Plea for road safety lessons as almost 50 children hit by cars in Shropshire

Almost 50 children across Shropshire have been hit by vehicles during a four-year period, analysis of the latest official figures reveals.

Analysis of Department for Transport figures by insurance company Churchill reveals that in the Shropshire Council area during that period, 26 children were hit by a vehicle.

Among the five children seriously injured after being knocked down during that period was one youngster who lost their life.

In Telford and Wrekin, 22 children were hit by a vehicle, leaving five of them seriously injured.

In Shropshire, primary school aged pupils made up 11 per cent of all 246 adult and child pedestrian casualties recorded by the DfT in 2017-20, while in Telford and Wrekin they made up 19 per cent of all 117 adult and child pedestrian casualties.

The figures show that across the county a dozen children were hit during school 'rush hours', either between 7.30am and 8.30am or between 3.30pm and 4.30pm.

According to the analysis of more than 600,000 accidents by Churchill, 10,100 primary age children have been hit by vehicles in the UK since 2017 – around seven a day.

More than 2,900 accidents have happened during school pick-up and drop-off times.

Kirsty Hoad, from Churchill, said the figures highlighted the importance of teaching road safety to children as early as possible.

She added: "With more than half of primary school children walking or cycling to school, this is one obvious area where children will need to know how to stay safe.

"We encourage everyone to take an active role in educating young children in their lives about road safety."

She advised motorists to take extra care near schools and said speed restrictions were in place to protect children and should be observed at all times.

Rod Dennis from the RAC called for more 20mph zones to be introduced around schools, saying physical traffic calming measures also played a part in making streets safer.

Mr Dennis added: "There is also a clear onus on drivers who use the car to drop off or pick up their children to think about their driving."

He said parents could send a positive message to others by walking and cycling to school or parking away from the school gates.

Nearly a quarter of the incidents recorded nationally resulted in severe injuries, with 36 youngsters killed between 2017 and 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic saw traffic levels fall across the country in 2020, with road traffic accidents dropping as a result – those involving child casualties decreased from around 2,600 in 2019 to 1,750 last year.

A Department for Transport spokesman said any death on the road is "completely unacceptable" and said the Government is focusing on improving safety via its new Road Safety Strategic Framework.

He added: “We have already invested billions of pounds in safe active travel schemes and cleaner transport infrastructure.

"We’ve also recently announced changes to the Highway Code, meaning those who present the most risk to other road users are given the greatest responsibility in creating a safer travel environment for all.”

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