Child road deaths toll worrying

First published in Our View by

New figures showing that Bradford has the highest number of children killed or seriously injured on roads in West Yorkshire are extremely worrying.

The Department of Transport statistics show the district recorded 47 child casualties – a much higher figure than Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees or Calderdale. And serious work now needs to be done to look at exactly why the figures in our area were so much higher.

It may just be an anomaly for this year, but careful research is needed to see if there are any underlying trends that have led to this.

The figures are part of a national picture which shows that the number of deaths and serious injuries on the road rose from 2010 to 2011.

That in itself is extremely worrying, and the argument put forward by Institute of Advanced Motorists that cuts to local authority budgets on road safety spending has played a part should not be dismissed completely.

But there is also an argument that drivers themselves should take more responsibility, and a more careful and restrained attitude to motoring by all might impact considerably on these figures.

Anyone who drives regularly in Bradford will be aware that there are far too many aggressive drivers on the roads – and it is likely that almost all of us would accept that we could sometimes take a calmer approach to driving.

It is also vital to ensure children are made aware of the lethal potential of crossing the road as early as possible.

We must do anything possible to reduce these shocking casualty figures very quickly. As safety campaigner Carole Whittingham says in today’s report, it is children’s lives we are dealing with, and nothing is more precious than that.

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