'Street Sense' Campaign Starts In Schools

Hampshire County Council is launching a new campaign aimed at preventing young people being involved in a road accident on their way to or from school.

The success of the '20 is Plenty' campaign outside primary schools led to monitoring of statistics which indicated that there is a further problem with secondary school aged children having road accidents which, in about 75% of cases, was due to their own inattention to surrounding traffic on their way to or from school. 

In the five year period between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2011, excluding those children injured while a passenger in a car, there was a total of 773 casualties aged 11 to 16 involving pedestrians or pedal cyclists (three fatal, 154 seriously injured and 616 slight casualties). 

'StreetSense' is a new campaign being launched throughout Hampshire aimed at children, teachers, parents and drivers, to make them more aware of the vulnerability of children near traffic, and to teach children to concentrate more on good road safety habits such as not using mobile phones or earphones to listen to music when walking or cycling in traffic zones. 

In the first year of the campaign, the County Council plans to work with 18 priority secondary schools across the county and it is the first time that the Council has specifically focused a road safety campaign on this particular age group.

Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment and Transport, explained: "We are proud of our record in road safety and have done a lot of work over the years with primary schools, young children, older teenagers and adults. 

"We recognise however, the need to include 11 to 16 year olds in the work we do to reduce the number of people who are injured or killed on the road. We believe that by heightening their awareness of potential dangers at this age, as well as what can be done to reduce the risk of an accident, these lessons will remain in their consciousness, staying with them as they become young motorists and helping them to be safer drivers and riders. 

"The majority of 11 to 16 year olds are travelling to school or college independently. On the whole they are bright and sensible but my concern is that there is the potential risk of an accident caused by a momentary loss of concentration or if they are distracted, for example, by talking on their mobile phone or listening to music through headphones."

StreetSense will be using a wide range of interactive opportunities to remind pre-teens and teenagers about keeping safe as they travel by foot or by bike.

The programme includes: 

* materials for teachers to use in assemblies or class led discussions as part of pupils' PSHE lessons (Personal, Social and Health Education); 

* live drama - theatre will be brought to schools by the theatrical company, 'tinyGiants' who will perform 'The Decision' for Year 7 pupils (age 11 to 12). The award winning play, set in a courtroom, focuses on young people and their behaviour on and around roads; 

* 'Ghost Street' workshops for pupils in Year 9 (age 13 & 14) where various filmed scenarios are viewed and pupils are asked to identify how the incidents could be avoided and take part in discussions about which character they feel was responsible for causing the incident; 

* Safety engineering computer aided design (CAD) workshops for Year 10 pupils (14-15 years) to consider and re-design roads to feature measures on the road that could help to improve safety; 

* and, with additional funding from Government, Bikeability cycle safety training for up to 8750 places for 10 to 14 year olds. 

The StreetSense campaign has been designed specifically to appeal to 11-16 year olds and will be rolling out to Hampshire secondary schools for the first time, during Child Safety Week (18-22 June). 

Alongside the StreetSense awareness campaign, investment will be made in engineering works, such as improving skid resistance on the road, where this will be of benefit. 

Advisory 20 mph limits are being introduced outside six schools across the county. These will operate at the start and end of the school day, and motorists will be alerted to them by the use of flashing amber lights and traffic signs. The aim is to make drivers more aware that students will be crossing the road ahead and to encourage them to proceed more cautiously. 

A budget of £300,000 has been allocated for the campaign.