The UK’s biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has warned that with many schools restarting this week, drivers need to be on full alert for distracted schoolchildren enjoying their new smartphones.
The likelihood of a child being involved in a crash on the way home from school increases by 20% over the winter months.
Casualty rates rise between 3pm and 7pm as the days shorten from October. Youngsters aged 10-14 are most at risk, with road crashes accounting for over half of all unexpected causes of death in this age group (reference 1).
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “We urge all drivers to be aware that some youngsters will be more focussed on using the new smartphone they got for Christmas and showing it off to their friends than on looking out for traffic.
“Their minds are often not on crossing the road safely. Drivers need to have all their senses on alert and anticipate unpredictable behaviour near schools and on residential streets in the late afternoon.”
IAM RoadSmart also reminds parents they need to play a part in their children’s road safety knowledge, including regular reminders that they need to pay attention to their journey home and not their smartphone screen.
This is echoed in the DaCOTA report on child road safety (reference 2), a project coordinated by the EU Commission.
It says: “The behaviour of parents is critical since their attitudes and interactions influence the behaviour of their children.”
Notes to editors:
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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.
To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit the new website www.iamroadsmart.com
To find out the name of your own local IAM RoadSmart group please visit: https://wwwiamroadsmart.com/local-groups