DfT investigating how to reach children more effectively

12.00 | 12 February 2013 | | 9 comments

Responding to media claims that children’s road safety advertising will no longer appear on TV, the DfT says it is looking into ways that road safety messages can be enhanced within the National Curriculum.

Children’s TV adverts have been shown since the 60s, with characters such as Tufty the squirrel and the Green Cross Code Man. But a BBC News report last week said that TV advertising is to be cut as a consequence of the coalition Government’s spending review, under which the DfT has to cut its spending by £683m.

Responding, David Murphy, head of campaigns, said the DfT is investigating how it can "reach children and teenagers in schools more effectively".
David Murphy said: ""Budgets remain as announced following the 2010 Efficiency Review process.

"The priority areas for high profile campaigns in the current fiscal year have been drink driving and motorcycling.
"On child road safety, there are no current plans to run the Tales of the Road campaign on TV or in cinemas. Instead, we are currently reviewing all our child/teen assets and liaising with RSOs and other partners to explore how our road safety messages can be enhanced within the national curriculum and reach children and teenagers in schools more effectively."

Figures released to the Mail on Sunday under a Freedom on Information request show that the road safety publicity budget has reduced from £19m in 2008/09 to £3.9m in 2011/12.

The THINK! campaign has a budget of £3.6m, of which £78,000 is allocated to educating children about road safety in the current fiscal year.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: "While road safety must face its share of cuts in public spending, road accidents are an enormous financial burden that the country can ill-afford.

"Investing in preventing road casualties, through measures such as television campaigns, makes a significant economic contribution and helps to save lives and prevent injuries."

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    Radical I know, but maybe parents will teach their children to cross the road. On second thoughts, not a good idea judging by how many parents drag their children across a road within a few yards of a crossing.

    Andy, Warwick
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    Surely this is a great opportunity to get Bikeability on to the National Curriculum! Much cheaper than the cost of fatalities or serious accidents (I’m not being flippant), plus a healthy, economic transport option for our young people.

    Philippa Robb London
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    I have a 10 year-old grandson who walks on his own and is developing the independent mobility that so often children do not develop because of the fears of fast motor vehicles on our community roads.

    Rather than relinquishing the aspiration and right for our children to walk independently on our streets we should be working to create an environment where the roads are shared equitably for all and where adults in particular go about their use of the roads in a manner that protects rather than discourages the vulnerable.

    Whilst there is a place for training we must not forget that children of primary school age cannot reliably assess the speed of motor vehicles (see http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/03/04/0956797611400917).

    When we drive we must remember that few roads have been built exclusively for cars, and as drivers we should expect children to behave negligently and drive in a manner that allows us to ensure that such negligence does not result in their injury or death.

    Rod King, Cheshire, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    When was the last time you saw a child walking along the pavement on it’s own?

    When this was a regular and unremarkable occurrence there was a place for teaching children how to manage their environment and be responsible for their own safety. Nowadays most children are shepherded and transported in cars and buses from one place to another so the need to teach these important skills is very much reduced.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    Typical government taking from the ones most at risk. Thankfully others out there are still working hard to teach road safety and keep kids safe.

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    I think it’s worth noting that children don’t take in their media the way we used to. On demand TV, DVD’s, SKY+…and the ability to channel hop at will. There is argument that purchasing TV ads might be a waste of money anyway. Look at the advertising revenues of the commercial stations, they are all declining. We need to be smarter in our message targeting.

    Iain Temperton – Norfolk
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    “Those with the broadest shoulders….bearing the greatest burden!”….er….children?

    Susan, Northamptonshire
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    It’s kind of poor economics when the budget for DfT to target children is less than the cost to the economy of a single fatal collision.

    Steve, Merseyside
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    Does this mean my collection of Tufty wooden jigsaws, workbooks and flannelgraphs (younger RSOs look it up) will be worth more now? More worryingly is the assumption by the spokeswoman that local authorities have RSOs.

    Peter Wilson London
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