Ministers hit the brakes over child road victims

28th April 2000 at 01:00
ROAD safety schemes such as the Green Cross Code are failing to prevent children being knocked down, especially in disadvantaged communities, researchers from Napier University report.

The Napier study was commissioned by the Scottish Executive after further confirmation that Scotland has one of the highest child pedestrian casualty rates in Europe. Children in the lowest socio-economic group are four times more likely to be killed on the roads than peers in the highest bracket, and ministers wanted to know why.

A combination of factors are involved, the researchers say. "Lack of parental supervision nd access to a car result in journeys to and from school being more hazardous for deprived children than those from affluent areas. Safe access to supervised and or safe play areas is also generally denied to those children living in disadvantaged areas," David White, Robert Raeside and Derek Barker maintain.

The natural boisterousness and aggression of young people may also be to blame.

"Such risk-taking behaviours in combination with the higher exposure rates inevitably result in children from deprived areas being over-represented in traffic casualty statistics," the researchers conclude.

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