Findings from a survey recently carried out by AXA Insurance in relation to a Road Safe School campaign show that 86% of parents in the UK wish that they had more information regarding an individual school's road safety record to enable them to make an informed decision on which school to send their children to. More than half of the parents surveyed said that having this information would influence their decision on choice of school. Four fifths of the parents surveyed felt that it was the responsibly of the school or their local authority to provide this information.
With many children making their way to and from school on their own, it is essential for parents to have details of whether their school provides facilities such as "walking buses", where children are supervised by staff to and from the building to a designated drop off point, whether they have approached their local council for a reduction in the speed limit in the vicinity of the school and if they have road crossings nearby.
Statistics show that by the age of 12 years old, almost 75% of children have a mobile phone and that an 11 year old is 6 times more likely to text on the way to school than a 10 year old, presumably because of the leap from primary to secondary school. Given the ever increasing distractions for children, it is perhaps surprising to learn that the budget for child road safety education has dramatically fallen from £3.78 million in the year 2009/2010 to just £78,000 in the 2012/2013 financial period.
Whilst overall road deaths have fallen in the last few years, annually there are still over 2,500 deaths and injuries involving children. Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake commented "The safety of children on roads should be a top priority - and there's much more that can be done to prevent child casualties and enable kids to walk and cycle safely around where they live and to get to school."
The good news is that in autumn this year, Brake, Road Safety GB, Road Safety Analysis, Roadsafe, The Good Schools Guide and Colas have joined forces with AXA to develop the first comprehensive schools road safety tool. They aim to analyse all 30,000 local school areas across the country, gathering data to establish a "safety factor" for each school location.
Hopefully in the imminent future, this information will enable parents to make informed choices about schools, based not just on their standard on education but also on how safe their child will be when travelling to school.
By personal injury executive and Stephensons’ Associate, Pauline Smith