Target road safety education at children – Alhaji Dauda

Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Transport, on Friday said road safety education should be targeted at children, especially those below 10 years.

“Ensuring safety on our roads should start with the road safety conscious child, expected to grow into a responsible adult road user”, he added.

Alhaji Dauda made the observation in a speech delivered on his behalf by Mrs Dzifa Attivor, Deputy Minister of Transport, at the launch of Road Safety Education Textbooks for Primary and Junior High School students in Accra.

He said available statistics from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) indicated that child fatalities accounted for 17 per cent of all deaths through road crashes in Ghana.

In addition, pedestrian fatalities constituted 42 per cent of all fatalities in Ghana, out of which 23 per cent involved children.

This, he said, underscored the initiative by the NRSC in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and other partners and funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), to introduce textbooks on road safety education in schools.

“The initiative will sufficiently expose children of school going age to the demand on them to be responsible road users, which should become part of their daily habits as they grow into adulthood”, he added.

Alhaji Dauda revealed that over 80 per cent of recent road crashes could be attributed to human error on the part of drivers and could have been avoided if road traffic regulations and regard for other road users had been applied.

He said it was in the light of this that the National Drivers Academy was launched last year in collaboration with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Government Technical Training Centre.

The Academy is to provide professional specialised driver training solutions to drivers, towards improving their competences therefore, it has rolled out a programme to target at commercial drivers.

“It is my expectation that transport operators, unions and vehicle owners would take interest in the programme to help build capacity of their drivers”, he said.

Alhaji Dauda urged the GES to speed up the process to implement the teaching of road safety in schools and pledged government’s commitment to strengthen the NRSC to be able to sustain the initiative and deliver its mandate of promoting road safety in the country.

Mrs May Obiri-Yeboah, Director Of Planning and Programmes at NRSC, said a recent study revealed that child road traffic fatalities constituted 20 per cent of all traffic fatalities in Ghana, with an average of 310 deaths annually, involving children in traffic fatalities.

It was initiated by the Commission and undertaken by Building Road Research Institute (BRRI) of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), under the Transport Sector Programme Support Phase II.

The study, which covered the period 2001-2005, also revealed that children between seven to nine years and four to six years were mostly involved in fatal crashes than other age groups.

With the exception of the Greater Accra Region, 60–80 per cent of these deaths were associated with the non-urban road environment.

Moreover, the study showed among others, that one out of every three people killed in traffic was a child, constituting 35 per cent of all pedestrian fatalities and 80 per cent of all traffic fatalities among children in Ghana.

Mrs Obiri-Yeboah said these indicated that children were most vulnerable in road traffic and that walking as a means of transport by children was highly risky.

“The diminutive size of children makes it difficult for drivers to see them, especially if they are standing between parked cars or are among other roadside objects”, she said.

Mrs Obiri-Yeboah added that recommendations of the study had led to the production of the textbooks to help focus road safety education on those who were most vulnerable; children, especially those below 10 years and those living in village communities along major highways.

“Road safety education for children should be the shared responsibility of parents, teachers, drivers and community leaders”, she said.

Source: GNA

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