Reducing unintentional injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25 years

July 2014

Public Health England (PHE) launched two new resources for local authorities on preventing accidents to children and young people in the home and on the road on 23 June 2014, the first day of Child Safety Week.

This article covers unintentional injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25 years.

Unintentional injuries are a leading cause of preventable death

The initiative signals PHE’s recognition that ‘unintentional injuries are a leading cause of preventable death for children and young people and a major cause of ill health and serious disability’.

PHE developed this practical resource with RoSPA, assisted by CAPT. The resource is significant. It represents a powerful call to action from PHE, providing important information that will help local authorities and their partners make decisions about priorities in accident prevention work.

There are three elements:

Key findings

Road traffic injuries (under 25 years of age)

  • There was an average of 463 deaths recorded by the police among road users under the age of 25 years each year between 2008-2012.
  • The police recorded an average of 64,523 casualties of all types each year.
  • There was an average of 13,731 emergency admissions to hospital as a result of road traffic injuries in the five year period.
  • The rate of fatal and serious injuries for 10-14 year olds was significantly greater for children from the 20% most deprived areas (37 per 100,000) compared with those from the most affluent areas (10 per 100,000).

The resource provides a detailed analysis of police-reported traffic injury data in England (STATS 19) 2008-2012 as well as the emergency hospital admissions and deaths over the equivalent period. It explores a wide range of issues related to injuries and deaths among children and young people on the roads. Key topics include:

  • children and young people’s right to safe roads
  • the wider health benefits of promoting safe active travel
  • journeys to and from school
  • the significance of the road environment
  • socio-economic status and injuries and deaths.

Action areas for local authorities

PHE suggests three key action areas for local authorities and their partners and provides information on how to take them forward:

  1. Improve safety for children travelling to and from school.
  2. Introduce 20mph limits in priority areas as part of a safe system approach to road safety.
  3. Action to prevent traffic injury and improve health must be co-ordinated.

The resource also covers:

  • the costs of the injuries
  • key prevention opportunities
  • a four-step action plan
  • key data
  • sources for case studies
  • accident prevention resources
  • references.

CAPT’s Chief Executive, Katrina Phillips welcomed PHE’s initiative:

"Children continue to be killed or disabled in accidents that can be prevented and the poorest children are at greatest risk. Local councils and their partners can achieve a step change for children, often at low cost, by prioritising the accidents that matter and mobilising existing services. That’s why PHE’s call to action is so welcome. We encourage PHE to support councils over the long-term, helping them to understand the benefits and savings that work on accident prevention achieves."

Supporting PHE’s guidance

CAPT assisted Public Health England in the development of this guidance. Our accident prevention experts are well placed to support local authorities and their partners to implement the advice.

See the information on CAPT’s main website about consultancy and training.

"They were very professional, knowledgeable and it was just really worthwhile to have that opportunity to share their expertise and much wider knowledge."

– Local authority user of Making the Link consultancy

"I don’t think we would have been able to get to a stage where we are now without CAPT’s consultancy. We have much clearer ideas about how we can start to improve and enhance on the work that we’re already doing."

– Local authority user of Making the Link consultancy

Case studies

The Making the Link website contains a wealth of information which supports PHE’s guidance on injuries on the roads. There is information about road safety policy and tools including CAPT’s guide to commissioning accident prevention services and the Crossing Over resource.

There are case studies on the development of local child accident prevention strategies including those in Bradford (1) (2), Salford and, most recently, Nottingham.

There is also material on road safety and public health, road safety education, an innovative young driver initiative and an initiative to reduce inequalities in road injuries.

Information and resources

The main CAPT website includes safety advice plus CAPT's extensive range of publications and other resources.

Updated July 2014