Think! Education

Why teach road safety?

There has been a continued reduction in child and teen road casualties over the last decades. However in 2014, there were still 2,446 children (0-16 years) killed or seriously injured (KSIs) on our roads. Despite the small rise (5%) on 2013 (the first in over two decades), this was the second lowest year on record and 37% down from the 2005-09 average. Whilst UK roads are very safe by international comparisons, there is still a need to continue the downward trend in child road deaths.

The following statistics taken from the Reported Road Casualties report (2015) give a broad picture:

  • In 2014, 10 children aged 5-7 years were killed on Britainís roads. Another 292 were seriously injured.
  • Children aged 5-7 years old accounted for 12% of child (0-16 years old) KSIs.
  • The number of children aged 5-7 killed or seriously injured reduced marginally (1%) between 2013 and 2014 but have decreased by 19% since 2010.
  • 73% of children aged 5-7 years old killed or seriously injured were on foot at the time. A further 20% were killed or seriously injured as car passengers and 5% as cyclists.

Parents are often uncertain about where the responsibility for teaching road safety lies. One of the aims of this resource is to ensure that this responsibility is shared by all those involved with young children.

It should also be emphasised that there is a need for overall balance when teaching road safety: we must not suggest to young children that they are always at great risk near traffic and we do certainly not want to convey the message to anyone, least of all parents, that children can only be kept safe by keeping them indoors or in cars. Walking and cycling must continue to be promoted as healthy, enjoyable activities; the challenge is to give children the skills, understanding and confidence to deal with traffic safely while they are engaged in them.