Child safety in the streets needs to be prioritised further, particularly as children start walking to school again. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Child safety in the streets needs to be prioritised further, particularly as children start walking to school again. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Children’s safety must be a priority on the roads

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Oct 20, 2020

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Cape Town - Child safety in the streets needs to be prioritised further, particularly as children start walking to school again after being at home for months.

Awareness around children’s safety also comes to light after a recent accident in Somerset Road where a young girl, who was crossing a street with her friends, was hit by a car. Both her legs were broken and she had internal injuries.

MasterDrive managing director Eugene Herbert said: “As South Africa settles into its new normal, more emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring the safety of schoolchildren on the roads. The majority of children need to make their way to school by walking, cycling or using public transport, so it is essential that not only authorities but drivers themselves do their part in making sure a child does not face danger just by going to school.”

He said authorities must do their part in ensuring there was strict regulation on school routes and penalties when these are disobeyed.

“Drivers need to obey the regulation and exert extra caution when they see schoolchildren on the road.”

Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust chief executive Jason Falken said: “Road safety is very important, but there is a misconception that it is something in the realm of traffic or law enforcement. I think at the core of it all is the behaviour of our citizens.

“It is we who must take ownership of the problem and change the way we use the roads and perceive pedestrians and other road users. Especially our children.”

Falken said road users rushing to get to their destination seldom saved time, which then led to more frustration and worsened behaviour on the road.

According to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, 552 of 771 transport-related trauma cases were pedestrian accidents last year.

From 2015 until August this year, the figure stands at 3 850.

“We should instead consider the impact our behaviour has on the lives of our children and fellow road users. There really is no need for the poor behaviour we see on our roads,” said Falken.

Cape Argus

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