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Road fatalities among children double in 2014

Posted on 27 August 2014, under the category RSA Press Release

RSA and Electric Ireland encourage parents and teachers to put road safety on the ‘Back to School’ checklist

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Electric Ireland urge parents, guardians and teachers to make road safety a priority as 13 children under the age of 14 have died in the first eight months of the year on Irish roads. In 2013, six children lost their lives, meaning the number of child casualties so far this year has already exceeded the total number of child deaths in 2013. Six of the children who died on our roads this year were pedestrians, six were car passengers and one was a quad bike user.

Although new research from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed there was an 89% overall reduction in the number of children (0-14 years old) killed on Irish roads in the period 1997 to 2012, there is a danger that this positive trend could be undermined with current statistics that show a rise in child fatalities this year. This report was published today as the RSA and Electric Ireland teamed up for the fifth year running to distribute 85,500 high visibility vests to every child starting school this year. The vests will be included in the RSA’s ‘Back to School’ road safety packs which will be sent to primary schools nationwide over the coming months.

The report also showed that:

§ 262 children were killed and 1115 were seriously injured on Irish roads between 1997 and 2012;
§ Of the child passenger fatalities in this period, 1 in 3 was not wearing a seatbelt or a child restraint.
§ Child fatalities decreased by 89% in the period 1997 to 2012 with a 42% reduction in serious injuries, a 72.7% reduction in pedestrian fatalities, a 100% reduction in cyclist fatalities and an 100% reduction in child passenger fatalities;
§ 44% of children who were killed in the period from 1997 to 2012 were pedestrians;
§ 42% of children who were killed or seriously injured between 1997 and 2012 were passengers in a car;
§ 59% of children killed in this period were male;
§ Peak time for children to be killed on the road is between 4:00pm and 5:59pm, and during the summer months.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe encouraged parents and teachers to renew their commitment to educating our youngest road-users about road safety, saying:

“The increase in child casualties on our roads this year is incredibly worrying, after many years of seeing year-on-year decreases. Attitudes to road safety are formed at a young age and we would urge parents and teachers to continue to prioritise teaching our youngest and most vulnerable road-users how to stay safe on the roads. As parents and educators, we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be safe when walking, cycling, getting the bus or being driven to school.

We would urge parents and guardians to consider bicycle helmets, bike lights and hi-vis vests or jackets when preparing their ‘back to school’ shopping lists to ensure their children are safe on the roads when travelling to and from school.”

Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority commented:

“We are delighted to work with Electric Ireland to ensure every child who is starting school this year has a high visibility vest to keep them safe and seen on their way to and from school. Every year, we remind parents and guardians to make sure that road safety is a top priority on their child’s back to school checklist. This year, with the rise in deaths of children on our roads, we would ask parents and guardians to more than ever keep road safety top of mind. Children are the most vulnerable of our road-users so it is really important that they are ‘streetwise’ about road safety.”

Speaking at the Launch of the ‘Back to School’ Campaign, Paul Stapleton, General Manager, Electric Ireland said:

“This is a very important initiative for Electric Ireland and we are delighted to partner with the RSA for the fifth year running to promote road safety among our youngest road users and their families. Since the beginning of this campaign, the RSA and Electric Ireland have distributed over 300,000 high visibility vests to children starting school. This helps to ensure children can be seen by other road-users when walking or cycling to school, making sure our youngest and most vulnerable road users are clearly visible on the roads. It also reflects Electric Ireland’s ongoing commitment to promoting safe road use at all times.”

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