RSA research shows 78% fall in child deaths on roads

RSA research shows 78% fall in child deaths on roads

The number of children killed on Irish roads has dropped by almost 80%, figures show.

Road safety chiefs revealed 252 children were killed and more than 1,000 seriously injured between 1997 and 2010.

But the figure for fatalities under the age of 14 fell from 27 to just six over the 13 years.

Noel Brett, Road Safety Authority (RSA) chief executive, urged parents, guardians and teachers to prioritise road safety, both at home and in school.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The RSA research showed:

:: Child deaths fell by 78% over the 13 years, with a 40% reduction in serious injuries, 64% drop in pedestrian fatalities, and a 100% cut in cycle deaths;

:: Despite an 80% drop in child passenger deaths, four out of 10 youngsters killed or seriously injured were in a car and one in three victims were not wearing a seatbelt or restraint;

:: More than half of all children who died in road accidents during the period were either pedestrians or cyclists.

Elsewhere, 119 people have died in road accidents so far this year, including a 68-year-old motorist who was killed when his car crashed into a ditch at Cooleeney Moyne, Thurles, last night.

The RSA has teamed up with Electric Ireland for a third year to distribute 85,500 high-visibility vests to every child starting school next week to ensure they are seen by other road users.

Its back to school road safety pack also contains leaflets for parents, a newsletter and a pack for schools featuring a CD of the Safe Cross Code song.

Liam Molloy, of Electric Ireland, said since the beginning of the joint campaign more than 250,000 high visibility vests have been given to children starting school.

“This has helped ensure that our youngest and most vulnerable road users are clearly visible on the roads at all times and reflects Electric Ireland’s ongoing commitment to promoting safe road use at all times,” he said.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said 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,” he added.

“Children learn by the example set by adults so please continue to demonstrate safe behaviour to our youngest and most vulnerable road users.”

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