How Safe Are Our Roads for Children?
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of 1989 recognizes that “every child has the inherent right to life” but sadly their lives are being snatched by the cruel hands of God at a very early age and one of the main reasons being that of road traffic deaths. Children account for more than 186,000 annual road traffic deaths globally. More than 220 children (5-14 years) all over the world meet a deadly end because of road accidents. In India the scene is equally dismal. In 2016, more than 10,000 children died in road accidents according to the latest MORTH report.
Some of the ways in which we can reduce road traffic deaths especially among children are by bringing in effective road safety laws and stricter enforcement of these laws. The international best practices on road safety should also be adopted in India to ensure a safe life for all children. These include:Indian road safety record is one of the worst in the world and children are the worst affected. They are indirectly affected due to negligent driving, rash driving, and drunken driving. Another major cause for road accidents among children is the casual attitude of the adults who do not ensure seat belts or helmets for children.
Setting appropriate speed limits especially when carrying school children in vans should be immediately implemented. As per the Global Status Report on Road Safety, World Health Organization, 2015, an adult pedestrian, the risk of dying if struck by a car travelling at less than 50km/h is below 20%. The chances of accident increases substantially if the speed of the vehicle increases too.
Even parents forget to ensure this rule of making children compulsorily wear seat belts. In India it is not common for children or adults to wear seat belts if they are occupying the back seat. Did you know that correctly wearing a seat-belt reduces the risk of a fatal injury by up to 50%for front seat occupants and by up to 75% for rear seat occupants?
If a child wears appropriate restraint as per their size and weight, it will significantly reduce accidents.
Let’s make India a better and safer place for all our children and surely one of the best ways of doing so is making our roads child safe.
To know more about Consumer Voice’s Road Safety Initiative, click here