A petition has been launched calling on the Government to introduce road user education into the National Curriculum.
The petition has been created by David Barf (pictured), a roads policing inspector with North Yorkshire Police, who hopes to raise awareness of the issue so that it appears firmly on the Government radar.
Road Safety GB is supporting the petition and urging road safety practitioners to read and sign it as soon as possible.
The petition points to World Health Organisation figures which show that 1,700 people died on the UK roads in 2014, while in the same period 300 people drowned. It says: ‘We address water danger by teaching swimming in schools, yet there is nothing formalised in relation to road user education. Help us change this and save lives’.
Running for six months until 5 August 2016, the petition requires 10,000 signatures for a Government response. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
Inspector Barf, who works in the North Yorkshire Police Major Collision Investigation Unit, says he was prompted to start the petition by a desire to create a ‘groundswell of support’.
He said: “At present road safety education is left to individual local authorities, partnerships and charities who do their level best to get the message home.
“Sadly though, these stakeholders compete with others for school and college time and access to students often comes down to personalities and relationships, creating a post code lottery.
“It is fair to say that a vast majority of those passing through our education system will use the country’s roads. At present we put 16 and 17-year-olds onto the road with a basic level of knowledge.
“My petition is aimed at gaining Government recognition that saving lives on our roads should be given central support to get the time required in all schools by placing this important area of life skill into the National Curriculum.
“All of us who are involved in this area and deal with tragedy every day want to prevent needless loss of life. I am convinced that early intervention and education can do that. After all, we don’t send students to university without first sending them to school.”
Honor Byford, chair of Road Safety GB, said: “The sentiment in David’s petition is fully supported by Road Safety GB.
“Road safety professionals constantly strive to provide road user education in their local schools and colleges and parents tell us this is what they want for their children. But this offer is frequently declined for any number of reasons including restricted curriculum time, competing offers and on occasion a lack of interest from teaching staff.
“Defined minimum outcomes – the things a child should know by the end of each key stage – in every child’s education would ensure that all young people are taught what they need to know when they need to know it, so they can travel safely and develop their independence appropriate to their age and development. We would include Bikeability training within this curriculum.