Hampshire County Council is launching a new campaign aimed at preventing young people being involved in a road or public transport accident on their way to or from school.
Pupils from The Arnewood School in New Milton with Councillor Mel Kendal (left) and Headteacher, Christopher Hummerstone.
773 casualties aged 11 to 16 years old
The success of the “20 is Plenty” campaign outside primary schools led to monitoring of statistics which indicated that there is a further problem with secondary school aged children having road accidents which, in about 75% of cases, was due to their own inattention to surrounding traffic on their way to or from school. In the five year period between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2011, excluding those children injured while a passenger in a car, there was a total of 773 casualties aged 11 to 16 involving pedestrians or pedal cyclists (three fatal, 154 seriously injured and 616 slight casualties).
‘StreetSense’ being launched throughout Hampshire
‘StreetSense’ is a new campaign being launched throughout Hampshire aimed at children, teachers, parents and drivers, to make them more aware of the vulnerability of children near traffic, and to teach children to concentrate more on good road safety habits such as not using mobile phones or earphones to listen to music when walking or cycling in traffic zones.
It has also been recognised that young people can also be vulnerable by not taking care around public transport, so after the success of the CRP’s £20,000 ‘TravelSafe’ with Brockenhurst College delivering their film, promoting safety in and around public transport, the Chair of Lymington-Brockenhurst CRP Councillor Mel Kendal asked Bobby Lock, Rail Development Officer for the partnership to be involved in the ‘StreetSense’ steering group which he also chairs. One of the first things Bobby did was to secure external funding to include posters highlighting dangers around both bus and trains and is now working closely with the team to include bus and rail and encourage our transport partners to support and promote ‘StreetSense’.
In the first year of the campaign, the County Council plans to work with 18 priority secondary schools across the county and it is the first time that the Council has specifically focused a road safety campaign on this particular age group.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, explained:
“We are proud of our record in road safety and have done a lot of work over the years with primary schools, young children, older teenagers and adults.
“We recognise however, the need to include 11 to 16 year olds in the work we do to reduce the number of people who are injured or killed on the road. We believe that by heightening their awareness of potential dangers at this age, as well as what can be done to reduce the risk of an accident, these lessons will remain in their consciousness, staying with them as they become young motorists and helping them to be safer drivers and riders.
“The majority of 11 to 16 year olds are travelling to school or college independently. On the whole they are bright and sensible but my concern is that there is the potential risk of an accident caused by a momentary loss of concentration or if they are distracted, for example, by talking on their mobile phone or listening to music through headphones.”
Alongside the StreetSense awareness campaign, investment will be made in engineering works, such as improving skid resistance on the road, where this will be of benefit. Advisory 20 mph limits are being introduced outside six schools across the county. These will operate at the start and end of the school day, and motorists will be alerted to them by the use of flashing amber lights and traffic signs. The aim is to make drivers more aware that students will be crossing the road ahead and to encourage them to proceed more cautiously. A budget of £300,000 has been allocated for the campaign.
For more photographs showing the launch of the project, please go to the gallery.