NEW RESEARCH BY the Road Safety Authority has revealed a 77 per cent reduction in the number of child fatalities on Ireland’s roads between 1997 and 2010.
Fatalities in children (under 14s) decreased by 77.8 per cent over this period, with a 39.6 per cent reduction in serious injuries. While a 63.6 per cent reduction in pedestrian fatalities, a 100 per cent reduction in cyclist fatalities and an 81.8 per cent reduction in child passenger fatalities was also noted .
The RSA’s Child Casualties Report also revealed that, of the 252 children passengers who lost their lives during this period, one in three was not wearing a seatbelt or a child restraint.
The report also found that:
- 43 per cent of children who were killed or seriously injured between 1997 and 2010 were passengers in a car
- 60 per cent of child fatalities between 1997 and 2010 occurred on roads outside built up areas where the speed limit is higher than 60km/h
- One in three child fatalities occurred between 4pm and 7pm
“This weekend, parents, teachers and children around the country are preparing for the beginning of a new school year. Learning how to use the road safely is one of the most important lessons a child can learn and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the parents and teachers who make this a priority, both at home and in school,” said Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. “Children learn by the example set by adults so please continue to demonstrate safe behaviour to our youngest and most vulnerable road users.”
More than half (56 per cent) of all child casualties in Ireland between 1997 and 2010 were pedestrians or cyclists, according to the research. In light of this, the RSA and Electric Ireland are distribute 85,500 high visibility vests to every child starting school with a high visibility vest to ensure they are clearly seen by other road users when walking or cycling to school.
The ‘Back to School’ Pack for Primary Schools, delivery of which will start in September, also contains
- ‘Going to School’ leaflets for the parents of junior infants entering education
- A ‘Safe Cross Code’ promotional pack including a CD of the song and a poster with the words of the ‘Safe Cross Code’ song and dance to be taught in the classroom
“While there has been a significant reduction in the number of children killed and seriously injured on our roads, any tragedy, particularly involving a young person, is one too many. Attitudes to road safety are formed from a very young age so I would encourage parents and teachers to take the time to talk to their children about road safety and make sure they practise good road safety behaviour at all times,” said Noel Brett, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority.