RoSPA has called for more training for children and the elderly

An increase in road deaths among older motorists and child pedestrians is a serious concern, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that the number of people aged 60 and over killed in reported road accidents has increased by 5% from 559 (2017) to 588 (2018), with a rise in the number of drivers and riders of motorcycles over 50cc being killed accounting for this. The number of child pedestrians killed rose from 22 in 2017 to 28 in 2018.

By miles travelled, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists – defined by the DfT as vulnerable road users – suffer the highest proportion of casualties.

Overall, the new figures point to a lack of significant progress towards reducing road deaths. In 2018, 1,784 people were killed on Great Britain’s roads compared to 1,793 in 2017 – this represents a reduction of just 1%.

Commenting on the latest statistics, Nick Lloyd, Acting Head of Road Safety at RoSPA, said: “It is disappointing to see there has been little to no improvement in the number of fatalities on our roads. In light of this, we continue to urge the government to implement road safety targets to help prevent tragedies in the coming years.

“It is particularly concerning to see an increase in the number of older drivers and riders being killed and also a rise in the number of older road users being killed or seriously injured – which was up by 9%. We would recommend that mature motorists seek refresher training if they are noticing any changes in their driving or riding; in fact, we recommend that all drivers and riders take regular refresher training to keep their skills up to date.”

Nick added: “Last year, RoSPA called for greater emphasis to be placed on pedestrian training for children. This remains a priority for us, as the number of child pedestrians killed in road accidents.

“It is important that everyone plays their part in helping reduce accidents on the road. In particular, drivers should exercise caution by reducing their speed when passing through built-up areas where vulnerable road users are likely to be about, allowing older people and children more time to cross the road and giving cyclists and motorcyclists plenty of space when overtaking.”

The DfT report also revealed that the number of motorcyclists killed on Great Britain’s roads rose from 349 in 2017 to 354 in 2018. RoSPA offers advanced driver and rider training which aims to reduce road accidents by encouraging an interest in road safety and by improving driving and riding standards, knowledge and skill.

RoSPA offers support through its RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR) programme. The organisation has a network of over 50 local groups that offer training to their members.

For young children, RoSPA advises teaching them to hold hands with an adult and to find safe areas to cross the road. Older children should progress to learning road signs and the Green Cross Code – Stop, Look, Listen and Think.

For older drivers, taking regular eye tests and, for people with poor low-light vision, avoiding driving at night are important to ensure road safety. Avoiding long journeys or driving in the early morning and mid-afternoon are best for those who suffer from tiredness.

For more information: www.rospa.com