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IAM warns commuting drivers to watch out for distracted youngsters

Road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has issued the warning as many schools in England return from the summer break, bringing a 20% growth in rush hour traffic and thereby increasing accident risks.

While much has been said about watching out for youngsters on their way to school, the IAM has warned that a greater risk comes on the way home from school – where under 16s are more likely to be distracted by playing with their friends, listening to music or interacting on social media on their phones.

Existing research from the Department for Transport’s THINK! initiative showed that 62% of 11-16 year olds admit to being distracted by talking to friends as they cross the road, a similar number had to stop a friend from having an accident by either pulling them back or calling out, and 36% of girls and 25% of boys say they get distracted by using their mobile phones.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: ‘Technology has moved on at such a pace, it is clear that youngsters are being distracted by the myriad of portable entertainment devices available to them.’

Meanwhile a report previously commissioned by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) found children are more likely to be injured in spring and summer (excluding August) and more likely to be injured as pedestrians on weekdays at morning and afternoon school times. It also found the age at which pedestrians are most at risk is 12 years old.

The IAM has also urged drivers to be more vigilant in rural or remote areas, as the findings showed 70% of child casualties were injured on sections of road not at or near a pedestrian crossing. 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.