Children's road safety

Guest Editors Antony J. Chapman and Deirdre O’Reilly introduce a special issue on child development and road safety. They believe that psychology can help to cut down the UK’s alarmingly high rates of child pedestrian accidents.
Most of us, most of the time, take crossing the road for granted. As adult pedestrians, we have acquired an understanding of how accidents are caused, and have developed and can deploy abilities to negotiate traffic. We routinely make complex judgements in choosing where, when and how to cross roads. How much we have mastered by the time we reach adulthood is apparent from comparing accident data for children and adults. For example, in 1997, on British roads, 18,407 child pedestrians were killed or injured. But for people aged 16 and over (a group that is, of course, several times larger) the figure was 26,169 — a proportionally much lower total.

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