RAC Cars News


The Return Of The Green Cross Code

By raccars Published

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To those born in the Nineties, the phrase 'Green Cross Code' probably means nothing. However, during the Seventies and eighties, this set of simple road safety rules was drilled into children with the help of a fearless hero, Green Cross Code Man. The caped crusader has now been resurrected to help tackle more modern road safety issues, such as using mobile phones.

Green Cross Code Man was played by actor David Prowse, also known for playing Darth Vader in the Star Wars films. Now 79, Mr Prowse took up the mantle of Green Cross Code Man for a new Department of Transport campaign in 1971. Over the next 20 years, road safety became a passion for him and the Green Cross Code campaign was very successful at educating children about road safety. It introduced the mantra 'Stop, look, listen, think,' which is estimated to have saved many children's lives, with road deaths and injuries involving children dropping significantly over the years in which the campaign was active. Mr Prowse's contributions to road safety saw him given an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.

Mr Prowse has now been brought out of retirement for a new road safety campaign, sponsored by insurer, MORE TH>N, this time aimed at adult road users. The modern Green Cross Code focuses on smartphone users who make calls, text or browse the internet while driving and also while walking. The campaign is organised around a series of short films, one of which shows a man pushing a child in a pram between parked cars into the road, while being distracted by his mobile phone. Following the style of the original campaign, he is roundly scolded by Green Cross Code Man, who then shows the pedestrian how to cross the road properly.

Mr Prowse's interest in road safety has not diminished over the years. Conceding that, in real life, he can't march up to people in his jaunty white and green outfit and tell them off about their road safety errors, he, nonetheless, is concerned about the number of people who wander along the street lost in the music from their large headphones or distracted by browsing social media on their smartphones.

Green Cross Code Man's new uniform is slightly more forgiving than the figure hugging version he sported in the Seventies and Eighties, although Mr Prowse claims to still own that outfit. In the original campaign, he was assisted by a small droid, capitalising upon the Star Wars connection, which also still belongs to Mr Prowse, and has been restored by a Jedi fan society.

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