Road Safety GB North East has enlisted the support of a new mascot to help educate young people about the dangers of the road, particularly during the winter months.
Parents and teachers are being urged to use ‘Look Out Leo’ to encourage children to follow simple rules when travelling as pedestrians and in vehicles.
The campaign is also prompting drivers to cut their speed around schools, playgrounds and shopping centres, to park in safe areas, and to be prepared for youngsters ‘dashing out’.
Between 2012 and 2016 there were 3,888 young people, aged up to 16 years, injured in road collisions in the North East. Eight were killed and 535 were seriously injured.
While child casualties in general tend to increase through the summer months, incidents involving child pedestrians peak during the winter months.
Paul Watson, chairman of Road Safety GB North East, says boys aged 11 and 12 years are most at risk of becoming child pedestrian casualties.
Paul Watson said: “A large proportion of children that are knocked over are trying to cross the road away from a pedestrian crossing, and more than a quarter are hit by vehicles whilst they are crossing near to parked cars.
“Those collisions could easily be avoided with more thought about road safety.
“What surprises me is that 4% of children who were injured whilst travelling in vehicles were not wearing seatbelts. That is a higher rate than the number of adults who were not wearing seatbelts. That should never happen.
“All drivers are responsible for ensuring children in their car are properly strapped in before setting off. It could save a life.”
For more information about the campaign, or to download the Look Out Leo materials, go to: www.lookoutroadsafety.co.uk
Raising awareness: Pupils from St Paul’s Primary School in Wolviston, Billingham, are pictured with the new Road Safety GB North East Look Out Leo mascot posters, with Stockton Borough Council’s Principal Engineer, Road Safety, Anthony Wilton, (left) and Stockton Borough Council’s Road Safety Assistant Helen Patterson.