Road Safety Is No Accident
Drastic measures are required to
overcome the trend of increased road accidents, says the
United Nation's Children Fund at a function in
Hanoi to promote World Health Day today. The event will be celebrated on 7 April and the theme for this year is Road Safety Is No Accident.
During the last ten years, the number of road accidents has
increased four fold. According to Viet Nam Multi-centre
Injury Survey in 2001, 4,100 children died from traffic
accidents - 11 children a day. Boys are twice as likely to
die as girls. In the same year, 290,000 children were
injured or 794 a day. Road accidents are the leading cause
of death of children 15 years and older.
Road accidents have a devastating impact on Vietnamese
children, says Ms Isabelle Bardem, Chief of UNICEF's
Childhood Injury Prevention Programme. There are not only
the high number of deaths and injuries which often result in
severe disabilities but also the thousands of children
indirectly affected by their mother or father dying or being
injured in traffic accidents.
The majority of young children 0-9 years, who die on the
road, die as pedestrians. Most of the deaths of 10-14 years
old children occur when driving a bicycle, while all deaths
of adolescents aged 15-19 occur on a motorcycle.
Several factors explain the high incidence of road traffic
injuries among children and the general population:
- Limited awareness of road safety and its high death toll
- Limited knowledge of traffic rules
- Limited knowledge about safe driving behaviour
- Fatalistic view about traffic accidents. Many people do
not understand that these injuries are preventable.
- Unsafe traffic environment and poor road infrastructure.
For example, traffic warning signs are rare and no safe
areas for pedestrians.
- Use of motorcycle helmets is extremely low in spite of
good quality, locally produced helmets.
- Poor enforcement of traffic rules.
Since 2001, UNICEF has been supporting the Government of
Vietnam to reduce the number of child deaths due to
injuries with main focus on traffic injury as it is the
second leading cause of death among children one year of age
At the national level, UNICEF together with the Ministry of
Health, the Committee for Population, Family and Children,
and the National Traffic Safety Committee are raising
awareness on injury prevention and road safety. Posters and
leaflets on road safety and helmet use have been distributed
widely during the recent 22nd SEA Games.
UNICEF is advocating the understanding and enforcement of
traffic rules. It is also strongly promoting helmet use,
especially helmets for children, and safe driving behaviour
by young people. The common and high risk practice of
motorcycle weaving and racing is the source of many traffic
The following actions aimed at reducing road traffic injury
have been planned in 6 provinces - Hai Phong, Hai Duong,
Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Can Tho and Dong Thap:
- Install speed bumps, traffic lights, zebra crossings in
areas where there are lots of children.
- Implement an in-school injury prevention curriculum with
emphasis on information about being a pedestrian, bicycle or
- Organize children's competitions on road safety.
- Assist local people to implement different mass media
activities adapting specific local conditions.
- Train community communicators to visit households and give
advice on injury prevention including road traffic injuries.
- Assist the commune to provide child safe playgrounds
where children can play safely away from the traffic.
- Organize workshop for commune leaders on safety law
enforcement including traffic safety.
Alex Mazatti contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.all-motorcycle-helmets.com.
A buyers guide to all types of motorcycle helmets plus shields, goggles, custom and wired radio helmets.