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NEW SCHEME TARGETS ROAD RISK CHILDREN

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Funding for a pilot network of child pedestrian training schemes in ...
Funding for a pilot network of child pedestrian training schemes in

primary schools in deprived areas was announced today as part of the

government's renewed commitment to road safety improvements.

It comes on the day figures were released showing that the number of

road casualties in Great Britain last year continued to decline,

although there was a slight rise in fatalities.

Road safety minister Lord Whitty said:

'The figures are still too high and reinforce the need for robust and

ongoing government measures to further reduce road casualties,

particularly children. And the poorest children are the most

vulnerable.

'I am pleased the overall trend in road casualty reduction is

continuing. Great Britain has the lowest road fatality rate in

Europe, but there was no improvement in the number of deaths on our

roads last year, and 15 more children were killed on our roads last

year than in 1998. This is a powerful reminder that we must not allow

complacency to creep in.

'These latest statistics increase my determination to ensure that the

government's new road safety strategy and casualty reduction targets

bring about a major improvement in road safety.'

A new national co-ordinator will work with local authorities and

local road safety officers to set up training schemes in selected

schools using trained volunteers. These experts will teach road

safety skills to schoolchildren at a practical, grass-roots level.

Children from poorer neighbourhoods are at a significantly greater

risk from injury than those from more prosperous areas. Our efforts

will therefore be concentrated on them.

This is part of a programme of key government initiatives geared

towards improving the safety of children on our roads. These include

engineering measures, particularly those that result in slower speeds

where children walk, ride and play, measures to encourage better

driver behaviour, plus better enforcement of the law.

However it is vital that children themselves should be given the

skills to behave safely in traffic. The child pedestrian training

schemes will provide invaluable guided practice at the roadside.

Other key government initiatives:

School travel

- first report of the School Travel Advisory Group (STAG) in

January, focussing on giving children greater travel choices and

on improving safety on the journey to and from school.

Recommendations include:

1. provision of better travel facilities at schools

2. better, more affordable and better targeted transport to school

- including a minimum standard for concessionary child bus fares

3. more road safety education for children

4. better training for bus drivers

5. improving enforcement of speed, parking and other traffic

regulations.

- 37 schools involved in pilot schemes which offer free expert

advice in developing tailor-made School Travel Plans.

A larger programme will follow if the pilot schemes prove a

success. School Travel Plans have also been included in Local

Transport Plans and in other initiatives to raise school

standards.

- a new free School Travel Resource Pack, launched in May,

designed to give parents, teachers and school governors all they

need to develop safe, healthy and practical alternatives to the

car. The pack shows how schools can involve pupils and work with

local businesses and the community to make the journey to school

safe and pleasant.

-£30m for local authorities to spend on schemes for child safety

and safe routes to school, plus other improvements such as bus

priority measures.

Road Safety Strategy

- launched by the prime minister in March, and now working towards

an overall 40% reduction target for 2010 for the number of people

killed or seriously injured on the roads, with a tough 50%

reduction target for children.

- local authorities required to plan specific measures to cut

child deaths and injuries as part of their local transport plans.

Total money available for local transport plans to be raised from

£755m in 2000/01 to£1bn in 2001/02.

- creating more 20mph zones around schools and residential areas.

- tougher and more targeted enforcement, including more use of

speed cameras.

- improving training of all drivers, including lorry and bus

drivers, and motorcyclists.

- consulting on the mandatory fitting of seat belts in all new

coaches and minibuses.

- DETR and home office already carrying out major review of road

traffic offences and penalties.

- setting appropriate speed limits for local conditions. Improve

speed limit signs. Encouraging a norm of 30mph in all villages.

- supporting the development of safer car design, including for

pedestrians.

- making road safety education part of the personal, social and

health education curriculum in schools for the first time.

Think

- launched in June, a radical new approach to road safety

campaigning, encouraging us all to use our roads safely, whether

we are driving, walking, cycling or using public transport. The

Think brand will generate a year round road safety banner for all

campaigns, aiming to create a greater public awareness of all road

safety issues.

-£9m a year rolling programme of TV, radio and poster

advertising including bus backs.

Notes

Setting up national child pedestrian training schemes in deprived

areas was a commitment made by the government in the Road Safety

Strategy, launched 1 March 2000.

The pilot project will last for three years. This year it will be

funded from the amount allocated to child road safety and

information, part of the transport fund announced in this year's

Budget.

A new national co-ordinator for the scheme will be appointed.

Great Britain has one of the best road safety records in Europe.

Since the 1980s, road accident deaths have fallen by nearly 40% and

serious injuries by 45%.

Provisional figures for 1999 show there were 5.9 deaths per 100,000

population on Great Britain's roads, the lowest rate in Europe.

The statistics bulletin Road Casualties Great Britain: 1999 -

Main Results is obtainable from The Department of Environment,

Transport and the Regions, TSR5, Zone 2/18, Great Minster House,

76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR.

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