THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CHILDREN IN TRAFFIC

For school age children, in the United Kingdom, road accidents are by far the largest cause of death and serious injury. Reconstruction of towns and cities, new developments and particularly new towns such as Cumbernauld and Stevenage have demonstrated that the numbers of road casualties can be reduced by better planning. New designs of residential access roads and footpaths are being introduced and the new concepts are expected to improve levels of safety. Whilst better planning with more segregation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic will undoubtedly make a substantial contribution to child safety and improvements to vehicles may reduce the severity of injuries, considerable lengths of road will remain basically unchanged for many years to come and there will be some situations where conflicts will remain. In addition to environmental changes, considerable efforts have and are being made through education and publicity to improve the behaviour of road users. Such efforts depend upon a knowledge of what behaviour leads to the accidents and what controlling factors may be changed by the most effective means. The importance of psychology of children in traffic as a particular area of study by the transport and Road Research Laboratory thus rests on the belief that from observations and investigations of the behaviour of children interacting with vehicles will come information which can be used to improve their safety. Studies of the problems facing children on roads have been made for many years and gnenerally fall into one of three classes; analysis of accident statistics such as the tables produced by Rospa (1974), studies of the social background or personality characteristics of accident involved children, such as those by Backett and Johnston (1959) and, less commonly, direct observation and experiments on children typified by the work of Sandels (1968). The last work tends to require large resources and in recent years the realisation of the magnitude of the child accident problem and recognition that it should be treated as a public health problem by authorities (Havard, 1973) has caused resources to be more readily available for the mounting of a comprehensive research programme than hitherto. The TRRL programme of research, summarised in this paper, includes co-operative studies with the police and other bodies as well as research funded at universities. In addition to the classes of study given above, the programme also includes studies of children's understanding of road safety and the development of teaching aids to be used in road safety education. (A) /TRRL/

  • Corporate Authors:

    Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)

    Wokingham, Berkshire  United Kingdom 
  • Authors:
    • Russam, K
  • Publication Date: 1977

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00164243
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRRL Supp Report 295
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jun 14 1978 12:00AM