Young people and road safety

Road incidents are a major cause of injury and death for young people in Great Britain. The transition between primary and secondary school is a significant factor in child pedestrian casualties as children often begin to walk to school unassisted and have to negotiate unfamiliar routes. Combined with the risk taking tendencies, adolescents between the ages of 12-16 year olds are consequently one of the most vulnerable groups of road users accounting for 51% of all child (0-16 years) road casualties.

2014 road casualty statistics for 1216 year olds show there were:

  • 38 children killed
  • 1,217 children seriously injured
  • 626 pedestrian deaths and serious injuries (50% of KSIs for 12-16 year olds)
  • 163 motorcycle deaths and serious injuries (13% of KSIs for 12-16 year olds)
  • 235 cycling casualties (19% of KSIs for 12-16 year olds)
  • 195 car user deaths and serious injuries (16% of KSIs for 12-16 year olds)

Making young people aware of the risks and providing them with strategies to take positive actions to remain safer are important parts of their development.

However, we must not suggest that they are always at great risk near traffic and we do not want to say that the only way to be safer is to remain indoors or in cars. Walking and cycling are healthy, enjoyable activities. The challenge is to give young people the skills, understanding and confidence to deal with traffic more safely as they become independent road users.