With the expected increase in the number of children on the roads when the new academic year begins on Monday (September 4), motorists are being urged to look out for children as they travel to and from school.
Education/ Information Officer for the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Mining, Cameal Stewart, is imploring motorists to use extra caution on the roads, particularly during peak hours.
She noted that 10 children have died in road accidents since the start of the year.
Ms. Stewart is reminding motorists that they are to reduce their speed to a maximum of 30 kilometres per hour (kp/h) when approaching school zones.
“Motorists should be looking out for children as they are smaller in stature and they are not as able-bodied as we are to manoeuvre the roads properly,” she pointed out.
Ms. Stewart is also urging parents not to allow small children to travel alone on the road.
“Ensure that children are accompanied by a responsible adult or travel with older siblings or with large groups when travelling on the road,” she said.
She noted that in cases children must travel by themselves they must be educated on the proper use of the road.
Children should always use the sidewalks and where there are none they should walk on the right side of the road facing oncoming traffic at all times.
Also, the use of cellular phones and ear phones or playing on the road should be discouraged.
For adults accompanying a child, Ms. Stewart reminds them to “hold their hands when they are going to school. Put them on the inside, not the outside where there is traffic. In the case of motorists, we ask parents also to buckle them up in their seatbelts or car seats.”
She further recommends that when dropping children off at school, ensure that this is done at the curb or school gate where they can walk inside the school compound. Do not let them out in the road.
For persons transporting children via motorcycle or bicycle, Ms. Stewart said they should ensure that children are wearing protective devices.
Children should wear a protective helmet, knee guards, elbow pads and a safety vest. Also, only two persons should be transported on these vehicles at a time.
Parents are advised to practice the ‘golden rules’ for road safety with children. These are: Think first; stop, look and listen for traffic; look right, then left for oncoming traffic and cross only when it is safe to do so.