers. He made the special appearance returning for Road Safety Week 2014 last week and could easily have summed up proceedings with one of his most famous quotes - "you underestimate the power of the dark side".
MORE TH>N, has revealed that 30% of pedestrians will cross the road while online or surfing the web, 40% while texting and 60% while on a call. Many adults also admit to crossing the road in an unsafe place and most (87%) will walk out into the road between parked cars.
With the highest risk group people aged 25 to 59 (who account for 36% of all road casualties) two new films have been made to highlight the risks.
One of the films shows Dave in character speaking to people listening to music on headphones and using a smartphone while crossing the road. And in the other a young father is seen pushing a pram into the road between parked cars while texting. Mr Prowse retains his ability to scold offending pedestrians: 'What do you think you're doing?' he asks, before instructing him how to cross properly.
Responding to why this is important, the father of three, said: "Stop, Look and Listen have been the three basic pillars of road safety for decades, but they're being ignored en masse every single day. When the original Green Cross Man public information films ran, road accident rates reduced significantly. But that was in the days before pedestrians wandered around glued to their smartphones or wearing giant headphones, now it appears adults are completely out of practice with road safety".
The new code is as follows:
THINK! about the road, stop talking on the phone and find the safest place to cross, then stop - avoid crossing between parked cars
STOP! texting and tweeting when crossing the road
LOOK away from your phone and look all around for traffic, especially bikes and electric vehicles that you can't hear
LISTEN! for traffic, not your music. Take off your headphones and listen
WAIT UNTIL IT'S SAFE TO CROSS! If traffic is coming, let it pass
LOOK AND LISTEN AGAIN! When it's safe, walk straight across the road
ARRIVE ALIVE! Keep looking and listening for traffic and don't use your smartphones and music as you cross.