JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – More emphasis is needed for children as they use the pavements and road crossings to get to and from school, given their Covid-enforced long periods at home when the rules of pedestrian safety might have relaxed.
As many as half of parents now believe the roads are not safe enough for their children to use when making their way to school. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says as much importance must be placed on creating safe roads for children as that of preventing transmission of the Chinese ‘flu.
He said: “Most children in South Africa make their way to school on foot, by bicycle, or \on public transport so it’s essential that drivers do their part in making sure a child does not meet danger.
‘DO YOUR PART’
“The authorities must do their part to ensure there is strict regulation on school routes and issue penalties when they do not. Drivers must obey the regulations and exert extra caution when they see schoolchildren on the road.
”Every organisation or person which or who can affect road safety for children must do their part in making safer roads for all.”
That as many as half of parents are not satisfied with road safety was revealed in an international opinion survey conducted by YouGov for the Child Health Initiative (video) The survey also revealed some facts about the South African situation…
79% of adults support road closures, speed reduction and restrictions on cars near schools.
65% of parents would change children’s school journeys to walking or cycling as part of Covid social distancing – but only if the streets are safe.
MAJOR CAUSE OF CHILD DEATHS
Private organisations, government, and parents, MasterDRive told The Corner, can work together within their communities to make sure the correctsafety interventions for their area are implemented.
Herbert again: “The concerns of South African parents are not unfounded. Road crashes, including those involving a child pedestrian, are a leading cause of death among South African children.
“Yet, further regulation or stricter penalties, organising professional pupil patrols, or training and educating children about road safety yet helping wherever possible, can have a huge effect on road crashes involving children.
‘LET’S MAKE OUR CHILDREN SAFE’
”Additionally, it can allow children to make their own way – depending on circumstances – to school and reduce the potential transmission of Covid-19 in school transport.
”Current statistics and the concerns voiced by parents are strong indications of the focus needed for the safety of children travelling to school. Our children are our future leaders and drivers. Let’s give them the safety they deserve on the roads and set an example of what future road-safety should be.”