RAC Cars News


IAM Warning On Distracted Children

By raccars Published

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The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), is advising drivers of an increased danger from children travelling to and from school being distracted by smartphones. The youngsters apparently may not be paying enough attention to traffic while absorbed in the world of social media or texting on their mobile devices.

The IAM has cautioned that under 16s on the way home from school present the biggest danger, being distracted by listening to music, browsing their smartphones or playing with friends. Research by the Department for Transport saw more than 60% of youngsters within the 11-16 age group admit that talking to friends distracts them while crossing the road. About the same number of youngsters had found themselves having to pull a friend back or call out their name, to prevent an accident occurring. Thirty six per cent of girls polled said their mobile phones were a distraction while using the roads, compared to 25% of boys.

'Stepping Out', a government report on transport safety, analysed data showing that more children are injured on the roads in spring and summer - except in August. There are more pedestrian child injuries in the mornings and afternoons at the times that schools start and finish, with 12 year olds the most at risk age group.

There are two peak casualty periods among child pedestrians. Fifteen per cent occur between 7and 9am, but this goes up to 23% in the afternoon, between 3 and 5pm. Research suggests that children are more frequently driven to school in the mornings but return home on foot, accounting for the higher casualty figures. This means drivers need to be more aware and particularly cautious around young pedestrians at these times.

The IAM cautioned that the risks are even greater in remote or rural areas, as data analysis shows that seven in 10 young pedestrian casualties take place on roads without pedestrian crossings in the vicinity. The charity has issued advice to drivers about how to maintain road safety around the time that schools exit, suggesting that drivers leave more time to complete their journeys during this period of the day, rather than rushing. Extra attention must be paid in the areas around schools to compensate for the fact that children may not be paying attention. Maintain the standard 20mph speed limit that is in effect around schools and beware of children emerging from the spaces between parked cars and crossing roads.

Furthermore, parents are being reminded of the importance of educating their children on road safety and encouraging them to use pedestrian crossings.

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