Figures show school-run risk to children


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Sidmouth’s children are at the most risk of being hit by a car while leaving school - but campaigners and county highways chiefs are divided on the best way to keep youngsters safe.

Figures show that, in 2013, there were 21 accidents in Sidmouth - and in five of those hurt were children.

Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) says the answer is for parents to make simple changes to routines.

Devon County Council (DCC) says the solution is to encourage better driving.

However, both agree that most road accidents happen between 3pm and 3.30pm, in the after-school rush.

Katrina Phillips, CAPT chief executive, said: “These can be devastating injuries. A child can suffer brain damage, if hit by a car. Simple changes can protect children from serious harm.”

Jeremy Phillips, DCC’s road casualty education manager, said older children were at the greatest risk, adding: “The risk of a road traffic collision increases with age for young people. So, of those injured on the journey home, many would be of secondary school age, travelling independently from their parents. In Devon, the common factor is the presence of a motor vehicle.

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“So our greatest chance of reducing casualty numbers for children and all other road users is to improve the performance of those drivers.”

He said that 38 per cent of children injured were passengers, while cars were involved in 84 per cent of all injury collisions.

And 91 per cent of those incidents resulted in the most serious injuries.

Mr Phillips added: “We call on all motorists to be vigilant, moderate their speed and give young people space at any time, but most especially during the mid-to-late-afternoon period.

“The journey home from school can take longer, may be a mix of ‘commuting’ and recreation, and motorists need to moderate their driving to account for the presence of young people when travelling at this time.”

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