Child pedestrians from deprived areas are four times more likely to be killed or injured on the roads than those from wealthier districts, according to a report published today.
MPs on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said the Department for Transport (DfT) should give priority to promoting road safety schemes in areas of the country that have the highest number of child pedestrian casualties.
The report said police data used to measure the DfT’s road safety targets has ‘consistently understated’ the annual casualty figure.
Committee chairman Edward Leigh said: ‘Some 230,000 casualties were reported to the police in 2008 against an estimated true figure of around 800,000.
‘The death rate of child pedestrians in Britain is worse than that in many other countries. In recent years we have been behind such countries as France, the Netherlands, Japan, Austria, Australia and Belgium in terms of the number of child pedestrians killed as a proportion of the population.’
He added that, while the DfT’s commitment to improving performance is welcomed, the department’s approach to child deaths must be one of ‘zero tolerance’.
The report, entitled Improving Road Safety for Pedestrians and Cyclists in Great Britain, also called for schemes to reduce speed, including the use of speed cameras, 20mph zones and road humps.
Earlier this year transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick said more 20mph zones could be introduced in residential areas as part of a new, 10-year road safety strategy.
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