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Child development and the aims of road safety education

Thomson, J. and Tolmie, Andrew and Foot, H.C. and McLaren, B. and , Department for Transport (Funder) (1996) Child development and the aims of road safety education. [Report]

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Pedestrian accidents are one of the most prominent causes of premature injury, handicap and death in the modern world. In children, the problem is so severe that pedestrian accidents are widely regarded as the most serious of all health risks facing children in developed countries. Not surprisingly, educational measures have long been advocated as a means of teaching children how to cope with traffic and substantial resources have been devoted to their development and provision. Unfortunately, there seems to be a widespread view at the present time that education has not achieved as much as had been hoped and that there may even be quite strict limits to what can be achieved through education. This would, of course, shift the emphasis away from education altogether towards engineering or urban planning measures aimed at creating an intrinsically safer environment in which the need for education might be reduced or even eliminated. However, whilst engineering measures undoubtedly have a major role to play in the effort to reduce accidents, this outlook is both overly optimistic about the benefits of engineering and overly pessimistic about the limitations of education. At the same time, a fresh analysis is clearly required both of the aims and methods of contemporary road safety education. The present report is designed to provide such an analysis and to establish a framework within which further debate and research can take place.