Safety for the Youngest Worldwide

Particularly in low and middle income countries, much remains to be done to improve road safety for children.

Nearly 112,000 children under the age of 15 were killed in road accidents worldwide in 2017. Photo: Shutterstock - intararit

Nearly 112,000 children under the age of 15 were killed in road accidents worldwide in 2017. Photo: Shutterstock – intararit

The figures are alarming: according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington, nearly 112,000 children under the age of 15 were killed in road accidents worldwide in 2017 – 49,000 of them under the age of five and 62,500 between the ages of 5 and 14. Asia led the list in 2017 with nearly 52,000 deaths, followed by Africa with about 47,550, America with about 9,200 and Europe with about 2,800. If one considers that in 1990 there were a total of 223,500 road deaths in these two age groups, more than twice as many as in 2017, the development to date is quite positive. Nevertheless, the current situation is by no means satisfactory.

So there is still much to be done – and fortunately that is what is happening in many countries. Numerous national initiatives and road safety programmes underline that awareness of the importance of children’s road safety has increased considerably and that more and more efforts are being made to contribute to sustainable optimisation. This applies in particular to low and middle-income countries. In November 2018, for example, transport ministers from all over Africa joined the global ambassador of the Child Health Initiative, Zoleka Mandela, and her partners at the 1st African Road Safety Forum in Marrakech, who published a new report entitled “Un grand pas en avant”.

The report on 'Un grand pas en avant' was submitted by Zoleka Mandela, Ambassador of the Child Health Initiative, to the African Road Safety Forum in Marrakech. Photo: FIA Foundation

The report on ‘Un grand pas en avant’ was submitted by Zoleka Mandela, Ambassador of the Child Health Initiative, to the African Road Safety Forum in Marrakech. Photo: FIA Foundation

The report, prepared jointly by the FIA Foundation and the organisations Amend and Humanity & Inclusion, is aimed in particular at French-speaking countries in Africa and calls for efficient measures to be taken, including in terms of infrastructure and speed management, to help increase the safety of walking children in countries such as Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal. Background: Children are killed twice as often in road accidents in sub-Saharan Africa as anywhere else in the world. The report follows on from the 2016 publication “Step Change”, which highlighted road safety solutions developed in countries such as Tanzania, Zambia and Ghana.

The African Road Safety Observatory, developed by the FIA Foundation together with the WHO and a consortium consisting of the FIA, the International Transport Forum and the World Bank, was also presented at the Forum in Marrakech. The International Road Traffic Accident Database (IRTAD) also played an important advisory role. Following its example, the African Road Safety Observatory is to collect data on road accidents and other indicators with the help of national governments in Africa and thus make them comparable.

Entrance of Justin Kabwe Primary School in Lusaka, Zambia: Thanks to an infrastructure project supported by FedEx and the FIA Foundation, the once dangerous access roads were brought to a high level of safety. Photo: Edward Echwalu

Entrance of Justin Kabwe Primary School in Lusaka, Zambia: Thanks to an infrastructure project supported by FedEx and the FIA Foundation, the once dangerous access roads were brought to a high level of safety. Photo: Edward Echwalu

Many initiatives have also been launched on the other continents in recent years. For example, the “Vision Zero for Youth” pilot project in Mexico City. This makes it the first Latin American city to place children and young people at the center of its goal of reducing the number of road deaths. The pilot project, supported by the city management agency ITDP and the insurance company AXA, is primarily aimed at getting to school. Together with teachers and students, the most dangerous intersections near schools were identified and various traffic calming measures – such as wider sidewalks, shorter pedestrian crossings, speed limits and bollards -were initiated.

Another of many beautiful success stories comes from Vietnam: Against the background that many children there are brought to school by motorbike, the Vietnamese government distributed motorcycle helmets free of charge to almost 1.8 million first-graders throughout the country at the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year.

The facts mentioned here and many more on the safety of children in road traffic can be found in the current DEKRA Road Safety Report 2019, which can be downloaded from www.dekra-roadsafety.com in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. In addition, there is further content in the form of videos or interactive graphics.

Related articles
 
Magazine Topics
 
Newsletter