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Deaths and injuries on Britain's roads cost the economy £8bn a year, according to a government watchdog.
Better education is required to reduce the annual toll of more than 3,000 fatalities and 267,000 injuries, the Audit Commission said. The cost to the NHS alone is £470m, while families are often destroyed by the effects of road accidents.
The figures are published in a report, 'Changing Lanes', being presented to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' (RoSPA) National Road Safety Congress in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The report says that although the UK's roads are among the safest in the world, a child pedestrian is three times more likely to die here than in France and twice as likely to die as in Italy. The number of motorcyclists killed is also rising despite an overall fall in casualty levels, it states.
Re-designing junctions and installing pedestrian crossings must be partnered with tougher enforcement of the laws banning use of mobile phones and speeding. Commission chief executive Steve Bundred said: "Just like drinking and driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel or speeding near schools should be socially unacceptable."
"It is clear that many accidents are avoidable. Councils have shown that as well as targeting accident black spots with safety cameras and better engineering, it is also possible to change the attitude and behaviour of road users that cause accidents."
If you are involved in a road traffic accident and your vehicle has been accident damaged in the past, the risk of serious injury increases. Check for this by going to www.mycarcheck.com.