Child deaths from road traffic accidents
Road accidents account for a large number of deaths and injuries each year in Great Britain. Figures published by the Department for Transport show that in 2011, 2,412 children under the age of 16 were killed or seriously injured on the roads.
This resource is designed to give you an overview of the number of children killed or seriously injured on the roads each year, and which types of road user are most at risk (e.g. cyclists, pedestrians, etc). At the end of the article you can view more information on our sources, and follow links to get more in-depth information on road safety statistics.
Why separate road casualties from other kinds of accidents?
Road accidents account for a third of accidental deaths among 0-14 year olds and over half of accidental deaths for 5-14 year olds. They are so numerous that they can often swamp the figures from other accidents and make it difficult to discern which other accident types have the largest impact on children and young people. Separating them can make it easier to examine other causes of childhood death and injury. It also allows us to break down the numbers of road casualties by type – of the children injured, how many were pedestrians? How many cyclists?
Road casualties are also slightly different from other types of accident because of the way that responsibility for them is assigned. Roads are a heavily controlled environment, and road safety is one of the few areas where there are dedicated prevention staff. Not only do all local authorities have a dedicated Road Safety Officer or Road Safety Team, there are also clear guidelines about where the responsibility for road accidents lies within the government.
Below is an attempt to present the available Department for Transport data so you can see the most common types of road casualty, and the number of children and young people killed or seriously injured annually.
Ages and areas
The Department for Transport defines ‘child’ as anyone under 16, whereas other areas, such as health and the Office for National Statistics, use five-year age brackets to categorise children and young people: 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 14-19.
The Department for Transport also looks at figures which cover the whole of Great Britain, rather than just England.
To avoid confusion we have made it explicit in each example whether ‘children and young people’ indicates under-15s, under 16s or under-19s in each instance, and whether the data covers casualties across the whole of Great Britain or just in England.
Which types of road accidents cause the most deaths or serious injuries?
The chart below shows the number of children and young people (under 19) killed or seriously injured on the roads from 2001 to 2008.The chart includes deaths across the whole of Britain.
How many children are killed (as opposed to injured) in road accidents?
For each child death on the road there are many more injuries. These include serious injuries (such as fracture, internal injury, burns and severe cuts) to slight injuries (such as bruising, whiplash, or slight shock).
The table below shows the number of deaths for children under 16 years for each type of road accident along with the number of serious and ‘slight’ injuries for GB for 2010.
|Deaths ||Serious injury||Slight injury ||Total||Deaths as % of total|
|Pedal cyclist ||7 ||391||2,430||2,828||0.25|
|Motorcycle users ||2 ||40||68||110||1.82|
|Car users ||18 ||342||7,427||7,787||0.23|
|Other road users ||2||54||859||915||0.22|
|All road users ||55||2447||17,067||19,569 ||0.28|
Are roads becoming safer in England?
DfT road accident figures show that in 2011 60 children under the age of 16 died as a result of a road accident. Although the number of children killed on Britain's roads was 53% lower than the average for 2005-2009 there was actually an increase of 9% from 2010 fatalities.
The number of children seriously injured in a road accident has fallen by 21% between 2005-2009. This change is extremely positive, however it does show that there is still work to be done to prevent children and young people from dying on the roads. Although the number of children killed or seriously injured in 2011 fell, there were still 2,412 deaths or serious injuries to children.
In the sources section below you can see links to the road transport statistics from 2010 in more detail.
Would you like a copy of this information?
Click on the link below to download a spreadsheet containing the table and graph shown above.
If you would like to look at this area further, there is a wealth of information on the Department for Transport website. The statistics used to compile this article were found in Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2010. These statistics cover all road casualties in Great Britain, including adults, but they are broken down by age, type of accident, and severity.
Detailed road safety statistics – just a click away!
The Department for Transport has recently launched Road Casualties Online – a website that displays all of the Department for Transport data in a straightforward way. You can view the information by age, type of injury, type of accident, even the time of day at which the accident took place. This website should be your first port of call if you’re looking for more information on road casualties.
You can also find more detail on your region’s road accidents, and the accident prevention priorities for your area, by getting in touch with your local road safety officer.
For information and discussion on improving road safety in Great Britain, find out about Taking Stock and Moving Forward - the road safety review published by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS)