Thursday 25 November 2010

Reply to my complaint about the "Brighten up" campaign

When I have first seen this game I thought it was in a very bad taste, not mentioning the ideas it carried. 
I have written a complaint which follows:

"Dear Sir/Madame
I am writing to let you know that I am really amazed at the single sided 
approach you have displayed by creating a game where children have 
accident on a PEDESTRIAN CROSSING if not wearing enough hi-viz gear. I 
always thought that it's the motorists who are to blame, and who should 
slow down and pay more attention and not the children who get hit while 
safely crossing the road. What you imply by this game is that we all 
should be in a car or else we risk being injured. The game also implies 
that people who drive a car have little or no responsibility for it - 
oh, they haven't seen the kid - it must have been the lack of hi-viz. I 
am really displeased with that.

Instead of making people who drive more aware, lower the speed limits, 
put speed cameras, and what's most important enforce the law you focus 
on children who don't have enough yellow reflective stuff on them. 
Driving a car is a privilege not a right - people shouldn't be made to 
think they should adjust their livestyles so that others can drive in a 
carefree manner."

This is the reply I got:

"Apologies it has taken a while to get back to you on this.  Our response to queries received on the Be Bright, Be Seen game is below.  Please let me know if you have any other questions or if you would like further information on the research and evaluation findings used to develop and refine the campaign.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:

“This game is part of a range of educational materials designed to give children the skills they need to stay safe on the roads as they become more independent. 

“By explaining the consequences of different behaviour, we are not attributing the blame for accidents to any particular road user.  I am clear that everyone on the road has a role to play in creating a safe environment whether they are driving, riding, cycling or walking.”

To see all road safety campaigns from THINK!, including for car drivers (about speeding, seat belt wearing, drink & drug driving etc), motorcyclists, pedestrians and vulnerable / young road users, please visit"

I still think that the responsibility for the safety of vulnerable road users should lay in the hands of people who drive, not the other way round. If it's dark and you are approaching a crossing - slow down to crawl if you need to - better that than to kill a person. Or maybe I am totally wrong. 


  1. Well that's a surprise Ndru! (or rather it isn't)

    BB just gave me a nudge that you had received the same 'individual reply' as me. Maybe we should accuse the Dft of distributing SPAM emails, because I'm sure we're not the only two.

    I replied with further criticism & a request for more information. Maybe you should too & we can compare further replies if we get any?

    As a parent I'm disgusted with the campaign & totally agree with you - it is unacceptable to expect a young child to behave anything other than like a young child. The Dft should be encouraging adult motorists to behave like adults eh?!

    P.S: Can you update my blog title & Url on your blogroll? Soz - I made the mistake of changing it without thinking about it thoroughly first - aarrgghh!!!

  2. I might write them an email as soon as I have some spare time on my hands. As for the blog address - consider it done - I was worried at some point that your blog disappeared.

  3. I mailed them about that campaign and got exactly the same response.

  4. Makes you feel special, doesn't it.

  5. Had a second reply from them this week ***here***

    Dft - don't we just love 'em? (no)

  6. It really is time that the Road Safety Minister Mike Penning started THINKing and dropped the Taliban approach to road safety, and started looking at a harm reduction approach instead. Then we could really start to reduce the carnage on our roads.

  7. If you didn't like DfT's contribution to "road safety" education then there's more:

    As Prof Ian Roberts points out in his excellent book 'The Energy Glut' (well
    worth reading) - "There is no evidence that pedestrian training for children reduces their chances of being killed or injured in traffic crashes (Duperrex et al., 2002; Akbari et al., 2001)".

    And Prof Roberts is someone who trained as a paediatrician working in intensive care and has seen the results of road accidents. He goes on to point out:

    "The car makers worship road safety education, particularly for children... It
    tells the children to get out of the way."