On this day in auto history - October 31st

Sun 31st Oct 2021

It was on this day in 1951 that the first permanent 'zebra crossing’ in the UK was introduced in the Berkshire town of Slough.

Various crossings had been trialled across the country in an effort to reduce road casualties before it was decided that black and white was found to have the most visual impact. The actual label ‘zebra crossing’ is widely-credited to future Prime Minister Jim Callaghan who was a senior officer in the Ministry of Transport at the time.

After they were rolled out nationally, zebra crossings did contribute to a 10 per cent fall in road deaths during the first year, however, casualty numbers continued to rise over the next decade, prompting the introduction of signal-controlled panda crossings in 1962.

The original zebra crossings, complete with Belisha beacons, remain a staple on Britain’s roads but a shocking survey carried out in 2018 revealed that 81 per cent of Briton’s didn’t fully understand who had the legal right of way when it came to using them.

On average, there are still around 20 accidents reported every day involving zebra crossings.