Bereaved family back campaign for safer roads for kids to mark five year anniversary of son’s death

14th September 2011

  • Four in 10 parents say local roads are unsafe for kids on foot

Connor Graham was two and half years old when he was knocked down and killed on a road near his nursery. To mark the five year anniversary of his death, his family are calling for safer roads for children in support of a nationwide campaign by the charity Brake and Churchill Car Insurance.

Connor’s family are speaking out about the trauma and pain they have suffered, as nurseries across the country, including Connor’s old nursery, take part in a major event to improve children’s safety on roads. Beep Beep! Day, coordinated by Brake and sponsored by Churchill, involves hundreds of nurseries teaching tots simple road safety lessons, while calling on drivers to slow down to protect local families.

Connor’s family are encouraging more nurseries and playgroups to sign up to Beep Beep! Day and urging drivers to slow down to 20mph or below in communities, as a survey [1] finds widespread fear among parents for children’s safety on foot and bicycle:

  • Four in 10 (38%) say roads in their area are unsafe for children to walk and cycle
  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) say traffic is the biggest threat to the safety of children who get out and about in their neighbourhood

The survey also found almost universal support for measures to improve children’s safety:

  • More than eight in 10 (83%) support 20mph limits around local homes and schools
  • 95% think road safety should be a compulsory part of the curriculum, taught to all children

Journalists, photographers and film crews are invited to attend a filming and photo opportunity at a Beep Beep! Day held at the nursery attended by Connor Graham:

WHEN: 10am, Wednesday 14 September 2011
WHERE: Stepping Stones Nursery, 20 Claremount Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX3 6JQ
WHAT: the children will be chalking out a road in their playground and practising crossing it while holding hands, plus baking traffic light biscuits and making colourful road safety posters.

The event will be attended by Connor’s mum and dad, Paula and Nev Graham, and a Brake representative, who are all available for interview. Media can also arrange pre-recorded interviews by contacting Ellen Booth or Katie Shephard on 01484 559909 or news@brake.org.uk.

Every month, five children are killed and 179 are seriously injured on our roads while on foot or bicycle, according to recently released Government statistics [2].

Case study
On 29 August 2006, Paula Luders was collecting her twin sons, Corey and Connor, from Stepping Stones Nursery in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Corey was safe in the car when Connor slipped from his mother’s grip and ran into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Connor’s death was devastating for his family. His uncle Mark Luders ran a successful campaign with the rest of his family, calling for traffic calming and a 20mph speed limit outside the nursery and nearby primary schools.

Connor’s uncle Mark Luders says: “It’s hard to describe the terrible impact of Connor’s death on the family. It was literally our worst nightmare come true, and five years on we still miss him so much. It’s crucial that we teach children about the dangers of moving vehicles, but we also need whole communities to take responsibility for stopping more children being hurt or killed on our roads. We need to make drivers realise that slowing down is vital in making our communities safer for children. And we need more done to make roads safer, like 20mph limits. We’re supporting Beep Beep! Day because it’s all about working together to save children’s lives.”

Julie Townsend, campaigns director at Brake, says: “Every year thousands of children are killed or seriously injured on our roads. These deaths are man-made, avoidable and utterly unacceptable, causing terrible pain and trauma to the families involved. Beep Beep! Day helps to give children a sense of the importance of road safety from a young age. But it’s also about getting the message out to the wider community about the responsibility of drivers to protect children. No family should have to go through what Connor Graham’s family experienced – and drivers can help stop these tragedies by slowing to 20mph or below around schools and homes.”

Tony Chilcott, head of Churchill Car Insurance, says: “Beep Beep! Day is an excellent way to teach young children about road safety, and the scheme also raises awareness amongst all drivers, including parents and grandparents, of the need to drive with extreme care when young children are about. We’re pleased to be able to support such a worthwhile initiative.”

About Beep Beep! Day
In 2010, more than 40,000 children took part in a Beep Beep! Day. Brake is hoping to reach even more children in 2011. Nurseries, playgroups and childminders can run a Beep Beep! Day on whatever day is best for them, although most take place during the autumn. Nurseries receive resources to help them teach life-saving road safety lessons and promote road safety in the community.

Beep Beep! Day involves activities such as creating a poster of hand prints saying ‘We hold hands’, experimenting with toy cars to learn the words stop and go, and singing road safety songs. Activities are designed to get children to start understanding the importance of staying safe when out and about. Sponsorship raised by children taking part helps Brake provide support services for families bereaved and injured by road crashes and run community road safety campaigns.

Want to run your own Beep Beep! Day? If you work with young children under the age of eight, call the Beep Beep! team on 01484 559909 or go to www.brake.org.uk opens in a new window. Brake supplies posters, stickers, sponsorship envelopes, and lots of advice about promoting road safety on the day.

Brake’s calls to Government

  • Reduce the urban default limit from 30mph to 20mph, or as a positive interim step enable, encourage and fund more local authorities to implement town/village/city-wide 20mph limits
  • Enable communities to have more traffic-free zones and pedestrian/cyclist-friendly engineering
  • Ensure speed limits are effectively enforced and appropriate penalties given to speeding drivers
  • Step up publicity and education, aiming to make speeding socially unacceptable

Click here for further details on these calls for action.opens in a new window

Brake’s advice for drivers

No matter how tightly a parent holds onto a child’s hand, there is always a risk that the child could break free and run into the road. With older children, there is always the risk that they forget to follow the green cross code when walking home from school with their friends. In either case, the child does not deserve to die for their mistake. Drivers have a responsibility to watch out for children and be aware of danger hotspots such as parked cars or crossings.

Slow down to 20mph or below in areas such as towns and villages, outside schools and in residential areas where children are likely to be about. At 20mph, if you are paying attention and have fast reactions, you should just be able to stop in time if a child runs out three car lengths in front of you. If you are driving past a school when children are leaving or arriving for the day you should drop your speed right down to 10mph.

For media enquiries, and to arrange interviews with Brake and contact Ellen Booth and Katie Shephard on 01484 559909 or news@brake.org.uk.

Notes to editors

Brake opens in a new window is an independent national road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the six deaths and 70 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake produces educational road safety literature, runs community training programmes and runs events including Road Safety Week opens in a new window (21-27 November 2011). Brake’s Fleet Safety Forum opens in a new window provides up-to-date fleet safety resources to fleet managers and runs a year-round programme of events. Brake’s support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Churchill

Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK’s leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales no 1179980. U K Insurance Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc, which is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0800 200300 or visiting www.churchill.com.

Churchill Insurance Company Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: Churchill Court, Westmoreland Road, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1DP. Registered in England and Wales no. 202727. The Financial Services Authority’s Register can be accessed through www.fsa.gov.ukopens in a new window.

1 Based on 2009 FSA returns (policies in force).
[1] Survey of 1,000 parents of children under 16 carried out by Redshift Research on behalf of Brake and Churchill Car Insurance, August 2011
[2] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009, Department for Transport, 2010 and Reported Injury Road Traffic Collision Statistics 2009, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2010. Statistic refers to children under 16 years old.