JIS News

The Road Safety Unit has reported a reduction in the number of children killed on the nation’s roads for the first eight months of the year, but has expressed concern for those in the five to nine age group, which accounts for the highest number of road fatalities among children.
According to statistics from the Unit, 18 children have died on the roads between January to August 2007, representing a 22 per cent reduction when compared to the 23 who died over the same period last year. Six children within the five to nine age group have died this year, compared to 11 for the same period in 2006.
Director of the Road Safety Unity, Paul Clemetson said that the inadequacy of parents to introduce their children to proper road usage is the main reason for deaths within this age group. “As parents seek to expose their children to traffic, they should ensure that they are prepared. If we do not prepare them, then we are negligent as parents and guardians, and we are exposing them to an environment that can result in their deaths,” he stated.
He called on parents to take their children, especially those who walk to school, several times to and from school, before allowing them to do so by themselves.
He also appealed to parents and guardians to ensure that there are proper child restraint mechanisms in their vehicles, as “many children are killed as passengers in private motor vehicles.”
A study carried out by the Unit has shown that in a collision, unrestrained children and those not properly restrained, are 65 to 75 per cent less likely to survive the impact. “On too many occasions, we have observed crashes in which children, who were unrestrained, are thrown from the vehicle to their death. This could have been avoided if the child was appropriately restrained,” Mr. Clemetson noted.
The Road Safety Act makes it mandatory for parents to acquire proper restraining systems when travelling with children. A violation of this law warrants a fine not exceeding $5,000.
In the meantime, the Road Safety Unit has a number of publications and carries out several public education campaigns within schools to educate children on the proper use of the roadways and to foster within children, an appreciation for road safety. Road safety education has also been incorporated within the school curriculum.

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