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Commuters dancing with danger 32 times a week

Press release: 03/05/2013

  • Urban Brits put themselves at risk 32 times on average during their weekly commute
  • 'Everyday hazards’ have caused 1.7 million commuters to take time off work through injury
  • Commuters in Manchester top the list of biggest risk takers, and women take more risks while commuting than men
  • 90% of urban commuters failed bespoke ‘Everyday Life Hazard Perception Test’
  • 83% of working adults have no income protection

Britain’s army of urban commuters barely make it from the front door to the office on their own two feet each day, according to new research from protection specialist LV=. Seemingly happy to run the gauntlet on a daily basis, British urban commuters take their life into their own hands 32 times on average in any given working week. That’s an average of over 1,600 risks taken by each commuter every year, which could result in serious injury.

Everything from attempting to cross the road in busy traffic when a zebra crossing is nearby, to running to jump on a train when the doors are sliding shut, the ‘LV= Everyday Risk Report’ shows how blinkered 100 mile-an-hour Brits are so caught up in the rat race, they’re almost completely oblivious to everyday hazards.

More than 1.7 million people have been injured to the extent they needed time off work [1] – anything from a day to more than six months - because of hazards that are part of people’s everyday commute. The potential consequences of these risks are compounded by the fact that just 17% of UK working adults have any form of income protection in place [2], leaving people financially vulnerable if they were unable to work for a period of time.

It’s true to say that British urban commuters can do more to increase their levels of self preservation, as all of the hazards could be avoided. The most common risks urban commuters admitted to are:

Risk

% of urban commuters that do it regularly

Running up or down a stairs / escalators

42%

Running for bus or train and jumping on as doors are closing

40%

Nipping into the road momentarily to get around slow walkers

39%

Crossing the road without doing due diligence

38%

Looking at their smartphone whilst walking

35%

Ducking and weaving through crowds on cluttered concourses

35%

Crossing roads in two stages (waiting in the middle of road while traffic clears)

35%

Crossing the road at a junction without waiting for the green light to flash

30%

Drinking a hot drink (tea / coffee), or eating, whilst on the move

29%

Crossing a busy road when there’s a zebra crossing very close by

28%

Standing over the yellow line when a train approaches

27%

LV= research has found that 8:29am is the most dangerous time of day for rail commuters [3] in particular – when major national train stations are at their most congested and a number of the hazards are likely to pose a heightened threat.

Of the UK’s urban commuters, workers in Manchester admitted taking the most risks on average (48 per week), closely followed by commuters in London (38 risks) and Liverpool (30 risks). In the battle of the sexes, it’s women that take more risks than men – 35 and 30 per week respectively on average.

The research highlights the very real and frightening consequences of falling foul of the most prevalent everyday hazards. Looking at the average recovery time for each of the everyday risks - for those not fatally injured - crossing the road without looking caused commuters to be laid up for an average of 3.5 months (7% injured this way / 296,700 people). This is followed by loitering over the yellow line at a train platform (3.4 months average injury recovery. 5% injured this way / 215,000 people) and slipping when rushing through crowds (3.2 months average injury recovery. 2.4% injured this way / 103,200 people).

What’s more, the data reveals how 8% (322,500 people) of commuters were forced to take more than six months off work, which is likely to not only impact their physical wellbeing, but their financial circumstances as well.

Mark Jones, LV= Head of Protection, comments: “The fact that the average urban British commuter takes so many risks, and so frequently, is concerning. Freak accidents can happen, everyone knows that, but in this instance we’re talking about hazards that can be avoided. It’s about slowing down and being more mindful, and thinking more carefully about the consequences of our actions.

“Physical wellbeing is important to everyone, but an accident can also have serious consequences on people’s finances. Whether you’re single or have a family; are renting or own your property, if you are no longer able to work and earn an income each month many people would struggle to make ends meet for long. Financial pressures can be alleviated by knowing there is adequate protection in place, if the unexpected did happen. It’s worrying that so few people in the UK have their income protected.”

The results of the research have been corroborated by a social experiment, involving the creation of a fully interactive film that follows an urban commuter on a typical journey to work using public transport. Dubbed the LV= ‘Everyday Life Hazard Perception Test’, users are asked to click on the screen whenever they identify a potential hazard.

Carried out in a controlled environment, 100 urban commuters took the Everyday Life Hazard Perception Test that features 11 of the most common risks identified through the research – and just 4% of participants secured a pass.

In light of this, LV= is encouraging people to log on and take the test for themselves, and see how many of the everyday hazards form part of their own daily commute. The Everyday Life Hazard Perception Test can be taken at: www.lv.com/life-hazard-test

Mark Jones continued: “It’s fair to say people probably don’t realise the types of things they do on their everyday commute would be considered dangerous. Crucially, people need to understand that while all of the hazards we’ve identified might seem innocuous, the fact of the matter is they could yield very serious consequences, physically and financially.

“We would urge anyone considering taking out protection insurance to seek financial advice to discuss all the options available.”


Notes to editors

Statistics taken from research of 1,000 urban British commuters carried out by OnePoll for LV= in April 2013.

1 – Latest ONS figures showed 4.3 million Brits use public transport to commute into urban areas in the UK.

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_299766.pdf. From research of 1000 people commuting to work on public transport 39.7% of respondents said they had been injured by one or more of the identified hazards to the extent they needed time off work. 39.7% of 4.3million = 1,707,100 people.

2 – Online research conducted by Opinium among 2020 UK adults on behalf of LV= in September 2012

3 - Estimate based on data gleaned from Department of Transport report: ‘’Rail passenger numbers and crowding on weekdays in major cities in England and Wales: 2011

About LV=

LV= employs 5700 people and serves over five million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

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