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Road Safety Authority publishes Child Casualties Report: Approximately 2 in 3 child casualties were a pedestrian or a cyclist

road safety 06.10.2023

A new Child Casualties Report which focuses on children killed or seriously injured on Irish roads, published today by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) on Child Safety Day, reveals that approximately two in three child casualties from 2014 to 2022 were either a pedestrian or a cyclist. The Child Casualties Report 2014-2022, analysed data from the RSA collision database and is based on collision records transferred from An Garda Síochána to the RSA. The report is being published as part of Irish Road Safety Week 2023.

Between 2014 and 2022 there were 56 fatalities aged 0-15 years and 852 seriously injured road users, representing 4% of total fatalities and 8% of total serious injuries (see Tables 1 and 2 below). Of those 908 killed or seriously injured children, half (51%) were pedestrians, almost three in ten (28%) were passengers, and almost a fifth (18%) were cyclists (see Table 3).

The study also found that:

  • Two in three (67%) child casualties were injured on urban roads with a speed limit of 60km/h or less.
  • Dublin and Cork experienced the highest numbers of child casualties.
  • Each year since 2014, at least three in five children killed or seriously injured were vulnerable road users. In 2022, three in four child casualties were vulnerable road users (see Table 4).

Speaking on the publication of the Child Casualties Report, Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, said: “This report reveals concerning trends: Children are among our most vulnerable road users, and they are less able to protect themselves from traffic hazards. They are at a high risk of being injured or killed on our roads. We are particularly concerned because we have also noted an increase in child fatalities in 2023. That is why we must all exercise extra caution and responsibility when driving near places where children are likely to be present, such as schools, playgrounds and residential streets. The report shows that children cycling or walking in urban areas are at particularly high risk and it is vital that motorists slow down, observe carefully and share the roads safely with children.

“While the majority of children killed or seriously injured were on urban roads, we must also note that rural roads involve risk, in particular for children as car passengers. Reducing speed, driving without being under the influence of drink or drugs, avoiding driver distraction and using front and rear seatbelts (and child car seats/restraints where required) are vital measures for the road safety of children in Ireland. We cannot afford to be complacent or careless when it comes to road safety. We all have a duty to make all our roads as safe as possible for everyone, especially for our children.”

‘Child Safety Day’ falls during Irish Road Safety Week and is focused on educating parents and children on the importance of a number of measures for safe road use by all road users, especially drivers.

Wearing high-visibility material when out walking or cycling; making sure they are wearing a helmet and have working bike lights when cycling and ensuring the use of seatbelts or appropriate restraints when travelling by car or bus can also act as important measures to keep children as safe as possible on our roads.

As part of “Beep Beep Day” in September, an initiative focused on engaging with creches and pre-schools to support children and their families, pre-schools ordered “Beep Beep packs” on the RSA website. These are being distributed today on Child Safety Day, with over 40,000 high visibility vests sent to pre-schools nationwide, alongside age-appropriate road safety activities designed to support children for life-long road safety learning.

For more information on the RSA’s suite of age-appropriate and evidence-led education programmes, and to learn more about the RSA Shuttle and RSA Street Smart scape, view the RSA Education Newsletter. Booking requests from both the public and from schools are very welcome and the RSA works to prioritise bookings to ensure that geographical spread and frequency are optimised to achieve the best education outcomes for as many children as possible through these programmes.

To date in 2023, a total of 139 people have been killed on Irish roads. This is an increase of 26 fatalities compared to the same date last year. The number of children aged 0-15 years killed on Irish roads in 2023 to date is 12 compared to 5 in all of 2022.