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Children's Safety Must Be The First Priority On Roads

Mahatma Gandhi famously said “If we are to create peace in our world, we must begin with our children”. The saying by Mahatma Gandhi makes us to think what we are creating in this era for our children, and here we are talking about in relation to their safety on roads. Unfortunately, the recent data of children killed on roads is dangerous and this issue of children safety on roads where and for which we have to think in depth.

No one can forget the recent accident held in Etah in Uttar Pradesh, where 20 school children were killed and many got injured when their school bus was hit by a speeding lorry. There were more than 60 students in the bus and even the driver died in the same.

Earlier in this year itself many road accidents occurred in our country where  children aged under 15 were killed most.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, 15,633 children were killed in road accidents across India in 2015. That is nearly 7 times more deaths caused due to road accidents than crimes against children like murder and foeticide. National Crime Records Bureau shows that almost 43 children die in road accidents across the country each day and the children below the age of 18 years who die in road accidents make up 10.5 percent of all fatalities.

According to the World Health Organisation, using a child seat decreases the risk of death in a crash by about 70% for infants and up to 80% for small children, and should therefore be made compulsory for safer road practices.

Current Situation:

  • Per week, almost 60 children age 3 to 15 are killed or seriously injured on Indian roads.
  • In 2014 alone, 16,901 children were killed in road crashes in India. This is nearly 675% more than the reported deaths of children from all crimes against them put together.
  • Children accounted for 6.1% of the total accidental deaths due to motor vehicle crashes in 2013 in India.

 

Supreme Court Guidelines

The Supreme Court guidelines require drivers of school buses to have a minimum experience of 5 years without a record of previous traffic offences, an attendant to ensure the safety of children, not more children than the seating capacity and provisions for first aid and drinking water, among other things.

A global study on child road safety finds that road traffic injuries and deaths disproportionately impact children; Road crashes are the #1 killer of 15-29 years old, which might soon become the first cause of death for 4 to 15 years old; Every day, more than 500 children die on roads; 95% of such fatalities among children occur in low- and middle-income countries. Children with their limited physical, cognitive, and social development characters are more prone to such mishaps. In the year 2014, their number was 6,901. In 2013, the percentage of children killed was 6.1% of total deaths on roads. 

Consumer Voice suggests these measures to ensure children are safe on roads

 

  • Mandatory use of child restraint systems
  • Protection of children under 4 years riding on two wheelers
  • Rationalization of penalties for life threatening offences
  • Blood Alcohol content regulation for new drivers
  • Scientific investigation of road crashes

 

The behavioural risk factors impacting child road safety are the following:

Child restraints reduce the likelihood of a fatal crash by approximately 70% among infants, and between 54-80% among young children. 

Adult seatbelts are not designed for children. Forward facing child restraints reduce the risk of serious injury by almost 80% compared to children restrained by seatbelts only. 

Child restraints are incorrectly used in 15-80% of cases, because the belt is not properly fastened, the child seat is incorrectly installed, or the belt is placed around a child's neck, under the arms, or across the abdomen. 

For children, wearing a helmet is the single most effective strategy for reducing the risk of injury to the head while riding bicycles or motorcycles. Children are more vulnerable to head injuries than adults as a result of not wearing helmets.

Consumer VOICE is keenly working on this crucial issue of Road Safety since last many years. We have submitted hundreds of letter to our Lawmakers and also organized many road safety awareness programmes across the country. We are also working with multiple stakeholders including road users and accident victims urging the policy makers to bring a strong Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill with stringent laws so that we provide fatality free ride on road to our future generation.

Sources:

http://ifros.org/education.php

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/a-road-to-our-childrens-future/Swain, R., Pooniya, S., Yadav, A., & Gupta, S. K. (2016).Mortality due to non-existence of child restraint system in India. Trauma, 18(3), 221-223

http://sites.ndtv.com/roadsafety/43-children-die-road-accidents-india-every-day-2546/National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), 2014

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