Lighter days ‘usher in darker times’ for child road safety

12.00 | 30 March 2016 | | 2 comments

More children are killed or seriously injured (KSI) on UK roads during summer than in winter, according to new analysis from the RAC Foundation.

The findings, which are based on average figures for the five year period 2010-14, show that the highest number of KSIs among children (0-15 years) occurred in July, when there were 227.

This is followed by September (222), May (221), June (213) and April (204), considerably higher than December (122), January (142) and February (161).

57% (1,277) of all KSIs happened in the six months from April to September, compared to 973 in the remaining six months of the year.

The data also shows that across the year, the peak hour for child road casualties is between 3pm and 4pm. There is also a spike in the morning between 8am and 9am. Both peak casualty periods coincide with school ‘rush hours’.

The RAC Foundation says the summer peak in child casualties is likely to be down to better weather and longer days meaning more young people playing outside with their friends, and cycling and walking to and from school.

Other findings include: the casualty rate among boys is 33% higher than girls; 40% of all child road casualties are pedestrians, while 13% are cyclists; and 17% of all child road casualties occur on a Friday.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Instinctively we think of the dark, cold months as taking the biggest toll on our children. But the opposite is true. With the longer, warmer days children are more likely to be out and about. And with that comes a big rise in casualties.

“Over the past decade or so there has been a steady decline in the overall number of child casualties but worryingly in 2014 there was a noticeable increase.

“The recent increase in child casualty numbers must be a concern for us all. We don’t want to wrap our children in cotton wool, so as adults and parents we all have a part to play in leading by example whether we are behind the wheel or crossing the road on foot.

“The more we act responsibly, the faster young children will learn and the more likely they will be to stay safe when they have to make decisions for themselves.”

Photo credit: RAC Foundation.


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    More often than not I find myself agreeing with Hugh. It’s obvious that there is more exposure to risk during the longer days and (hopefully) better weather of summer. That said, to put road safety into proper context, the home is statistically always more dangerous than the roads, particularly the lounge/living room – there are 6000 accidental deaths in the home each year according to RoSPA and many times more injuries.

    Paul Biggs, Staffordshire
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    The stats imply that 47% of the child KSIs were as occupants of vehicles, not as peds or cyclists, so is there necessarily a connection between the time of year and these collisions at all?

    As ever, in collision investigation and road safety, without knowing the circumstances of individual incidents, one can’t conclude much from mere data.

    Hugh Jones
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