Road safety for pre-teens and teenagers

Road incidents are the biggest cause of death among 12- to 19-year-olds. Find out what you can do to minimise the risks to your children

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Why are the risks so high for this age group? 

Children walking out of school

When we think about road safety, it's easy to conjure up thoughts of oblivious tots chasing footballs into traffic. 

In fact, pedestrians aged 12 are at the highest risk of being killed or seriously injured in road accidents. This is most likely because they have just started secondary school, and are commuting independently on a daily basis, often for the first time. 

13- to 16-year-olds are also a very high risk group. With teens surgically attached to mobiles and easily distracted by their peers, accidents among this age group are often the result of failing to look properly before crossing. 

"There was some research done recently about teens being really dangerous around traffic - their brains are wired differently for a period of time, and they are often in a gaggle, messing around, playing on phones or plugged into headphones."

Talking to your child about road safety

Walking with phone

Key messages to drum into your teen or pre-teen:

  • Don't use your mobile to talk or text while crossing
  • Give the road your full attention while you're crossing, even with a group of friends
  • Look out for your friends' safety too
  • Turn off your music while you're crossing the road
  • Don't take any chances when you're crossing - cars may not be able to stop in time
  • Pedestrian crossings aren't just for young children. They keep everybody safe

It's also useful to set out the road casualty facts for your teen to help them understand that you're not just fussing or infantilising them:

  • On average, 1,600 children between the ages of 12 and 15 are killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads each year (compared to 400 0- to 4-year-olds and 450 5- to 7-year-olds).

  • Boys are more at risk than girls, especially when cycling; six times as many boys as girls are killed or seriously injured while riding a bike.

  • During term-time, casualties peak between 8-9am and 3pm into early evening, clearly bookending the school day.

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Last updated: over 1 year ago