The IAM has issued a warning to drivers to be on their guard as pupils return to school at the start of the autumn term.
The IAM says the “risk of an accident becomes significantly greater” as the return of the school run means a “20% growth in rush hour traffic”.
The IAM warns that the greater risk comes on the way home from school when “under 16s are more likely to be distracted by playing with their friends, listening to music or interacting on social media”.
The IAM points to DfT research in which 62% of respondents aged 11-16 years admitted to being distracted by talking to friends as they cross the road, and 36% of girls and 25% of boys said they were distracted by their mobile phones.
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Technology has moved on at such a pace, it is clear that youngsters are being distracted by the myriad of portable entertainment devices available to them."
The charity has also published a series of tips to help people remain safe as the schools return, including: leaving the house five minutes earlier to avoid being in a hurry; taking extra care to compensate for the fact that children won’t always be paying attention; and never stopping on the yellow ‘zig zags’ by schools.