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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Warning about rural roads' risk
Accident scene
Children need to be warned about the danger of rural roads
More needs to be done to make children in rural areas aware of the risk of road accidents, campaigners say.

Official figures show children involved in accidents are more likely to die in the country if they are pedestrians, cyclists or car passengers.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents blamed the speeds at which people drive in the country and the nature of the roads.

The charity has produced a schools pack to help reinforce safety measures.

Rospa road safety project manager Linda Morrison Allsopp said campaigns in the past had tended to target urban areas, but children in rural settings also needed advice.

"Drivers forget that children live and play in rural areas.

One in four child pedestrians in road accidents die or are seriously injured, compared to one in five urban pedestrians in 2003.
While 17% of 2003 child cyclist injuries were on rural roads, they accounted for nearly half of deaths.
Of the 5,500 child car passengers hurt in 2003, 51 died, whereas on urban roads 18 died out of 6,700 injuries.

"Much higher speeds and bends and hills on many country roads reduce the distance that drivers can see ahead. This gives them less time to react and results in more severe impacts."

And she added: "Although the higher speeds on rural roads increase the chance that a crash will be fatal, there is evidence that many country children are less likely to wear a seatbelt for every journey than those from towns."

Government statistics for 2003 showed that while about three times as many children were hurt in urban accidents as in rural ones, children in those accidents were more likely to die in the country.


A quarter of child pedestrians in accidents were killed or seriously injured, compared to less than a fifth of those in urban settings.

And while 17% of child cyclist injuries were on rural roads, they accounted for 44% of the deaths.

Of the 5,500 child car passengers hurt in 2003, 51 died, whereas on urban roads 18 died out of 6,700 injuries.

The schools pack, which has been funded by the Department for Transport, has been sent to teachers across the country and includes advice on where on the roads children should walk, what sort of cycle training they should get and warnings about car travel.

It is designed so the advice can be incorporated in a range of lessons.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said the government's 200 road safety officers already tailored their advice depending on whether they were addressing children in urban or rural settings.

But she agreed more needed to be done to make sure the message reached rural areas.

"I think there is strong evidence to suggest that death rates are higher in the country and we need to pay attention to that.

"We are producing posters and redesigning our website so they are relevant to people in rural areas."

Watch a road safety campaigner explain the problem

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