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By David Rooney on

What Would Tufty Say?

David Rooney takes a closer look at the Science Museum collection of road safety paraphernalia.

I saw a report in last week’s Daily Telegraph suggesting that whilst road deaths are on a general downwards slope, drink-driving deaths were up last year. The report then brings up the perennial debate about speed cameras. This is, of course, a complex matter, involving the intersection of people, technology and legislation. Cars and trucks are big, heavy and fast, so road safety – for passengers and pedestrians – has been the subject of life-saving innovation for decades.

On display in the museum, we’ve got plenty about road safety. Here’s the first Gatso speed camera to be installed in Britain (on Twickenham Bridge, if I remember correctly):

We also have a small family of crash-test dummies used at the Motor Industry Research Association to model the effects of collisions on car occupants, including this one:

Crash test dummy (credit: Science Museum / Science & Society)
Crash test dummy (credit: Science Museum / Science & Society)

As far as I recall, this particular model is called ‘Sierra Susie’. I’ll tell you a little more about her and her friends in a later post.

I was brought up on all the road safety campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s and I can still recite my Green Cross Code (see a cool Green Cross safety film at the National Archives website here). I tried to find my old Tufty Club badge just now but I seem to have lost it.

I’d be really keen to collect road safety campaign paraphernalia for the Science Museum’s road transport collection, so if you’ve got a treasured archive of that stuff and you’re looking for a home for it, I’d love to hear from you.

One comment on “What Would Tufty Say?

  1. I was brought up on Tufty. My dad was a Road Safety Officer in the ‘70s and so I watched innumberable Tufty slide shows, read Tufty Annuals and yes, I had a Tufty Club badge – though I was older than the target age range it was still fun. I’m not sure it’s stayed with me as an adult though – you’d never believe my father’s profession if you saw my driving skills. Or my road-crossing skills. What would Tufty say indeed ….

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