Birmingham-based DriveSafe & StaySafe has called for increased safety education after new data have revealed that road traffic is the biggest killer of teenagers globally.
Road injury accounted for a tenth of more than 1.2 million deaths among 10 to 19 year olds worldwide in 2015, while in Britain in the same year road accidents killed 145 people and left 3,166 more seriously injured in the same age group, according to newly released World Health Organisation figures.
Most of the teenagers that were killed by road injuries are classed as “vulnerable” road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
DriveSafe & StaySafe, a not-for-profit organisation that is campaigning for road safety education to be part of the UK national curriculum, recently completed the successful piloting of its new ‘Walking to School Safely’ early learning book featuring new safety heroes The Conies within 27 Birmingham primary schools.
Fay Goodman, Managing Director of DriveSafe & StaySafe, said: “It is tragic that so many teenagers are killed needlessly on the roads, with all the devastation this causes families and friends. We need to start now in educating children as young as four on how to keep safe and be aware of the environment around them, and in ensuring schools, colleges and all educational outlets continue to promote the message of how important it is to follow sensible road safety procedures.
“I would also like to see more government awareness campaigns to remind families of the dangers on the roads and the need for drivers to be more careful and conscious of children and young people around them.”
DriveSafe & StaySafe’s ‘Conies: Walking to School Safely’ pilot scheme proved so successful that teachers from all 27 schools in Yardley, Hall Green and Hodge Hill - locations identified in the 2016 Birmingham Road Safety Strategy as child accident ‘hot spots’ – reported that the lessons ‘made a 100% improvement in road safety awareness’.
Fay added: “We hope that the lessons the children learn in primary school about walking to school safely will stay with them when they reach secondary school and begin to walk to school unassisted and negotiate unfamiliar routes, and continue to remain with them to pass on to future generations. We all need to keep sending out the DriveSafe message of ‘Be Aware, Be Prepared, Be Responsible and Be Safe’.”