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Identifying ‘at-risk’ child pedestrians and improving their road crossing skills.

Oxley, J, Congiu, M, Whelan, M, D'Elia, A, Charlton, J

Pedestrian Safety

ACRS conference 2007

Crashes involving pedestrians are severe in nature. The safety of child pedestrians is of particular concern, given that a sizeable proportion of pedestrian trauma involves children. Behaviour is thought to play a major role in crash involvement, however, very little is known about the roles of specific functional and behavioural factors that may affect road-crossing decisions. Moreover, while there are a number of road safety educational programs available in Australian States and Territories, there may be some scope for improvement, e.g., better translation of knowledge to improved performance, and provision of training programs that are practical and specifically tailored fore those most at risk. This paper presents the findings of a two-phased study that examined the factors that may increase pedestrian crash risk amongst 6-10 year old children, identified ‘at-risk’ children and developed and evaluated a practical and innovative educational and training program using an interactive simulator program. The findings suggest that ‘at-risk’ groups include younger children, those who have poor perception, attentional and cognitive skills, hyperactive, inattentive and easily distracted children, and those with little traffic exposure. A beneficial effect of the training program on proportion of critically incorrect crossing responses was found, particularly amongst ‘at-risk’ children. The results show that the training program is a safe and effective way to improve children’s road-crossing skills.