(PRWEB UK) 3 September 2014
Leading road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has issued a warning to drivers to stay on their guard on their daily commute, as distracted youngsters make their way home from school at the start of the autumn term.
Many schools in England return from the summer break this week, and as is the case each year the risk of an accident becomes significantly greater as the school run brings with it a 20 per cent growth in rush hour traffic.
While much has been said about watching out for youngsters on their way to school, the IAM has warned that a greater risk comes on the way home from school – where under 16’s are more likely to be distracted by playing with their friends, listening to music or interacting on social media on their phones.
Existing research from the Department for Transport’s THINK! initiative showed that 62% of 11-16 year olds admit to being distracted by talking to friends as they cross the road, a similar number had to stop a friend from having an accident by either pulling them back or calling out, and 36% of girls and 25% of boys say they get distracted by using their mobile phones.
Neil Greig, IAM Director of Policy and Research said: “Technology has moved on at such a pace, it is clear that youngsters are being distracted by the myriad of portable entertainment devices available to them."
An existing report commissioned by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) and supported by the IAM called Stepping Out looked at trends in pedestrian safety. It found children are more likely to be injured in spring and summer (excluding August) and more likely to be injured as pedestrians on weekdays at morning and afternoon school times. It also found the age at which pedestrians are most at risk is 12 years old.
The research showed while there were naturally peaks in casualties between 7 and 9am (15% of child pedestrian casualties being in this two hour period), there was an even greater peak between 3 and 5pm (nearly 23% during these times) suggesting that while children may be driven to school, they make their own way home in the afternoon – making this a more crucial time for drivers to be aware of young pedestrians.
The IAM also urged drivers to be more vigilant in rural or remote areas, as the findings showed 70% of child casualties were injured on sections of road not at or near a pedestrian crossing.
The charity also offered a series of tips towards ensuring everyone remains safe during rush hour as the schools return.
Neil added: “It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure we don’t create another young casualty. A bit of forward thinking and increased awareness will make our roads safer for everyone.”
Notes to editors:
1. Follow us on Twitter @IAMgroup.
2. The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving, motorcycling and cycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 100,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving, motorcycling and cycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.
IAM Press Office – 020 8996 9777
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