A new report published last week (18 June) suggests that the “share of serious road accidents involving young children”, and particularly girls, is at a 10-year high.
The AXA RoadSafe report, ‘Facts about road accidents and children’, analyses child accident rates over the last 10 years, during which time 32,849 children have been killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads. The report aims to identify ways to improve the road safety standards for children in the UK.
The report shows that in the past five years there has been a proportionate rise in child deaths and injuries among pedestrians (66% of all accidents in 2011, compared to 61% in 2006); the proportional share of death and serious injury for under fives is at the highest level for 10 years; pedestrian casualties for girls under eight are at the highest level since 2005; and more than 2,400 children under the age of 16 were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in 2011.
AXA says the report is intended to “arm parents and communities with the information they need to help reduce child road accidents, and to bring the number of casualties down to 1,500 by 2020 – a 40% reduction on 2011”.
Adrian Walsh, RoadSafe founder, said: “Parents often ask for guidance on how best to keep their children safe on our roads. They need to know when and where they may be at risk, whether travelling in cars, walking, cycling or playing. This report helps to put these risks into context.”
The report also reveals that 11 year olds are six times more likely to text on the way to school than 10 year olds, and that at 11 year olds face the highest risk for child pedestrians.
Commenting on the report, James Gibson, Road Safety GB press and PR officer, said: "We know that using mobiles makes drivers four times more likely to crash. We’re particularly concerned at the level of distraction mobile phones can cause pedestrians too, particularly those who are both young and inexperienced road users. Parents need to warn children of the potential distractions and dangers mobiles can cause young pedestrians on their way to and from school. Texting, playing games and making calls can be lethal to a child near the road.
"Road Safety GB recently conducted a photographic competition to highlight the potential dangers to young pedestrians. The winning entry featured a pedestrian being distracted while using their mobile device."
In addition to this report, AXA is in the process of developing a schools road safety index which will launch in autumn 2013.
AXA says it intends to analyse more than 30,000 local schools and the surrounding areas across the country, and that the index will consider facts including speed limits, speed bumps, crossings and road markings while also incorporating road density information, crash rates and crash types.
While most of the data will be provided by Road Safety Analysis, hundreds of volunteers from across the UK have helped to assess their local schools.
The results will be given to schools and local authorities via partners to help them improve safety around their school.
Click here to read the full report.