RAC teams up with Aardman and the Department for Transport
to launch national child road safety campaign
· UK school children challenged to create their own road safety characters and animations
· RAC introduce Horace, a road safety mascot for the 21st century, created by Aardman
· RAC launch charitable trust to fund future road safety initiatives
The RAC has joined forces with the Department of Transport’s THINK! team and animators Aardman to launch a national road safety competition, calling on school children to create their own short animated films to communicate key road safety messages to their fellow pupils.
Together, THINK! and the RAC are contacting every primary, junior and secondary school in the UK and asking teachers to encourage their children to participate in the animation competition and for teams of pupils to create their own stop-frame animations and characters to tell vital road safety messages.
RAC head of external affairs and community Pete Williams said: “The key to getting children to really understand road safety is to build initiatives around them – so that’s what we’ve done with this competition. Children are best placed to identify the road safety messages which have real ‘cut-through’ with their peers, and animation is a great, engaging way of bringing these messages to life.
“Our campaign is designed to fit in with the Department for Transport’s THINK! website and resource packs which have a wealth of information children can use to create and inspire their own animations.”
Today also marks the launch of the ‘RAC Charitable Trust’ which will receive a cash injection of £250k from the RAC and will raise funds through a variety of activities and campaigns to support the RAC Child Road Safety Campaign and fund future road safety initiatives.
Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The numbers of children being injured or killed on our roads in recent years is the lowest it’s been for decades but until we reach the point when no children are hurt, our work to improve safety will continue.
“The RAC’s initiative will ensure pupils across the country learn more about the importance of road safety and I hope that with Horace’s help the number of children hurt on our roads will decline even further.”
RAC chief executive Chris Woodhouse said: “As the motorist’s champion, the RAC is committed to making our roads safer places for everyone and we believe the key to this will be engaging road users from a young age and championing safety education in schools. Road casualties in the UK might be at a record low but greater effort is needed to bring them lower still. Every life lost is one too many and another family devastated.
“It is our duty to make sure that future generations understand how to use our roads safely, and stay safe themselves – after all, these children will be the motorists of the future.”
In 2012 a total of 6,999* child pedestrians under the age of 16 were injured on British roads. Sadly, 20 of these lost their lives and a further 13 child cyclists died and 2,185** were injured in accidents. Roads are significantly safer than they were 30 years ago, however a total of 190,689*** children under the age of 16 were killed or seriously injured on British roads during the period 1983 to 2012.
The RAC’s Report on Motoring 2014 research has shown that 31% of motorists identified the biggest danger for children is around distractions including playing ball games, talking with friends and using mobile technology. And, 23% of young people (under 25 years) surveyed said they had no road safety education in school at all and just 57% said that they only had a little road safety education in school.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill MP said: “The Department for Transport’s THINK! Campaign welcomes this ground-breaking initiative which will jump-start a new approach to road safety training and awareness in our schools. We are delighted with the new road safety mascot created by Aardman’s famous model-makers and will be incorporating this into our teaching resource packs. We very much look forward to using some of the winning animation entries to illustrate the road safety messages that children feel are important.”
The competition is open to school children aged four to sixteen, as well as clubs, Scouts, Brownies and other groups as well as individuals. Entry is via the website rac.co.uk/childroadsafety <file:///C:\Users\rdennis\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\J0XKJCLR\rac.co.uk\childroadsafety> , which contains links to a comprehensive range of teaching resources. The competition closes on Friday 4th July 2014. First prize in each age category is £1,000 for the winning school and there are three runners-up prizes of an Aardman model-making workshop for the schools. The first 10,000 pupils to enter the competition will receive an RAC Road Safety Kit.
You can find out more and register your interest at rac.co.uk/childroadsafety and visit Horace’s own Facebook page ‘Horace Champion’ or follow him on Twitter @HoraceChampion for the latest news and to see the latest animation entries.