Prince Philip crash: New safety measures for road
Britain’s Prince Philip exchanged “well-wishes” Friday with the people in the other car that was involved in a traffic accident with him, Buckingham Palace said.
In a statement, a spokesperson said the Duke of Edinburgh had a “precautionary check-up” on doctor’s advice Friday morning that confirmed Philip “had no injuries of concern.”
Philip’s Land Rover flipped onto its side as a result of the crash on Thursday, but the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II emerged uninjured, according to a statement from local police.
Philip collided with another vehicle carrying two women, aged 28 and 45, as well as a nine-month-old baby boy.
Police said that the 28-year-old suffered cuts to her knee while the 45-year-old was left with a broken wrist.
The baby boy was unharmed.
The accident occurred about 3 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) on a public road near the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk in the east of England, police said. Pictures from the scene showed Philip’s vehicle lying on its side with debris scattered around it.
Another image showed the vehicle had suffered major damage to the front left-side door — the opposite to where a driver sits in the UK — and much of the side.
Local authorities revealed earlier on Friday that they will introduce new safety measures on the stretch of road where the accident took place.
Safety issues on the A149 had already been subject to discussions at Norfolk County Council, and the new steps were approved at a Friday meeting.
The current maximum speed limit of 60 miles per hour will be lowered to 50 mph and average speed cameras will be installed, the UK’s Press Association news agency reported.
Eyewitness Roy Warne told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that Philip was “obviously shaken” by the collision.
Warne described how Philip’s car had come out from a side road and hit another car in a “huge collision.”
“I think there’s no doubt it was hit,” said Warne, when asked if the other car had been hit or swerved into a ditch to avoid Philip.
Both drivers were given breath tests “per department policy,” the police said, which they both passed.
Following the collision, Philip saw a doctor at Sandringham Estate, where he and the Queen are staying.
CNN spoke to local residents who said that Philip seems able and knows the roads well.
“It was a very bad crossroads where it happened and maybe they’ve learned some lessons to slow the traffic down now,” said one woman.
The crash dominated tabloid coverage in the UK on Friday, with both the Daily Mail and The Sun leading their websites with it. The Daily Telegraph, a conservative broadsheet, also played the crash up high, with a headline emphasizing Philip’s “miracle escape.”
However, questions were raised over whether the Prince — five months from his 98th birthday — should still be driving.
The United Kingdom requires drivers older than 70 to renew their license every three years. A royal source said Thursday that the Prince has a license and follows all procedures required to keep it up to date. The source asked not to be named discussing Philip’s personal life.
One local Sandringham resident told CNN: “I suppose it depends what your physical and mental state is. There are people driving at 100. Personally I don’t think I would, but when I get to 97 I doubt whether I’ll have all the marbles anyway.”
Data from the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, the government organization that maintains a database of drivers and vehicles, reveals that 110,790 people aged 90 or over, and 314 people aged 100 or over, hold UK driving licenses.
The four 107-year-olds who hold a UK driving license could be the oldest drivers in the country, however the DVLA emphasizes that holding a license does not mean that these people are actively driving vehicles.
Experts say that there is no evidence to suggest that older drivers are more dangerous on the roads.
“In the wake of the incident, we have inevitably heard calls for mandatory testing of people of a certain age,” said Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, in a statement.
“This is a red herring — age is a completely arbitrary and unreliable measure for assessing someone’s ability to drive. Statistically, older drivers have fewer accidents than other age groups.”
Philip retired from public life in 2017 after 65 years of service, during which he conducted more than 22,000 solo engagements and delivered nearly 5,500 speeches.
His retirement came more than five years after Buckingham Palace initially said he would commence scaling back his workload, though he remained eager to continue many of his duties.
Since taking a step back, Philip has been seen in public at a handful of events with the Queen and other members of the royal family, including last year’s weddings of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.