CHILD ROAD SAFETY REMAINS PRIORITY DURING COVID-19
The commencement of the 2021 school year warrants reinforcement of basic road safety education byroad safety partners, parents/guardians and schools to support a safe return to school for all children.
Taking centre-stage in awareness-raising initiatives at the national level, Covid-19 has led to unprecedented changes in our lives and has placed other public health concerns such as road safety in limbo. Therefore, in tandem with promoting adherence to Covid-19 protocols and guidelines, addressing road safety risks remains a priority as schools return to a new normal.
Although there is a notable reduction in injuries and fatalities involving children between the ages of 0 to 15 in2020, crash statistics recorded by the MVA Fund indicate that children of this age group remain vulnerable road users. The Fund’s comparative crash statistics for 2019 and 2020 show that379 children were injured in road crashes, which is a reduction of 31% from 550 recorded in 2019, while fatalities also decreased by 24% from 85 to 65 in 2020.
These figures are overtly high, considering the Covid-19 restrictions on movement and school operations in2020. To counter the worrisome trend of children perishing in road crashes, the MVA Fund continues to roll out school activation initiatives as outlined in its strategic plan to ensure the reduction of injuries and fatalities among school-going children.
The Fund, therefore, calls for strengthened road safety compliance by all road users to make the journey to school safer. Thus, motorists are requested to slow-down, be alert and obey speed limits around school vicinities.
At the same, those responsible for transporting children to and from school are also advised to plan and prepare their journey to avoid engaging in dangerous driving habits such as speeding. Similarly, children cycling or walking to school should exercise extra caution and be visible to motorists at all times.
The Fund further reminds the public to report all crashes to its new Accident Response Number 9682, as doing so could save a life!