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
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
'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:
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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
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
- 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
- making road safety education part of the personal, social and
health education curriculum in schools for the first time.
- 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
-£9m a year rolling programme of TV, radio and poster
advertising including bus backs.
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
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.