23 Sep 2008

Commissioner calls for safety zones outside schools

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, has called for legislators to introduce safety zones outside schools.

Ms Lewsley made the call as the Northern Ireland Assembly debated a motion on introducing 20mph speed limits outside schools.

“Research we carried out showed children worried about safety outside the school gates,” said the Commissioner.

“Road safety is a real concern for school pupils – more than half involved in research by my office said they feared being knocked down and 65% said the roads around their schools are dangerous.

“I hope that this motion is passed and legislators are compelled to extend existing pilot schemes across Northern Ireland.”

Ms Lewsley also made an appeal to parents when collecting their children.

“Children have said they are worried about cars parking outside school gates. They said this has a knock-on effect on the safety of students walking and cycling.

“So the next time you are collecting your child, please think about how close you are parking to the school, and whether you are putting pupils at risk”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

· In 2006/07, 8 children under the age of 16 lost their lives as a result of

a road traffic accident. 128 children were also seriously injured.

· 11% of all casualties on the roads were children and young people under 16 years, totalling to 983 people.

While last year’s statistics show a small reduction in under 16s involved in road traffic accidents, NICCY believes it is still too high.