It must have been around 1985 that Cllr Norman Rides from Norton caused outrage at a City Council Highways meeting by saying that middle class motorists driving through the City were causing death and injury to working class kids in the City. There were groans and comments that it was typical of Norman. However Norman may not have been too far off. I have just seen a report of Road Safety Analysis that looks at the accident data involving children. The worst authority out of 480 local councils in Britain is Preston where 1 child in 206 is a road casualty. Other northern towns such as Liverpool are high in the list. Stoke on Trent comes in at 32 in the list with1 in 310 children. The authority that has the best record is Kensington and Chelsea with a rate of 1 in 1,158.
In other words a child in Stoke on Trent is between 3 or 4 times more likely to be injured than a child in the West London borough.
Cuts announced by the coalition government to the Road Safety budget ““ amounting to £38 billion ““ will only worsen the situation and increase the danger on roads and highways in Britain’s poorest neighbourhoods. Added to this, the government has also ceased central funding for speed cameras, with the result that councils up and down the country are being forced to massively scale back or even scrap their speed enforcement measures.
I have always championed the cause of safer routes around schools and the use of calming measures around schools. When I was a County Councillor in Leek I supported the cause of a series of measures that the County Council at the time put into place.
I always felt that speed cameras were an integral part of the strategy and I can recall the marked downward trend on accident rates along the A53 in Endon following the introduction of cameras in the 1990s.
There are 6,000 speed cameras in the UK. The financial sustainability of the system is under threat. The road safety budget of 2010/1 is being cut by a 40 per cent. This is made up of a 27 per cent cut to the revenue grant (with £20.6m being taken off a promised £76.7 million) the capital grant is to be decimated loosing 100% £17.2m of its funding. Both grants fund the maintenance and improvement of the speed camera’s network.
Other findings from the from the report show that:
Ã¯â€š· The national average is for one child (aged 0-15 years) in every 427 to be injured in a road traffic crash each year.
Ã¯â€š· The children most at risk are those from “families on lower incomes who often live in large council estates where there is little owner-occupation” and are found in most regions in the UK, with the exception of the South East and London. Experian’s Mosaic analysis suggests that they are not inner-city communities, but are more commonly found in the outer suburbs of large provincial cities as some of the most deprived communities in United Kingdom and represent 6.52 per cent of the total population
Ã¯â€š· Road safety risk is at its highest on a Friday, the next highest day is Saturday. Sunday is the day that the fewest number of casualties are recorded
Ã¯â€š· May is when the highest number of recorded child casualties are reported while the winter months show child casualties decreasing by approximately 25 per cent. Child pedestrian casualties are actually at their lowest in August, potentially due to there being fewer children in the country
Ã¯â€š· Overall, children are less likely to be injured on the roads than adults
Dan Campsall, the director of Road Safety Analysis concluded, “The results of this study show a worrying discrepancy between different parts of the country. Children in some areas experience considerably higher risk from road traffic crashes than others who might be living just over the border. There is still further study to be undertaken and we are keen to make sure all of the data and analysis techniques that underpin this study can be accessed by local authorities to allow them to investigate how they might ensure the safety of children from their communities.”