Efforts to cut the numbers of people killed or injured on UK roads need to focus as much on social factors as safety education, according to a new report from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
The policy paper, Social Factors in Road Safety, looks at how issues such as where people live, how much money they have and their family circumstances can impact on their likelihood of being involved in a road collision.
The report shows how exposure to danger is a factor which can vary significantly between socio-economic groups. For example, children in families in the lowest income bracket cross 50% more roads than families in the highest.
It also cites research showing that the number of fatalities among children whose parents were long-term unemployed or had never worked was 20 times higher for pedestrians, 5.5 times higher for car occupants, and 27 times higher for cyclists when compared to children of professional or managerial parents.
The report also examines how family structure can influence the likelihood of injury, with children in single parent families and large families being more at risk.
It recommends that social factors are taken into account when road safety campaigns and initiatives are being planned and recommends more partnership working between road safety practitioners and organisations not traditionally seen as road safety stakeholders.
Duncan Vernon, road safety manager at RoSPA, said: “Our report clearly demonstrates that there are a wide range of social factors that impact on road safety. Building road safety into everyone’s priorities and policies is an inescapable step to reduce inequalities in injury.
“Road safety is a public health issue and greater integration between road safety and public health would help to create safer and healthier environments.”
Click here to read the full report.