'Zebra crossings in need of modernisation’ – as survey shows just 19% of adults correctly understand the laws of using the crossings

Brake say the number of people killed on pedestrian crossings increased by a third last year (Models pictured)

As it’s revealed that roughly 70 people a year are killed on zebra crossings, a charity has voiced their concerns about the safety and suitability of the 1950’s-style crossing in our fast-paced modern society.

Road Safety charity Brake say that this figure has almost doubled since 2013. 

They are now calling for the government to adopt new solutions and safer measures at pedestrian crossings.

New research released yesterday by Direct Line also revealed that over two-thirds of UK adults believe that zebra crossings – which first appeared in the UK in the 1950’s and have not seen any changes made since the 1960’s – should be updated with new technology.

Over 31.7 million cars are registered on British roads today – as opposed to the mere 6 million that were registered back in 1960.

Furthermore, the research revealed that only 19% of UK adults appeared know the correct rules of using a zebra crossing. 

Almost half of those surveyed believed that the point at which a car must stop is when the pedestrian is waiting at the crossing – when in fact, a car must only legally stop once a pedestrian has actually stepped onto the crossing.

Joshua Harris, the Director of Campaigns at Brake, said: ‘The number of people killed on pedestrian crossings increased by a third last year – almost doubling since 2013.

‘This is a deeply concerning trend and the government should seek to adopt new solutions to ensure the safety of our pedestrian crossings.’

Worryingly, just under a fifth (19%) of Brits have had a near miss at a zebra crossing in the last twelve months.

- Direct Line, 2017

Mr Harris continued: ‘A safe systems approach to road safety, advocated by Brake, accepts that humans are vulnerable and make mistakes and looks to mitigate this through safer roads, speeds, vehicles and road use.’

In response to the growing number of incidents at UK crossings, Direct Line developed the world’s smartest pedestrian crossing – the Smart Crossing – in October 2017.  

 Smart Crossing technology possesses the ability to widen to accommodate larger crowds, change its directional flow in emergency situations, and even uses colours to grab the attention of pedestrians immersed in their mobile phones.

Working alongside Makerversity, Direct Line is currently developing a second iteration of the technology, which they hope will tackle the growing issue.