Child casualties on Suffolk roads highest since 2012

Suffolk County Council's scrutiny committee will discuss the matter on July 9 Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk County Council's scrutiny committee will discuss the matter on July 9 Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

The number of child casualties on Suffolk’s roads are at the highest levels in five years, new data has revealed.

Mary Evan said the data was a concern Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mary Evan said the data was a concern Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk County Council’s scrutiny committee has published data for the number of children aged up to 15 who died, suffered serious injuries or were a minor casualty on the county’s roads last year.

While no child died as a road casualty in 2017, there were 28 serious casualties – the highest number since 31 were recorded in 2012.

Those with minor injuries were also at the highest level since 2012 with 144 injured.

The report said that it was “too early to identify a clear trend”.

Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs said: “I am concerned to see the increase in the number of children being injured on the county’s roads in 2017.

“This shows that we need to continue to educate children on road safety through a variety of projects in the county.

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“We need to understand the data and try and identify the underlying causes behind this increase.

“We can then look to see if we need to take any particular action to support community awareness of road safety.”

National studies carried out by the RAC Foundation reported there were large geographic and gender differences, with road casualties highest in urban areas and boys more likely to be involved.

Around three quarters of Suffolk’s child casualties were boys, with 45% being pedestrians and 24% being passengers in a vehicle.

The report added: “In 2017, whilst the overall numbers of people being seriously injured is going down in the county, the numbers of children being seriously injured has increased.

“This is an issue that is being monitored by the road safety speed and traffic management team to better understand the reasons behind this trend and whether remedial actions are necessary.

“The team will commission a thorough analysis of collision data for 2017, later this year.

“The analysis will look in depth at the last two years’ data to try and understand whether it is in line with national and regional situation.”

The last study took place in 2014 where the county was considered below the national average.

Junior Road Safety Officers

One of the measures used to help keep children safe on the roads has been the Junior Road Safety Officer scheme.

The scheme sees pupils at enrolled schools promote road safety in their school and community.

Some of their work has included filming dangerous driving outside their school, newsletters in parish magazines, fluorescent jackets and school assemblies.

On Friday, hundreds of youngsters took pride of place in the council chamber at Endeavour House for the annual awards, giving presentations on their work and collecting certificates for their efforts.

Councillor Mary Evans said: “The junior road safety scheme is a fantastic scheme that allows young people the chance to get involved in raising awareness of road safety issues.

“It is great to see these young people playing a part in preventing casualties on the road and reducing accidents in their communities.”