Drivers have been told to be extra vigilant as a new school term begins and new stats reveal the extent of road accidents in the UK.
Road safety experts from Road Angel are warning drivers to slow down and ensure they drive safely after the stats revealed 85% of car drivers break 20mph school zone speed limits.
The Department for Transport figures show that almost one child was killed every week on Britain’s roads in the year ending June 2022.
The figures also revealed that in total almost 2,500 children aged under 16 were killed or seriously injured on our roads last year.
Alongside existing school safety measures such as ‘School Keep Clear’ markings and other forms of traffic calming, many councils around the UK have introduced 20mph school zones in a bid to improve safety for children.
However, statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) have revealed that 85% of car drivers in Great Britain broke the law by driving faster than the speed limit in 20mph zones last year.
The report also revealed that on roads with a 30mph maximum, 50% of car drivers broke the law.
Lower speed limits are in place around schools because pedestrians have a much higher chance of survival if hit at 20mph with a 2.5% chance of death, compared to 20% if hit by a car travelling at 30mph.
Gary Digva, founder of Road Angel, says it is vital that motorists stick to the rules when driving around school zones and keep alert in case children run out.
He said: “Given the amount of traffic that passes through most school zones, it’s a worry to see that only 15% of drivers stick to the speed limit.
“With most drivers choosing to ignore 20mph zones, we are lucky that there haven’t been more fatalities than were recorded last year.
“It is imperative that motorists drive carefully when travelling near schools, by slowing down and being hyper-aware of the dangers, to reduce the chances of accidents.
“The 20mph zones are in place to make the roads safer for pedestrians, so those ignoring the rules are putting lives at risk.
“Although many councils have imposed 20mph zones, unfortunately, some schools still have higher speed limits around them.
“In this scenario, drivers should use their common sense to make sure they are driving cautiously, and remain alert in case a child runs out on the road suddenly.
“Parents should also talk to their children about the dangers of busy roads and make sure they know what is going on around them.
“Children should know the importance of staying alert, looking both ways before they cross the street and turning down electronic devices so they know what is going on around them.
“There needs to be a phased speed reduction system introduced everywhere where speed limits are reduced to 20mph outside schools so that there are safe areas for everyone to walk along and cross the road.
“Drivers found to be breaking the speed limit laws need to be punished and fined to ensure more are deterred from doing the same.”