Safety campaign call as dozens of children hurt on the roads

Road Safety GB North East chairman Paul Watson.
Road Safety GB North East chairman Paul Watson.

Parents and schools are being urged to remind their children about road safety as the winter months see more pedestrian hurt in accidents.

Figures show 120 children were hurt in collisions in the town between 2012 and 2016, with two killed, and 27 left with serious injury and 97 with slight injury.

Road Safety GB North East has enlisted the support of a new mascot, Look Out Leo, to help educate young people about the dangers of the road, particularly during the winter months when the nights are darker and the weather is poorer.

The campaign allows schools to go to the RSGB NE website to download materials to display on walls and for children to take home, which gives advice about staying safe as pedestrians, cyclists, and car passengers.

In the winter months, children typically account for a third of all pedestrian road casualties.

Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) is appealing for all road-users to slow down and to look out for each other, particularly during poor weather conditions and when the light fades.

Parents and teachers are urged to encourage children to use pedestrian crossings, not to take chances near roads, and to wear bright or reflective clothing in order to be seen. If children are travelling in vehicles they must be fastened securely into the most appropriate seat.

Paul Watson, chairman of RSGB NE, said boys aged 11 and 12 were the most vulnerable group of child pedestrian casualties. He said 78% of children that are knocked down were simply not looking.

He said: “As a region, we are doing better at keeping children safe on the roads, but there is still room for improvement. A large proportion of children that are knocked over are trying to cross the road away from a pedestrian crossing, and more than a quarter are hit by vehicles while they are crossing near to parked cars. Those collisions could easily be avoided with more thought about road safety. What surprises me is that 4% of children who were injured whilst travelling in vehicles were not wearing seatbelts.”