DRIVERS are being warned to slow down during the school summer holidays to prevent potential tragedy.

Huddersfield-based road safety charity BRAKE and Churchill Car Insurance are urging people to drive at 20mph or below in built-up areas.

Joint research shows that 83% of people worry about the safety of children on streets around their homes because of fast traffic.

Children playing or riding bikes in neighbourhood streets is a common sight during the school holidays.

But according to BRAKE, many parents face a tough decisions.

They have to weigh up the benefits of fresh air and exercise against fears for their children’s safety and the threat of speeding traffic. In England and Wales, traffic accounts for more than half of non-medical deaths among children aged five to 14.

The research by Brake and Churchill also found that:

91% would like drivers to travel more slowly and carefully in their neighbourhood.

74% think more should be done to slow down traffic around schools and community facilities.

30% think children on foot in the UK are at greater risk than in most other European counties.

70% consciously fear for their own safety when on foot, due to the threat of being knocked down.

Brake’s Julie Townsend said: “We all want to live in safe communities where everyone is able to get out and about. Unfortunately many children can’t do this without having to negotiate streets plagued by fast traffic that poses a serious risk to their safety.

“It’s time that all drivers took responsibility and slowed down to 20mph or below when driving in communities, so everyone, especially children, can enjoy their local neighbourhood safely.

“We’re also calling on local authorities to follow the lead of places like Portsmouth and put in place more widespread 20mph limits.

“These are a cost effective way to help make our communities safer, healthier and more family-friendly places.”

The child pedestrian death rate per head of population in the UK is worse than 10 other EU countries and eight times higher than in Sweden.