Pressure has increased on Lancashire’s road safety after the county recorded the most child casualties in the UK from 2011 to 2015, with Burnley’s figures amongst the worst.
Despite national averages for children being killed or severely injured (KSIs) on roads, figures for Lancashire are on the rise, with 363 child (aged 0-15) casualties recorded between 2011 and 2015.
The total year-on-year has peaked at 87 casualties in 2011/12, while over the last 12 months (up until June 2016) 79 children have been involved in KSIs in Lancashire, with over 50% of cases involving 11-15-year-olds.
Dr. Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire, said: “The number of people who are killed or injured on our roads has fallen considerably over the last decade, but the number of incidents involving children remains higher in Lancashire than many other areas.
“Some districts in Lancashire have among the highest rates of child casualties in the UK,” Dr. Karunanithi continued. “There are common features - we need to look at new ways to encourage everyone to take more care on the roads, and particularly influence children to stay safe.”
After Preston (36 KSIs), Burnley was the second-worst area for child casualties from 2011-16 with 33 incidents, and Pendle was third-worst with 32. Pendle has the most KSIs involving 0-4-year-olds (13), and Burnley has the most involving 5-10-year-olds (19).
Most cases involve children suddenly running, stepping, or cycling into the road, often on streets with impaired visibility due to parked cars, with other crucial causes including pedestrian crossings, parents losing control of younger children, groups of children, and distractions.
“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility,” Dr. Karunanithi added. “We need to help prevent deaths and injuries on our roads by staying alert and driving carefully.”