Shropshire Star

MP calls for better road danger education as figures show scores of young people killed on UK roads

A Shropshire MP is urging ministers to update health education in schools to help young people understand the dangers of the road, including drink and drug driving.

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard pointed to national figures that show 211 children and young people were killed in vehicle collisions in the UK in the period 2019 to 2022.

According to the latest government statistics, in 2021 there were 350 car drivers or passengers aged 16-24 killed or seriously injured in drink drive vehicle collisions.

Mr Pritchard says he is pleased with the response he has had from ministers.

"Vehicle collisions are one the biggest causes of death and serious injury among young people," he said.

"It is right that schools are required to educate their pupils about the dangers of driving under the influence of drink or drugs, and that they can teach road safety as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic lessons.

"I am pleased that education ministers are planning to update health education guidance, and that they will consider suggestions to add material about road safety to the syllabus. I encourage interested parties to respond to the public consultation when it opens."

Rob Halfon, minister of state at the Department for Education, responding to a question from Mr Pritchard, confirmed that health education is now compulsory in state schools and that the health education syllabus includes content on the risks of taking illegal drugs and driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

He also confirmed that road safety is currently a part of the Personal, Social, Health and Economic curriculum, but this is not currently compulsory to teach in schools.

The department will be launching a public consultation by the end of this year on draft revised guidance, so that interested parties can contribute their comments and ideas, including the impact of drink driving and drug taking on driving and road safety generally. The department intends to publish final guidance in 2024.