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School children learn to stay safe on roads in winter

Posted on Thursday 17 November 2016
St Mary's RSGB NE 2

Pupils from St Mary’s Primary School in Whickham, Gateshead, put road safety into practice with Angela Burnett, Gateshead Council’s Road Safety Officer, (left) and school Supervisory Assistant Angela Potts (right).

As the nights get darker earlier boys and girls at a Gateshead primary school are learning how to keep safe on the roads.

Pedestrians are mostly likely to be involved in a road collision in the weeks leading up to Christmas – with children accounting for a third of casualties every year.

Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE) is appealing for all road-users to slow down and to look out for each other during the coming weeks.

Pupils at St Mary’s Primary School in Whickham, Gateshead, are working with the local road safety team each year by taking part in the Child Pedestrian Training Scheme. The North East’s 12 local authority road safety officers work with the region’s schools throughout the year to advise children how to stay safe on the roads.

Drivers are urged to cut their speed around schools, playgrounds, shopping centres and pubs, and people on foot are being reminded to use pedestrian crossings wherever possible, not to take chances, and to wear bright clothes in order to be seen.

St. Mary’s Headteacher, Joseph Wheatley, said: “Educating children about staying safe on the roads is paramount, particularly as we approach Christmas and the nights get progressively darker. Young people are excited and are tempted to just run out without looking, so both pedestrians and drivers need to be reminded of the importance of taking their time and looking out for each other on the roads.

“Any support RSGB NE can give us in getting the message across to children, and programmes such as the Child Pedestrian Training Scheme, are always much appreciated. They could ultimately save a life.”

Almost a third of pedestrian accidents happen between October and December, with 7am to 9am and 3pm to 6pm the most prevalent times of day.

Children account for a high percentage of the casualties, with boys aged between 11 and 12 the most likely age group to be injured. However, almost a quarter of adult pedestrian casualties are found to have been impaired by alcohol – with this figure rising sharply in collisions that occur between 10pm and 6am.

The Child Pedestrian Training Scheme runs throughout Tyne and Wear and South Northumberland, and is funded through the Department for Transport’s School Go Smarter programme.

Chairman of RSGB NE Paul Watson said: “Now is the time when we see a spike in pedestrian casualties on our roads, so we want everyone to slow down and to take a few extra seconds to look out for each other.

“In the five years between 2011 and 2015, 88 pedestrians were killed on the region’s roads, and more than a thousand were left seriously injured. We know casualty figures for pedestrians are steadily coming down, but we would like to see them reduce even further.”

He said failure to look properly, by either the pedestrian or driver, was the main cause of collisions involving people on foot, and where children are run over, 77% of accidents were down to the child simply not looking.
Most pedestrian casualties (86%) happened on 30mph urban roads and almost half of those were on unclassified or estate roads.

Between 2011 and 2015, the highest numbers of pedestrian casualties were seen in County Durham and Newcastle.

Local Authority Fatal Serious Slight Total 
County Durham  25 196 579 800 
Gateshead 9 97  277  383 
Hartlepool 40  94  136 
Middleborough 75  221  299 
Newcastle upon Tyne 6   180  652  838 
North Tyneside 78  251  337 
Northumberland 14  100  344  458 
Redcar and Cleveland 41  128  173 
South Tyneside 49  198  248 
Stockton-on-Tees 7 75  191  273 
Sunderland  117  400  523 
Total 88  1096  3475  4659 

For more information about Road Safety GB North East and the campaign, visit