Three in four crashes involving children on Kent’s roads are because of youngsters not looking properly before they cross.
Child pedestrians are consistently shown to be at their most vulnerable between the ages of 11 and 16 as this is often when, with increasing independence, they begin their first solo pedestrian journeys on potentially unfamiliar routes.
As a result, Kent County Council’s road safety team has launched a new campaign to address the issues with this age group.
KCC road safety team leader Vicky Harvey said: “These are simple messages – for instance ensuring you look right first – but it’s clear that young pedestrians aren’t properly considering the dangers when crossing the road.
“Modern technology is also causing distractions as well as general mucking about near roads and this campaign is a reminder of some of the simple strategies children can use to cross the road more safely.
“We want to get this message across as many children will be making their first trips to secondary school in September without their parents or guardians and new schools might mean longer journeys.
“To help us engage we’ll be visiting retail centres across Kent over the summer holidays with videos and quizzes to help educate children in the importance of pedestrian safety.”
The campaign, which includes adverts on buses, goes back to the 8-bit era of computer games and utilises pixel art to get the message across.
It also harkens back to a time before children had mobile phones – a recent survey found 64% of children used their phones on or near roads.
Visitors will be able to pick up a branded top-trump style game and keyring, further reinforcing the pedestrian safety messages.
Collision data shows most incidents take place at the start and end of the school day and boys are slightly higher in the statistics.
- look right first – look left, then look right again before crossing – that’s where the first car to hit you would come from
- don’t mess about with friends near the road – concentrate for those few vital seconds to make sure it’s the right time to cross
- find a safer place to cross – could be a crossing or just away from parked cars
- remove distractions such as earphones – have your mind on the road and what’s important to cross safely
- do not use a mobile device while crossing the road – concentrating on a conversation or a song means you are not concentrating on what can do you most harm