Children can’t tell how fast cars are going

Children at risk on the road, as many fail to judge the speed of travelling cars as they cross roads

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Children are at higher risk of being run down due to their inability to judge the speed of cars travelling at more than 20mph, research has shown.

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“Children’s perpetual limitations place them at greater risk of stepping in front of cars travelling at higher speeds. Driving over 20mph in a residential or school area not only increases the potential severity of any impact, but also increases the risk that a child will cross in front,” notes the study by academics at Royal Holloway College, London University.

“There’s strong evidence that children may make risky crossing judgments when vehicles are travelling at 30mph or 40mph. Travelling one mile through a residential area at 20mph v 30mph will only add 60 seconds to journey time,” said Professor John Wann, one of the authors of the report.

“We encourage drivers to take a minute and save a child’s life,” he added.

The introduction of lower limits was also called for by Anne Semlyen, campaign manager for 20s Plenty for Us.

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“It’s simplistic to blame children saying they ‘run out,’ without checking. But this study suggests it is fast motor vehicles that create the errors, as it is then impossible for kids to make correct judgments,” Anne said. 

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