How to Address Accidents with Children - from European to Local Perspective
Norbert Klassen, ADAC, DE
The paper presents a framework for upgrading the safety for children using European, national and local accident statistics. It draws the conclusion that programmes and campaigns must address national habits and behaviour, engineering measures can benefit
A representative survey of the German Automobile Club ADAC shows that the knowledge of car drivers about road related risks of children is poor: Only 20% of the 1000 interviewees knew that most children aged under 6 years are injured as car passengers. Only 25% knew that most children aged 6 to 15 years are injured outside normal school times; most people think that in contrast children of that age are normally injured on their way to school.
Analysing European accident figures shows also that there are significant differences within Europe: In Spain 70% of the injured children aged under 15 years were injured within cars, while this figure in Germany and UK is significantly lower (40% and 45% respectively). In the Netherlands the number of injured children when cycling is three times higher than when walking; the pattern in Ireland, France or UK is the opposite. The number and structure of accidents in the new EU countries differs considerably. Of course use of transport mode, travel behaviour and traffic density vary within Europe and contribute strongly to risk.
But using European or national accident figures only is not sufficient , if problems have to be assessed and measures to be taken. Our survey shows that there are also significant differences on accident structure on local level. Taking into account all towns above 20,000 inhabitants in one of the federal states in Germany shows that the worst towns have 10 times higher risk for children compared with the best ones.
This shows that it is necessary to compare accidents on European and national level to highlight the main problems and discuss programmes on political and organisational level. Education, training programmes and campaigns must address the national problems. As a follow up it is important to work locally to upgrade the safety on local networks such as roads, cycle lanes and footpaths, and implement the programmes and campaigns.
Association for European Transport