Crash involving child occurs almost every 10 days in Ipswich

Emergency services attend the scene of a crash. Library image.

Emergency services attend the scene of a crash. Library image. - Credit: � ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

Children are involved in road accidents almost every 10 days in Ipswich, worrying new figures show.

Parents were last night warned to take extra measures to ensure youngsters are fully aware of the dangers on the roads to minimize the risk of being involved in car crashes ahead of the school return next week.

The figures, compiled by the Suffolk Observatory, revealed there were 32 road accidents involving a child in Ipswich in 2014. It was a rise from 23 in 2010 but a fall from a peak of 54 in 2011.

Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, described the figures as “concerning”.

He said “Parents worry enormously about their children being involved in road accidents and understandably so. Most fatalities involving children occur when they are pedestrians, so there is that issue of them being very, very vulnerable.

“Road accidents involving children is a stubborn problem and we have to continue to make strides to prevent them, whether it is through education, road engineering or driver behaviour.

“But we have to make sure that children have got the right attitudes to road hazards from a very early age, so they can develop the right attitudes to protect themselves, and so when they get behind the wheel themselves they will have the right attitudes as well.”

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Tim Passmore, police and crime commissioner for Suffolk, said drivers must “expect the unexpected” when they see young pedestrians and cyclists.

He said: “The figures are a timely reminder, as the children prepare to go back to school and the evenings get darker, to make sure they are aware of the dangers and wear something bright so they can be seen easily as they travel.

“As a child I had road safety drummed into me by my parents, teachers and through television campaigns such as the Green Cross Code and the Tufty club, so we need to make sure road safety continues to be kept at the forefront of a child’s development.”

He added he will discuss the issue with James Finch, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member responsible for road safety, early next month.

Nationally, calls have previously been made for a one-year minimum learning period for drivers as well as a limit to the number of passengers allowed in a car with new young drivers for six months after passing their driving test to help drive down the number of all road accidents.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but behind every statistic is a personal tragedy, so we are determined to do more.

“Thanks to new laws, police now have tougher powers to tackle drink and drug driving and there are increased penalties for speeding and for using a mobile phone at the wheel.

“We plan to spend £28 billion on improving the conditions of Britain’s roads over the next six years, as well as investing in technology to make cars safer.

“We are also working closely with road safety groups as we consider what more can be done.”