Warning over road safety as children return to school

Statistics show child deaths on the roads have more than doubled in 2014

The Road Safety Authority has urged parents, guardians and teachers to make sure children are "streetwise" about road safety as they return to school after the summer break.

The warning comes as new figures show the number of children killed on Ireland’s roads has more than doubled this year. Thirteen children – aged under 14 years – have died in road collisions. Last year, six children lost their lives on the roads.

Six of the children who died this year were pedestrians, six were car passengers and one was a quad bike user.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said the surge was "incredibly worrying" after years of decreases in child road deaths.

“Attitudes to road safety are formed at a young age and we would urge parents and teachers to continue to prioritise teaching our youngest and most vulnerable road-users how to stay safe on the roads,” he said.

High visibility

The Road Safety Authority is handing out 85,500 high-visibility vests to children starting school this year. Moyagh Murdock, RSA chief executive, said parents and guardians need to make sure road safety is a top priority on their child’s back-to-school checklist.

“Children are the most vulnerable of our road-users so it is really important that they are streetwise about road safety.”

Despite the rise in child deaths this year, there has been an overall 89 per cent drop in the number of children killed on Irish roads between 1997 and 2012.

One in three was not wearing a seatbelt or a child restraint. Some 44 per cent were pedestrians and 42 per cent were travelling in a car at the time.

Boys are more likely than girls to be killed on the roads.