Eight in 10 parents worry about their children’s road safety awareness – and their knowledge on electric vehicles

An updated set of road safety guidelines for children has launched today after research reveals many are not aware of the differences between electric vehicles and their fossil-fuelled equivalents.

An updated set of road safety guidelines for children has launched today after research reveals many are not aware of the differences between electric vehicles and their fossil-fuelled equivalents.

A study of 1,200 British parents and children aged 6-17 found that more than eight in 10 parents are worried about modern road safety issues – including their children not hearing electric vehicles (39 per cent), wearing headphones (33 per cent) and using gadgets while walking (40 per cent).

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More than a quarter of children (27 per cent) don’t know how electric vehicles are quieter, and 30 per cent didn’t realise they can accelerate faster than traditionally fuelled vehicles.

Nearly one in four (37 per cent) think their children are less sensible when out and about with friends, and 28 per cent worry they ignore read safety rules altogether.

Watching TikTok videos, playing computer games and chatting on the mobile phone are also said to distract children when they should take care near roads.

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Parents are doing their best to instil good road awareness

The Green Car Cross Code launches in UK schools to encourage better road safety, as two thirds of parents admit their children aren’t ‘EV aware’.

The study was commissioned by leading car leasing brand ZenAuto, in hopes that the campaign will help upskill children and in turn make parents feel more confident.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of pedestrian road safety in the wake of the growing number of electric vehicles on Britain’s roads, as last year saw the biggest annual increase of registered electric cars in the UK – with more than 395,000 battery-electric cars registered, a growth of 92% on 2020.

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Supported by road safety charite Brake, the Green Car Cross Code was unveiled by TV presenter and parent of two, Konnie Huq.

Speaking on the campaign, Konnie said: “Electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles are great for the planet and for reducing pollution in our towns and cities, but they are typically quieter and can accelerate quicker - it’s important that kids are tuned into modern road safety dangers. Just because they can’t hear a car doesn’t mean there isn’t one nearby.”

The study also found that more than half of parents (55 per cent) admit they are doing everything can to instil good road awareness in their children – from walking local routes to build familiarity (38 per cent) to talking about road safety during walks (37 per cent).

Others warn their children not to listen to music when they’re out and about (40 per cent), encourage them to wear bright clothing (30 per cent) and vet who they walk with (26 per cent).

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Parents are also adopting stealth tactics – nearly a third (32 per cent) say they have hidden behind lampposts to ensure their youngster was looking left and right, and 26 per cent have secretly followed them to school.

Guidelines to be shared with 4,000 schools and educators

Marketing Director Gemma Bacon said: “Our own data has shown that over the last three months, electric vehicles have accounted for 43% of all orders, on average. We’re not trying to replace the original Green Cross Code which was made famous in the 1970s. This campaign is all about giving parents and children additional guidance to help them be more vigilant when they cross the road in the modern world.”

It also emerged that children in the North East are the most EV aware, with three quarters of parents (76 per cent) believing their offspring know EVs are quieter than their fossil-fuelled equivalents.

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Parents in Northern Ireland were the most concerned about their children’s EV knowledge with almost half (48 per cent) holding the opinion that their kids don’t know EVs are quieter – with 56 per cent didn’t think they had quicker acceleration.

Of those polled, 28 per cent of Welsh parents said they weren’t worried at all about their children’s safety when it came to modern road safety issues.

With support from Brake, the road safety charity, the Green Car Cross Code will be shared with over 4,000 schools and educators across the country to help families learn to cross roads more carefully.

Mary Williams, OBE, chief executive at Brake, said: “Road crashes are devastating events for families, friends and communities, and at Brake we see this first-hand through our work supporting families affected by road death and injury.

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“By engaging children and young people with key road safety issues, and helping them speak out about the need for safe and healthy journeys, we can make our communities safer, help people to live active lifestyles, and stop needless tragedies before they happen. We’re pleased to support the work of our corporate partner ZenAuto to help schools and parents talk to children about how to cross roads safely.”

To find out more about the Green Car Cross Code and to put your road safety knowledge to the test, click here.