Many children have returned to school this week, and our local streets have gone back to seeing much more traffic twice a day.
As well as parents who are dropping their little ones off at the school gate, children crossing roads on their way to school will be sharing road space with other vehicles at the busiest times of the day. Pedestrian accidents during school time make up a third of all pedestrian accidents among five to 10-year-olds, so at back-to-school time it’s important we’re all aware of what we can do to ensure the safety of our youngest road users.
Drivers Should Take Extra Care Around Schools
Speeding outside schools is a problem that road safety campaigners have been fighting for some time.
The 2015 Beep Beep! campaign by road safety charity, Brake, urges drivers to keep to 20 mph or below around schools and nurseries to protect children and other vulnerable road users. Three in five parents surveyed by Brake said they had witnessed irresponsible driving around their child’s school during the past year.
More worryingly, the survey revealed that drivers using a mobile phone whilst driving near schools were witnessed by nearly half of all parents surveyed. It’s well known that distracted drivers cause more accidents but the fact that some drivers continue to use their mobile phone whilst driving on roads where schoolchildren are about is quite simply appalling.
Schoolchildren Take the Initiative in Improving Road Safety
In some parts of the country, schoolchildren themselves have campaigned for more responsible driving near their school. During the summer term of the last school year, children in Birmingham and Coventry worked with local police to shame speeding drivers into slowing down near their school. In a Shropshire school, 500 schoolchildren signed a petition asking for their local council to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph on roads around their school.
These children should be praised for their proactive approach but it really shouldn’t be down to them to shame drivers or work hard to put petitions together. Councils should invest more in driver education and make 20 mph zones default in residential areas.
I’ve handled many road traffic accident claims where a vulnerable child has been injured in a collision with a driver on roads very close to where they live or go to school. If community-wide 20 mph zones were brought in across all our villages, towns and cities then our children would be much safer on their whole route to school, not just on the roads that immediately surround it.
Jane Cooper is a Senior Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon have one of the largest personal injury law firms in the UK and offer a free consultation for anyone wishing to make a claim compensation for a pedestrian accident. Call us 24/7 on 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.