SERP issues child casualty warning


SERP has issued a plea for drivers, parents and children to be especially vigilant following a recent spike in the number of children being seriously injured while crossing the road.

Provisional data from Essex Police shows that between 17 August and 15 September, nine children aged 5-16 years were seriously injured on roads across Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock.

Of these casualties, seven were pedestrians and two were cyclists, but all were crossing the road, in most cases while obscured by parked vehicles, when the incident occurred.

Six of the nine injuries have taken place since 3 September, the earliest date at which schools in Essex resumed after the summer holiday period, and five happened during typical school travel times (weekdays 8am-9am and 3.20pm-4.50pm).

These nine child casualties equate to 19% of all killed and seriously injured (KSI) casualties in the SERP area, and 63% of pedestrian KSIs, during this period.

Will Cubbin, SERP’s data analyst, said: “In a typical September, based on average figures for the last three years, we would expect 10% of all KSI casualties, and 35% of pedestrian KSIs, to be aged 16 years and under, so these figures are getting on for double what we would expect.”

Across the UK there has been an increased focus on pedestrians following a 12% year-on-year increase in pedestrian fatalities – from 398 in 2013, to 446 in 2014.

In fact, pedestrians accounted for three quarters of the overall 4% increase in fatalities between 2013 and 2014, and made up 25% of all fatalities in 2014. At 446, the 2014 figure was the highest number of pedestrian deaths since 2011.

A separate government statistical bulletin giving casualty data for the year ending September 2014, revealed child (aged 0-15 years) KSIs increased year-on-year by 3% to 2,060, with child casualties of all severities increasing by 6% to 16,640.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) recently called for more to be done to protect pedestrians, including making pedestrian safety a bigger factor in vehicle design, and a long-term engineering programme to deliver safer roads in the UK.

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “Pedestrian fatalities are rising faster than any other group right now so it is vital that drivers are more sympathetic and aware of pedestrians when they make their journeys.

“There is no need to blame any party when it comes to how to reduce the numbers of people killed and injured on our roads – all road users need to look out for each other and ensure we minimise the impact of our own and others unpredictable behaviour.”

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