Ordinary people are at last waking up to the horrendous devastation caused by bad drivers.

Although the police and courts are failing to curb danger drivers, more and more people are calling for action.

Nearly half of residents in communities across the UK now believe the road where they live is dangerous for children and 40% are more concerned about their child being involved in a road crash than being abducted or a victim of crime.

The opinions come from a survey released on 7 April 2004, the same day as the World Health Day. The theme of this year’s event is global road safety.

According to the World Health Organisation, road crashes kill more children under 14 than anything else in the developed world. By 2020 road crashes will be the third biggest killer worldwide.

The survey was organised by Brake, the road safety charity, and the information website Upmystreet.com
On World Health Day, Brake will be writing to Road Safety Minister David Jamieson to call for the implementation of 20mph speed limits in residential areas throughout Britain.

This would help stop speeding drivers causing death and injury to children and other road users. 20mph zones have been advocated by the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Government’s Health Development Agency.

The Government has set a target to reduce the number of children killed and seriously injured by 50% by 2010. But despite this, drivers continue to drive too fast and put children’s lives at risk.

Statistics from the Department for Transport show that 57% of drivers still exceed the speed limit in 30mph zones – most of which surround built-up and residential areas.

“Today’s figures shows that parents are desperately worried about the risk speeding drivers pose to their children," said Mary Williams OBE, chief executive of Brake.

"Deaths from road crashes are a worldwide epidemic – especially among children. Following the lead of the World Health Organisation, the UK government must do more to tackle the biggest threat to our children – speeding drivers.

"The Government urgently needs to provide more safety awareness for drivers, implement road engineering schemes and toughen up enforcement for those who break the law and put children in danger.”

The full results from the survey are as follows:

• Nearly half (46%) of residents think the road where they live is dangerous for children to walk or cycle on

• Nearly half (42%) of residents think their road is more dangerous for children than it was five years ago

• Almost two out three (62%) residents are concerned about speeding drivers putting children on their road at risk

• 40% of residents are more concerned about children being involved in a road crash than being abducted or a victim of violent street crime.

Research by the Health Development Agency conducted in October 2003 shows that if 20mph zones were implemented across urban and residential areas in the UK, 13,000 children a year could be saved from death or injury.

The survey was carried out in late 2003 by the website Upmystreet.com. It questioned 10,000 residents across the UK via its website.

Brake is the national road safety charity funded by Government and individual donations. Brake exists to stop the 3,400 deaths and 41,000 serious injuries that occur on Britain’s roads every year and to ensure that appropriate care is available for people traumatised by road crashes.

Brake produces educational road safety literature and runs events including Road Safety Week (8-14 November 2004).

The UK has the fourth worst child pedestrian casualty rate in Western Europe according to figures published in 2002.

The Institute for Public Policy Research found that busy and fast roads close to residential areas lead to a decrease in the number of children walking or cycling and an increase in the number of children being killed or injured. Children in deprived areas without safe play areas such as parks or gardens are particularly at risk.

To coincide with World Health day 2004, the World Health Organisation will be publishing their World report on road traffic injury prevention. The report and related documents are available at www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention.

Information from Brake Campaigns officer, Simon Collister. 01484 559909 scollister at brake.org.uk