A report published today highlights that a major focus for Lancashire’s new road safety strategy will be to tackle the high numbers of children killed and seriously injured on the county’s roads.
The report to Lancashire County Council’s cabinet committee for performance improvement outlines studies showing that Lancashire has among the highest rate of child casualties nationally. Over the last five years the annual total has fluctuated between a low of 60 in 2012/2013 to a high of 83 in 2011/2012. In the 12 months to 30 June 2016, 79 children were killed and seriously injured (KSI).
Analysis has found that most incidents happen when children are walking. The vast majority involve children suddenly running, stepping or cycling into the road, often on streets where visibility is reduced by parked cars. Other common factors in collisions are children using pedestrian crossings, parents losing control of younger children when crossing the road, children moving together in groups, and distraction.
Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire, said: “The number of people who are killed or injured on our roads has fallen considerably over the last decade, but the number of incidents involving children, and particularly child pedestrians, remains higher in Lancashire than many other areas.
“Some districts in Lancashire have among the highest rates of child casualties in the UK, and there are common features of these incidents which suggest we need to look at new ways to encourage everyone to take more care on the roads, and particularly influence children to stay safe when out and about.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and we need everyone to help prevent deaths and injuries on our roads by staying alert and driving carefully.
A range of existing work to reduce child casualties is also described in the report, which includes:
• Education programmes tailored to different age groups as children progress through their school career and gain more independence
• Bikeability training, which sees around 10,000 children a year learn how to cycle more safely
• 335 active school crossing patrols
• Training community champions and delivering community events to check that people have correctly fitted child car seats
• Resources for schools to discourage illegal and inappropriate parking around the school gates
• School and community Roadwatch schemes
Dr Karunanithi added: “I hope this report helps to raise awareness of this issue, and the common causes of these incidents involving children so that people are in a better position to encourage participation in our road safety education programmes and reinforce road safety messages.”