Texaco, the UK’s largest branded network of independently-owned service stations, has found that parents are confused by current road safety legislation and aren’t leading by example when it comes to practices such as buckling up and using appropriate road crossings.

Announcing the results of a nationwide study, the company is encouraging parents to pay more attention to road safety issues now that the clocks have gone back; evenings are getting darker earlier and worsening weather conditions mean that children will be even more vulnerable to accidents on the roads. Statistics from Department for Transport (DFT)* show that the number of deaths and serious injures increase during the five months when the clocks change from British Summer Time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In the UK during 2005, there were 271,017 reported road accident casualties. 32,155 of those were fatalities or serious injuries. 3,472 of those were children.

Texaco’s study is announced along with plans to put 1.7 million children’s road safety books into the hands of customers. The books have been written to teach road safety to children in an engaging and imaginative manner, using a character called Hector. They will be available free from Texaco service stations. The books aim to help parents in teaching the five basic rules to children aged between 6 and 10, including: understanding road signs, using zebra crossings, wearing reflective clothing, buckling up in motor vehicles and riding bicycles with lights, bells and helmets.