The Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund recorded a reduction in injuries and fatalities involving children between the ages of zero to 15 years, in 2020.
MVA Fund’s comparative crash statistics for 2019 and 2020 show that 379 children were injured in road crashes, which is a reduction of 31 per cent from 550 recorded in 2019, while fatalities also decreased by 24 per cent from 85 to 65 in 2020.
In a statement availed to Nampa, MVA Fund Chief of Corporate Affairs, Surihe Gaomas-Guchu however stated that despite the notable reduction in road crashes involving children, there is an indication that children remain vulnerable road users.
“These figures are overtly high, considering the COVID-19 restrictions on movement and school operations in 2020,” she said.
Gaomas-Guchu said MVA Fund will continue rolling out school activation initiatives as outlined in its strategic plan to counter the worrisome trend of children perishing in road crashes and ensure the reduction of injuries and fatalities among school going children. She added that the commencement of the 2021 school year warrants reinforcement of basic road safety education by stakeholders to support all children’s safe return to school.
“Taking centre-stage in awareness raising initiatives at national level, COVID-19 has led to unprecedented changes in our lives and has placed other public health concerns such as road safety in limbo. Therefore, in tandem with promoting adherence to COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, addressing road safety risks remains a priority as schools return to a new normal,” she stressed.
She also urged those responsible for transporting children to and from school to plan and prepare their journey to avoid engaging in dangerous driving habits such as speeding. Meanwhile, children who cycle or walk to school are urged to exercise extra caution and be visible to motorists at all times.
“MVA Fund calls for strengthened road safety compliance by all road users to make the journey to school safer; motorists are requested to slow down, be alert and obey speed limits around school vicinities. The public is reminded to report all crashes to the new accident response number: 9682,” said Gaomas-Guchu.
National Road Safety Council Head of Corporate Communication, Ambrosius Tierspoor reiterated that the road safety of children requires community wide collaboration in which parents are mostly required to ensure the safety of their children.
“Parents should help us as a council to ensure that their children are safe. The Private Sector Road Safety Forum used to help us out by going to schools and assisting with safe journeys to school. It was not official, however, it is something that parents could collaborate on with the council and schools in the near future,” Tierspoor said.