Focus on Road Safety needed as child deaths double

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire TD and teacher, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has today (Wednesday) urged parents preparing to send children back to school to think about road safety, in light of the news that road deaths among children have doubled this year.
“Twice as many children have died on the roads in the first eight months of the year as were lost in the whole of 2013. This means that road safety must become a priority when it comes to preparing children to go back to school.
“When you think about getting ready to go back to school, lunch boxes, new schools bags and covering books are usually the first things that spring to mind, but it is important that talking about road safety is included in this routine.
“Figures from the Road Safety Authority have revealed that thirteen children under the age of fourteen have died in the first eight months of the year on Irish roads. In the fifteen year period between 1997 and 2012 there was an 89% drop in number of children killed on our roads. Today’s figures indicate that this trend is reversing and action is needed immediately.
“Many children are walking to school and if they are not, they are being dropped off in areas where many cars are coming and going. We need to make sure that children are educated in how to be safe when they are dealing with traffic; this is especially relevant for children in cities and busy areas.
“It is also important that we adults take the simple steps to make sure our children are safe; ensure they are wearing high visibility gear and that they are wearing a seatbelt if in the car. One in three of the child passengers killed so far this year was not wearing a seatbelt or a child restraint; I find that an extremely worrying statistic.
“Attitudes to road safety are formed at a young age so it is important that we start as we mean to go on in helping our young people to stay safe on the roads.”

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