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Every 10 days there’s a ‘school shooting’ on South Africa’s roads

File picture: Matthew Jordaan / Independent Media.

File picture: Matthew Jordaan / Independent Media.

Published May 27, 2022

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Johannesburg - The USA was left in shock once again this week, following a tragic school shooting that cost the lives of 19 children and two teachers in Texas.

According to official figures, gun-related deaths have overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of death among young people in the USA.

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According to MasterDrive CEO Eugene Herbert, South Africa is facing its very own youth crisis and it’s not necessarily as visible as the one in the US.

“Car crashes remain a leading cause of death for youth in South Africa,” Herbert said. “In 2020 it was estimated that 672 children between the ages of zero and nine, died on South African roads. This means that every 10 days in South Africa, 19 children die on our roads.

“The gravity of this loss, however, is not fully grasped because it does not receive the same attention and media coverage that it would if all 19 children died on the same day in a crash.”

This means that every 10 days South Africa loses the same number of children that the US lost in that tragic mass shooting in Texas.

“As the USA again questions how to change this tragic state of affairs, it is also time for South Africa to question how to change our own tragic reality. Children in the USA are trained what to do should a shooter enter their school, yet, are South African children being educated about safely using the roads, whether as passengers or pedestrians. For many children, the answer is no,” Herbert added.

The first and most obvious step would be to teach children some of the most basic road safety rules, Herbert said. When Maserdrive previously worked with children, he was shocked to see that the majority of young ones did not know how to use a seatbelt properly.

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Clearly more attention needs to be paid to protecting these lives, not only through education but also through ensuring that parents buckle their children up in the correct car seat for their age.

Sadly there are just too many parents out there that don’t bother to buckle their children up. Is this really any different to playing Russian Roulette with their lives?

“Such a situation is an indictment on all road users and the role they should be playing in protecting their passengers, particularly vulnerable ones,” Herbert said.

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“We wish to share our condolences with every parent that lost a child whether that be in the shooting incident or in a South African car crash”.

IOL Motoring

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