AA In New Schools Roads Warning

Concerns Raised Over 11-Year Olds Crossing Unfamiliar Roads

04.09.2014

For many children this month has seen a significant change in their life as they move from primary to secondary school, but the AA has warned that for some this will increase the risk of being involved in accidents on the road.

The motoring organisation has noted that 11-year -olds are a high risk group as they will be using or crossing unfamiliar roads in their first few months at a new school.

Official figures from 2012 showed that 71 per cent more 11-year-olds were killed or seriously injured in road accidents than ten-year-olds, up from a 60 per cent difference in 2011 and 63 per cent variance in 2010.

One specific reason to suggest the trend is linked to a change of school is that the highest number of injuries suffered by children in road accidents by month was in September, with 1,699 incidents. Cycling was a notable factor with 305 riders being hurt in September, with the next highest total being 242 in May.

Commenting on the figures, AA president Edmund King said: "A combination of being unfamiliar with their route, plus the pressures of starting a new school and a desire for greater independence as they head towards their teenage years, can make children even more vulnerable as cyclists and pedestrians at this time of year."

He added that drivers need to be "extra vigilant" at this time as the rush hour will have brought a sudden increase in the number of children using the roads during the morning and evening rush hour periods.

The dangers may be exacerbated by a rise in the number of new schools being opened, which means areas where motorists could previously drive in the rush hour without encountering large numbers of youngsters walking or riding to school are now potential accident hot-spots.

According to Department of Education figures, over 400 new free schools and technical colleges have opened in England alone since 2010, creating over 200,000 pupil places.

Expert Opinion
The safety of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, should always be a top priority and it is important drivers remain vigilant during morning and evening rush-hour periods when they share the roads with young people on their way to and from school. All too often we see the devastating consequences a split second lack of concentration can have when using the roads, with the potential for serious injuries or even fatalities.

“It is vital all road users, from young children to experienced drivers, are made aware of the importance of vigilance and potential hazards on the UK’s roads, particularly at the moment, as children may be walking to school independently for the first time and as the nights draw in and visibility can be reduced.”
Stephen Nye, Partner