car crashThe number of road traffic collisions (RTCs) attended by firefighters is at a five-year high according to new figures released today by the Brigade.

Firefighters attended 12 per cent more collisions on the capital’s roads last year with crews attending 4,541 London road traffic collisions. On average the Brigade is cutting six people from their vehicles every week.

Crews use specialist cutting and spreading gear, and vehicle stabilising equipment to rescue casualties from their trapped vehicles so that injuries can be treated and lives saved.

Vehicles can be found crushed up against other cars and street furniture and even flipped onto their side or roof, which can make rescues more challenging for firefighters and delay those involved getting the urgent life saving medical care they need.

The new figures have been released to coincide with a new campaign by the Department for Transport’s initiative THINK!(opens in a new window) to tackle the use of mobile phones while driving.

The campaign will launch today (March 1) in line with the new legislation that will see the penalties double for using your phone while driving from 3 to 6 points and from £100 to £200.

Drivers taking a real risk

Group Manager for Community Safety, Mark Hazelton, said: “There are many things that can cause collisions including speeding, and drivers falling asleep at the wheel, but we know that distractions coming from inside people’s cars are a major cause of accidents.

“Drivers who use their mobiles while at the wheel are taking a real risk to themselves, their passengers cyclists and pedestrians, and need to start realising how dangerous this is. It is not just their lives they are putting at risk.

“Hopefully this new legislation will make people think a little bit more before picking up their mobile phone to answer a call, read a text or change their music.”

In the last five years, firefighters have attended a total of 19,625 road traffic collisions in London.