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Children cannot see vehicles at more than 20 mph

29 November 2010

Children cannot accurately judge the speed of vehicles travelling faster than 20 mph, say reserchers at the Royal Holloway University of London.

The findings suggest primary school children cannot make reliable judgements for vehicles travelling more than 20 mph if they are more than five seconds away. Adults can make accurate judgements for vehicles moving at up to 50 mph, but it is not a case of children failing to pay attention.

Professor John Wann, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, says it is, "a problem related to low-level visual detection mechanisms, so even when children are paying very close attention they may fail to detect a fast approaching vehicle.”

The findings strength the case for creating 20 mph zones in residential areas. A study for TfL (Transport for London) found the number of children killed and seriously injured in traffic accidents fell by 50% in areas where 20 mph zones were introduced.

Read more from the Royal Holloway University of London.

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