More action and more education are needed to reduce the number of child road deaths in the UK, the RAC Foundation said today (28) in response to the publication of the government’s latest road casualty figures.
Two thousand and twenty five child pedestrians – equivalent to 80 classrooms – were killed or seriously injured on the roads last year, according to the figures. In addition 8,106 child pedestrians were slightly injured. In total 169 children died on the roads which is 20% more than in 2005.
Teenagers and young people are particularly at risk. Road accidents are now the biggest killer of young people, accounting for more fatalities among the 10-24 age group than any other cause of death*.
The RAC Foundation is urging a comprehensive approach that covers improved road design and car safety, targets the most deprived areas of the country and looks again at educating drivers and pedestrians.
Road safety education and training must start while children are young – which is why the RAC Foundation and the Make Roads Safe campaign are launching a new educational tool for road safety aimed at 4 – 11 year olds.
The online game at www.zebracrossinggame.com reinforces key messages about staying safe on the road and provides useful advice about linking the game to the national curriculum. The aim is for children to learn about road safety in a fun way while adults are encouraged to sign the Make Roads Safe campaign’s petition calling for a UN Ministerial conference on road safety to keep children safe around the world.
In the run-up to UN Global Road Safety Week the Make Roads Safe campaign launched a competition to name the zebra character, which fronts the game, and to write a poem about keeping safe on the roads. Thousands set in their suggestions and the judges decided on Zimbar the Zebra.
The game has been designed by award winning educational consultancy dbda and details have been circulated to all primary schools in the UK.Commenting on the casualty figures, Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation and Make Roads Safe campaigner said:
“Overall child casualties have fallen by 9 per cent but there is put more we can and should do. Children are much more likely to die in a road accident than from drugs or violent crime. It’s shocking that In line with global trends, road accidents are the number one killer in the 10-24 age group in the UK.
“It’s essential that we start educating our children about road safety at an early age. Today’s school children are the young drivers of tomorrow. We need to educate them in ever more creative ways so that they can take safety messages to heart and drive responsibly in future.
“What we need is a comprehensive approach to this problem that covers improved road design and car safety, targets the most deprived areas of the country and looks again at educating drivers and pedestrians.”
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