Britain is still ‘some way behind’ other countries in tackling road safety for child pedestrians, according to a report by the National Audit Office, which has been welcomed by Road Safety GB.
The report found the UK was the fifth safest globally on the number of road deaths – but 11th worst out of 24 developed nations on pedestrian deaths, and 17th on child pedestrian deaths.
The report, Improving Road Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists in Great Britain, said the DfT is on track to meet its 2010 road safety objectives. But the government needs to set separate targets for those killed and those seriously injured because road death numbers were declining slower than those for serious injuries, it said.
It also argued ministers needed to work more closely with a number of different organisations to ensure objectives were met, especially within those groups most at risk.
The report admits the reasons are complex but says cyclists are most at risk of being killed by lorries and children are more likely to die on the roads after school. Darker evenings after the clocks go back are also a factor.
Tim Burr, National Audit Office, said: "Making roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists is a key element in encouraging people to walk and cycle more. While their safety has improved generally, some are more vulnerable, such as child pedestrians from deprived areas."
James Gibson, Road Safety GB spokesman said: “Road Safety GB welcomes the report as a positive step towards continuing to improve road safety in this country. It clearly shows there is room for improvement in a range of areas.
“We feel strongly that improving the safety of vulnerable road users is particularly important. This can only be achieved by every user of the roads taking individual responsibility for their own actions."
A DfT spokeswoman said: "The number of child pedestrians killed on Britain’s roads has fallen by 57% since the mid-1990s, showing that the work of local authorities, the emergency services and national government is making a real difference.
"This is a dramatic reduction but we are not complacent and that is why we have set a target to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads among children aged 0-17 by 50% by 2020."
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