New research from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) into child fatalities and serious injuries has revealed that 1,259 children up to 14 years of age were killed or seriously injured on Irish roads between 1997 and 2009. A further 9,139 received minor injuries as a result of a collision. In Tipperary, 369 children were killed or injured between 1997 and 2009. However, the number of children killed on Irish roads has almost halved since 1997 with a 45.6% reduction in fatalities under 14 years of age.
The research also revealed that over half (56%) of all child casualties in Ireland between 1997 and 2009 were pedestrians or cyclists. As schoolchildren enter the final few weeks of their summer holidays, the RSA and ESB Electric Ireland are asking parents, guardians and teachers to make road safety a priority in their back to school preparations. To help keep children safe on the roads, the RSA and ESB Electric Ireland will once again be distributing 80,000 high viz vests to every child starting school this year. The vests will be included in the ‘Back to School’ packs which will be distributed to primary schools nationwide in November.
Mr. Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “There has been a significant reduction in the number of children being killed and injured on our roads, but simply put, one death is one too many. As part of this year’s ‘Back to School’ campaign, the RSA is delighted to be working with ESB Electric Ireland to provide every child starting school with a high viz vest. This initiative will help to keep our youngest and most vulnerable road-users safe on the roads when walking or cycling to school.”
Mr Johnny Shine, Deputy Chief Executive, ESB said: “We are delighted to team up with the RSA once again to promote road safety among our youngest road-users. Over the coming weeks, 80,000 high visibility vests will be distributed nationwide to children starting school to make sure they are clearly visible on the roads at all times. This important initiative is part of our overall commitment to road safety which is reflected in our strategic alliance with the RSA to promote safe driving at all times.”
The ‘Back to School’ Pack for Primary Schools, which will be delivered in November, contains:
· High visibility vests – In partnership with ESB Electric Ireland, a total of 80,000 high visibility vests will be given out free to every child starting school this year;
· ‘Going to School’ leaflets for junior infants entering education. This is a parent’s guide to getting children to school safely;
· ‘Safe Cross Code’ promotional pack including CD together with a poster with the words of the ‘Safe Cross Code’ song and dance to be taught in the classroom;
· ‘School News’ newsletter.
Mr Brett also asked parents to include road safety gear in their ‘Back to School’ checklist: “We’re also asking parents and guardians to consider bicycle helmets and other life saving road safety gear on their ‘back to school’ shopping lists to ensure their children are safe on the roads when travelling to and from school. It’s also important to demonstrate good road safety behaviour at all times as your child will learn from your example. Teach your child about responsible and safe road use when walking, cycling or travelling to school by bus or car. Children are our most vulnerable road-users so it’s really important that they are ‘streetwise’ about road safety.”
Mr Brett also had a message for teachers: “We would also ask teachers to consider including a road safety lesson from the RSA’s road safety resources in their classes. There’s the ‘Safe Cross Code’, ‘Street Smart’, ‘Be Safe’, ‘Let’s Go’, ‘Seatbelt Sheriff’ and ‘Hi Glo Silver’ for primary level all of which teach our younger road-users how to use the roads safely. At secondary level we have a Junior Cycle resource entitled ‘Streetwise’ as well as ‘Your Road to Safety’ for Transition Year. Attitudes to road safety are formed at a young age so we would encourage teachers to include road safety in their lesson plans.”
For further road safety information for parents, teachers and students, visit www.rsa.ie