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‘Road traffic accidents largest cause of serious injury in children,’ says top paediatric consultant

08 Aug 2023 2 minute read
Photo by Pete Saunders is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

University Hospital of Wales’ Paediatric Emergency Consultant Dr David Hanna has backed the Welsh Government’s introduction of a default 20 mph speed limit next month.

The introduction of the new default speed limit on restricted roads across Wales from Sunday 17 September has sparked a fierce debate in recent weeks, but Dr Hanna says he is in no doubt about the safety benefits, particularly for children.

“It’s simple, slower speeds save lives!” he said.

“Every year in Wales we see the devastating impacts road traffic collisions have on children and their families. They are the biggest single cause of serious injury in children who are typically walking or cycling.”

According to the latest police data, twenty people are killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads every week.

International studies also show that on average, a person is around five times more likely to be killed when hit by a vehicle travelling at 30mph compared to 20mph.

And, according to Dr Hanna children are at more risk than adults.

“Children have less road awareness than adults and can be difficult to see. They also tend to be struck higher on the body than adults due to their smaller height, and more likely to suffer severe injuries as a result.

“So, the 20mph limit will help reduce the number of collisions and severity of injuries.”

Community safety

Speaking at a visit to the Emergency Unit at the UHW, Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Frank Atherton added: “We’re now just over a month away from the biggest change in community safety we have seen in Wales for a generation. Reducing speeds not only saves lives, but helps us to build stronger, safer communities.

“Evidence from across the world shows that vehicle speed is one of the main reasons why people do not walk or cycle, with one in three Welsh adults saying that 20mph would increase their likelihood to walk or cycle more.

“So, not only will slower speeds save lives and reduce injuries, it will also help to keep people healthier and reduce the burden on the NHS.


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Dai Cameron
Dai Cameron
8 months ago

Yes, saving children’s lives is all good and well, but I’m going to be 5 minutes later for my drive to the shops. Back in my day, children knew not to play in the roads, it’s the nanny state and sheer entitlement of today’s youth gone mad. And being honest, if once bitten twice shy – if they get a little bump, they may learn their lesson for next time!

What next, they’ll make me wear a helmet in my car to prevent brain injury and my ability to think critically?

Load of rubbiush.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
8 months ago
Reply to  Dai Cameron

And that attitude is precisely why the speed limit needs to be reduced, although I can’t make up my mind if your comment is serious or just taking the p!ss. However, I’ve got a great idea. I’ve seen a lot of comments from motorists about 20mph being an inefficient speed for cars (I’m referring to fuel efficiency, I’m not referring to being inconvenienced by being five minutes later to the shop). Therefore, as 55mph is widely regarded as the most efficient speed limit for cars (especially in fifth gear) let’s increase the speed limit in our residential streets to 55mph.… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

25mph would have been a sensible compromise between utility and safety. After all, that is often the normal rate one observes traffic adopting in 30mph zones from the simple practical necessity of negotiating busy, built-up areas with roadside parking and narrow roads. The only way to legislate for those wild drivers who recklessly flout every existing speed limit is – regrettably for their victims – the punitive route to a harsh sentence in Court. The rest of us, who are the great majority of motorists, fortunately drive carefully and tend never to endanger anyone. The continuously falling rates of serious… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Philip Davies
Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
8 months ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

I think we’ll end up with a compromise of sorts. What people are forgetting is that the 20mph limit does not apply everywhere – I have even heard people claim (in all seriousness) that the 20mph limit will apply to motorways. In fact it applies to 30mph zones only and local authorities will have the option to apply for exemptions. I suspect that what we’ll end up with is 20mph in residential streets and narrower streets (where it is impractical or just downright dangerous to drive faster than 20mph in any case) and 30mph on the main streets. If that… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Owing to his continual demonisation the motorist has adopted the devil-may-care attitude ‘May as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb’ before his transportation to nowhere or eventual house arrest. Being made to feel bad about something you normally do makes you worse. This is a Culture War – dammit – and feelings are raw. I mean my satirical barb most sincerely and quite keenly. I hope you appreciate my cordial sentiments as intended. The Welsh Soviet Experience is the Main Attraction that brings political tourists from Green Communist England on day trips to Cardiff to see the… Read more »

CapM
CapM
8 months ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

 “I mean my satirical barb most sincerely and quite keenly. “

Then it’s not really ‘satire’ or even self satire but a ‘diatribe’.

I’m not a “clever b******s who think they know-it-all”. Wikipedia on the other hand might be a candidate for an “I hate” list.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  CapM

What an amazing remark! Satire has to be insincere to be really cutting?!! And what’s wrong with a diatribe, anyway?! Silly man. I’m going now. If I stay any longer I’d say something you’d regret.

CapM
CapM
8 months ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

.” If I stay any longer I’d say something you’d regret.”

It’s a credit to those who run this site and the vast majority of those that comment on it that is a far more civilised place and receives more considered opinions than some others that could be mentioned.
It would be a shame if that changed for the worse.,

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  CapM

Yet I actually didn’t say anything! My point was that I bit my tongue with due restraint. Yet you, not content with calling me ‘stupid, lazy and offensive’ now even exclude me loftily from the company of the ‘civilised’! I get that you don’t like my views: That’s fine. But your ad hominem slander in response far outdoes my satiric restraint – yes, and my political diatribes too – in terms of sheer, blatant, direct personal insult! But I really don’t care. It is enough that you expose your own pompous silliness for all to see.

CapM
CapM
8 months ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

I didn’t call you ‘stupid, lazy and offensive’
No one did.

 “Maybe you are frustrated with politics but to be frank with you such comparisons are just as stupid, lazy and offensive as Labour supporters comparing the Tories in Westminster to Nazi Germany.”

You’re confusing me with another who made the comment above.
You’re also confusing your comments being compared with comments that are equally ‘stupid, lazy and offensive’ with being personally called ‘stupid, lazy and offensive’.

And as I pointed out not by me.
Maybe take a break.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  CapM

I humbly apologise for unloading unjustly upon you my annoyance at being called – in effect – ‘stupid, lazy and offensive’ by Barry Pandy. Your restraint in pointing out my stupid error does you credit.   It gets like that when fighting what can seem like a Quixotic lone rearguard action, against overwhelming popular support for Government measures I believe I have good reason to criticise. However, in view of my ‘faux pas’ I think I ought now to give you full credit for having meant to include me amongst the ‘civilised’ whom you praise for their polite restraint in… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  CapM

I humbly apologise for unloading unjustly upon you my annoyance at being called – in effect – ‘stupid, lazy and offensive’ by Barry Pandy. Your restraint in pointing out my stupid error does you credit.   It gets like that when fighting what can seem like a Quixotic lone rearguard action, against overwhelming popular support for Government measures I believe I have good reason to criticise. However, in view of my ‘faux pas’ I think I ought now to give you full credit for having meant to include me amongst the ‘civilised’ whom you praise for their polite restraint in… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  CapM

[I’m sorry some stupid algorithm is messing up any tidy textual setting.]

CapM
CapM
8 months ago
Reply to  Dai Cameron

“What next, they’ll make me wear a helmet in my car to prevent brain injury and my ability to think critically?”

Too late!

Llyn
Llyn
8 months ago

Waiting for the usual right wing blowhards to attack University Hospital of Wales’ Paediatric Emergency Consultant Dr David Hanna as a woke, anti-motorist, out of touch nanny statist who should get a proper job.

Ap Kenneth
8 months ago

Hopefully will also reduce the death and injury of pets, cats in particular and wild animals and birds although there is still no hope for collared doves and pheasants which are just idiots.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
8 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Indeed, I remember running over a pigeon on a roundabout in Swansea. It was eating something off the road, it must have been very tasty whatever it was.

Mawkernewek
8 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Have they considered the effect on wildlife of there being less roadkill for birds such as ravens to scavenge?

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
8 months ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

Less roadkill? What am I supposed to do for my Sunday roast?!

Ap Kenneth
8 months ago
Reply to  Mawkernewek

Probably not but the more wildlife that survives the better for local ecosystems would be my take.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
8 months ago

Having looked into the matter, I was glad to discover that Government road casualty figures for all categories of user indicate that, year-on-year, life-changing and mortal injuries continue to decrease on our roads. If we must have such a widely-imposed 20mph restriction let us hope that at least this sweeping measure produces a more than slight reduction in serious incidents, over and above the reduction which might already be projected as the likely effect of ongoing existing road-safety improvements. However, the so-called ‘Law of Diminishing Returns’ must surely come into force at some point, in this, as in other processes?… Read more »

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