Making the wider connections with road safety

May 2013

Here we outline some of the ways in which people working in child accident prevention can build connections with road safety and transport professionals to protect children as passengers and pedestrians, while also promoting travel opportunities which encourage more physical activity.

Recent statistics show an encouraging fall in the number of children who were killed or seriously injured on or near the roads. However, in 2011 in Great Britain, 2,412 children aged 0-15 were killed or seriously injured on or near roads – a reduction of 21% from the average for 2005-2009. Children and young people’s road safety therefore remains a key national and local priority.

Key facts

  • Children and young people are among those at greatest risk on and near roads – 7 children are killed or seriously injured every day, with another 45 suffering less serious injuries every week.
  • Motorcyclists and young drivers are disproportionately at risk, as are child pedestrians, especially in deprived areas.
  • The peak age for pedestrian accidents among school pupils in the UK is 12 years of age.
  • Road traffic accidents accounted for 108 (47%) of the 229 ‘non-natural’ deaths in selected UK regions analysed as part of the ‘Why children die?’ 2006 pilot study.
  • Road traffic accidents cost the English economy nearly £8 billion a year.
  • It is estimated that preventing road traffic related injuries in Great Britain would free up around 220,000 bed days per year, significantly reducing NHS waiting times.

Strategic Framework for Road Safety

A new Strategic Framework for Road Safety includes the key theme of ‘better education and training for children and learner and inexperienced drivers’. Through the Framework, the Government expects “central and local government to continue to prioritise road safety and continue to seek improvements.”

The Framework incorporates a Road Safety Action Plan and a Road Safety Outcomes Framework. In addition to key indicators relating to overall road deaths and killed or serious injured casualties, other indicators are age-related and include children:

Resources and guidance

Making the Link resources

Our road safety topic briefing explains the key issues relating to road safety for senior practitioners and policymakers working in child accident prevention, while our article on the costs of road accidents provides an overview of the finanical and emotional costs of road accidents among children and young people.

The Crossing Over road safety resource helps road safety practitioners to improve collaboration and develop effective local partnerships.

How safe is your child in the car? leafletCAPT resources

From the earliest years of a child’s life, parents and carers have a key role in safeguarding children through correct in-car safety measures, and setting an example whether at the kerbside or through their own driving practice.

CAPT's supporting information and education resources include a safety guide on car seats and the Picture of Safety booklet on being out and about with young children, as well as the Mind the Road road safety website for childminders.

THINK!

The national THINK! road safety campaign provides resources and downloads on the major road safety risks and campaign messages. THINK! supports local road safety officers and their partners in planning coordinated activity for child road safety. A new THINK! campaign initiative is based around partnerships with football clubs, helping 6-11 year olds find safe places to cross the road. Evidence has shown that this is a key factor in helping children to stay safe on the roads. The Safer Places to Cross toolkit is available from the Tales of the Road website.

Road Safety GB

Road Safety GB is the professional organisation for road safety officers and others involved in this aspect of safety. Weekly news alerts provide local and regional updates, media stories and a knowledge bank.

Decade of Action for Road Safety logo

Decade of Action for Road Safety

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 has been launched by the United Nations. A global plan includes the five ‘pillars’ of: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users and post-crash response.

NICE Public Health Guidance 31, Preventing unintentional injuries among under-15s: road design, contains recommendations for road design and modification.

Neighbourhood Road Safety Initiative

In addition to local road safety activity, carried out against the backdrop of the THINK! campaign, recent research, including the Neighbourhood Road Safety Initiative has highlighted the need to extend the reach of road safety through new partnership approaches. This includes collaborative work with health services, neighbourhood managers and planners, community organisations and local businesses, and regeneration agencies and partners.

Improved accessibility is also a key factor in addressing social exclusion. The impact of traffic on deprived communities is highlighted by the fact that, “more than a quarter of child pedestrian casualties happen in the most deprived 10% of wards”.

In 2011, the Department for Transport's Delivery of Local Road Safety research found, "clear evidence that strong links have been established between road safety and planning departments, facilitating proactive area-wide treatments".

Emergency services data

The emergency services have first hand experience of the consequences of road traffic collisions (RTCs) which can be used for local communications and educational initiatives – for example, national fire operational statistics show that RTCs accounted for almost a quarter of non-fire incidents attended by fire and rescue services (Sept 2010).

Safety awareness weeks

Major national safety awareness weeks such as Child Safety Week (CAPT) and Road Safety Week (Brake) provide good opportunities to extend community engagement and outreach and to work with local partners on local road safety issues and concerns.

Promoting physical activity

For older children and young people, a combination of safer roads, improved risk awareness and local transport initiatives play an increasingly important part in supporting and encouraging more physical activity and healthier lifestyles. For more information see NICE Public Health Guidance 17, Promoting physical activity for children and young people.

Evaluation

ROSPA and the Department for Transport have developed an evaluation toolkit for local organisations delivering road safety education, training and publicity.

Updated July 2013