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85% of Road Deaths Young Men

Roughly 85% of the persons killed on the road are young men and many of them who are behind the wheel are improperly trained or impaired due to drug or alcohol use.

The startling statistic was released at the award presentation for Schools Road Safety Patrols, held on Monday at the Police Officers’ Mess, Eve Leary, where Transport Minister Robeson Benn warned students to look out for men, who are the predominant users of the road and drivers.

“It is important for us to get to young male drivers with respect to changing the culture, their appreciation, understanding, personal responsibility and responsibility too for the person they take and transport for their own safety, and what they have to do for us to have a changed behaviour, a change in the culture, a change in the results we are seeing,” Benn was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

He said many of the young male drivers are poorly trained or get into trouble through impaired driving, either through drug or alcohol use and driving while distracted. “Minibus parks where people drink and drive, take drugs and drive, get aggressive and almost in a ferocious mood drive off… all of these things lead to impaired driving and put the society and persons in the vehicle and other road users at risk… Many of our people who use the road in Guyana do so in an unsafe environment, in a culture of impunity, of being contemptuous to other road users, not being courteous, being insolent to the police… This is the culture which we have to change and the only way we can have a change in this culture is we have to set our goals, we have to communicate the change we want to happen… we have to accept that we can improve, that we will improve and that we want to improve,” he was also reported as saying.

Guyana is ranked number four in the Caribbean with respect to road deaths, according to Benn, who said that despite efforts to improve the traffic infrastructure, maintaining a focus on education and in changing the culture and behaviour of our road users is more important.

He pointed out that over the last five years, road fatalities have fluctuated between 113 and 115 persons annually, representing an almost 50% drop in the figure in 2007, when there were 207 road fatalities. This development, he noted, occurred although there is now an average of 80,000 vehicles on the roads of Guyana. For this, Benn credited improvement in enforcement through revamping of the laws by the Guyana Police Force’s Traffic Department and the introduction of breathalyzer tests and initiatives with respect to speeding and driving while distracted.

GINA said Benn, however, cautioned that “we cannot rest on our laurels” and added that the effort at reminding the public about road safety remains important at this time, when there are an increasing number of vehicles and activities on the roadways.

He issued a challenge to the Mini-bus Association, School Safety Patrols and Traffic Police, the Ministry of Public Works and individual operators and road users to work towards reducing the road fatalities in Guyana to below 100 in 2013. He, however, added that this record could only be achieved if persons recognise that “road safety is a personal responsibility in the first instance, and that we have to collaborate with all the agencies, to educate and engage with all the stakeholders with respect to this effort.”

Benn, according to GINA, urged the schoolchildren present to “interface with your parents, with persons who may be driving the vehicle in which you are, to say to them where they might have done something wrong while on the road or while you were in the vehicle that makes you feel unsafe, and that you may need to come out of the vehicle.”

He explained that through the constant reaching out to schools through the Traffic Safety Associations, a direct link is made with parents and persons who may take the children to school. Minister Benn said that those persons who may interface with children in this manner “can have a sharp reminder, because particularly when a child reminds a father or an adult that they may be doing something that is improper with respect to road usage it comes home in a more direct manner.”

He also encouraged the schoolchildren to have the bravery and the assertiveness to speak to people on improper use of the road.

GINA said the event targeted mainly schoolchildren, with the aim of getting them to pass the road safety message on to the adults in their lives.

In addition to Benn’s urgings, Nigel Erskine, Chairman of the Guyana National Road Safety Council (GNRSC), urged the students to apply what they have learnt when they use the road, while saying the loss of young lives is a tragedy all must try to avoid.

Lucille Bacchus, who lost her two children on the roadways during road safety month, was present and reminded the students that road safety continues every day and begins with them. She urged them to make a difference whenever they are travelling, to let drivers know when they are wrong and to report wrongdoings by drivers.

Traffic Chief, Assistant Commander of Police Brian Joseph likewise urged children to report wrongdoings and to take to take vehicle numbers. He also cautioned them about their own road use, pointing out that a great number of them do not use the pedestrian crossings near the schools. Joseph also cautioned them about the use of cell phones while using the road.

GINA said the Guyana Trinidad Mutual Life Insurance Company Ltd presented the GNRSC with 20 Stop paddles to be given to schools with trained Road Safety Patrols.

Presentations were also made to the two schools which topped the Schools Safety Patrol Competition, with the first prize going to the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School while second place went to the Tucville Secondary School. North Ruimveldt teacher Kirwyn Mars received an award for being the Best School Safety Patrol Teacher for 2012.

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Namibia: Road Death Toll Rises to 506

BY Tuesday, the number of road deaths in Namibia so far this year had climbed to 506.

There are still 26 days left of the year, but already the death toll exceeds the total figure for last year.

In 2011, 492 people were killed on the country’s roads, Catherine Shipushu, the spokesperson of the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF), said yesterday.

A total of 58 people died in road accidents during December last year.

Shipushu this week said it is likely that more lives will be lost in the next few weeks as the nation prepares for the festive season.

To try and curb the carnage on the roads, the MVAF and its road-safety partners launched the annual Xupifa Eemwenyo ‘Save Lives’ road safety campaign this week.

The campaign was first introduced in 2005. It implements specific targeted interventions aimed at preventing the loss of lives on national roads during and after the festive season, Shipushu said.

This year’s campaign will focus on supporting law enforcement to enable the police to effectively roll out interventions such as random alcohol and speeding checks, she said.

“Roadblocks will be set up and tight law enforcement operations will be deployed to ensure motorists comply with traffic rules. Common road offences such as overloading, speeding, drinking and driving and unroadworthy vehicles will be closely monitored and offenders will pay the price for their unruly road behaviour.”

According to her, the campaign will also focus on educating drivers about the dangers associated with reckless and negligent driving.

“That way, the nation gets to understand the very real dangers that exist on our roads. As part of public education and awareness creation, educational material on road safety will be made available to road users during the campaign period.”

She said during the 2011/ 2012 festive season, 938 people were injured in road crashes. As a result of this, some still battle with life-threatening injuries and permanent disability.

Because of this, the MVAF tries to ensure that injured people receive medical assistance within the ‘golden hour’ following a crash, she said. “This will ensure that they have a higher chance of survival.”

The MVAF urges motorists not to take unnecessary risks such as overtaking more than one vehicle at a time. Also, drivers must make sure that all passengers wear their seat belts.

Furthermore, those who drive long distances must take safety breaks every two hours in order to avoid driver fatigue.

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Killer Tracks: The Blood on our Roads (Opinion)

Ankush Bansal, a batchmate of mine from IIM-Ahmedabad, had started an educational venture and spoke about it with much excitement at the batch reunion we had on campus in 2010. His wife was there too and he had two kids back home in Delhi. People jibed him about the days when he would sit in the first row of the class and doze off and his long-winded “CP” (class participation).
Last Sunday Bansal died. In a car crash while travelling from Dehradun to Delhi. About 142,485 people died in road accidents in 2011 in India. Every year this number has been increasing. In 2002, it was 84,672. Among those who die are some of the country’s vibrant, young, talented people whose promising lives are reduced to statistics.
The World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety says that India is the undisputed world leader in road accidents. This is one area where we have successfully beaten our traditional rival, China. Every minute there is a road accident in India and every 3.7 minutes a resulting death. Mumbai leads followed by Delhi, Bangalore, Indore and Bhopal.
What are the causes? According to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, 78% of the accidents are because of the driver’s fault. The fault being mostly drunken driving. Almost all the fatalities on the road which occur on highways are due to drunken truck drivers. While cops have started imposing heavy fines on drunk drivers, there is no checking on a tanked up truck driver swaying in the highway especially at nights. That is why trucks cause 40% of all road accidents.
Prince Singhal has been an activist against drunken driving in Delhi since 1992. I ask him if the enforcement against drunk drivers has been stricter because the number of challans issued has gone up from 12,784 in 2009 to about 22,000 this year. But he tells me it is a false comfort. “In a city of about 6.5 million vehicles, the number of challans should be much more. Besides, the scale of drinking is huge in the city and has been increasing. Every locality has a theka or a club, so given the number of drunks on the road, the number of challans issued are nothing,” said Singhal.
He points out that there is no patrolling after midnight, the penalty is Rs.2,000, which any rich guy getting out of a pub can pay and more importantly, a challan is not a sufficient deterrent. He advocates that there should be more stringent punishment such as impounding of the vehicle or a jail term.
In Singapore, the punishment for drunken driving on the first offence can be as much as Singapore $5,000 (Rs.223,520) and six months of imprisonment. In the UK, it is similar along with a driving ban for 12-36 months. In Canada, it is a criminal offence, not “rash and negligent act” as it is in India. In the US, too licences are revoked and in 30 states, multiple offenders may forfeit vehicles that are driven while impaired by alcohol. In Delhi, the punishment for a second offence is Rs.3,000, the cost of a few cocktails. We are a truly tolerant society.
At least, drunken driving is a recognized offence and the revised Motor Vehicles Act is expected to raise the penalty. But there are various other reasons for motor accidents which are yet to come under any legal net.
Last week, my cousin had come down from Dubai and while we were enroute from the airport we saw a truck before us with those long rusty iron rods that trucks, tempos and handcarts nonchalantly carry in India to construction sites. They jut out of the vehicle, swaying menacingly with their edges ready to pierce through the windshield of the vehicle behind. That’s what happened, to a friend, my cousin said. This bright, beautiful girl took an auto in Chennai, which was following a vehicle transporting such rods. The auto braked suddenly and a rod pierced through her forehead. It was her engagement day. In June 1992, Carnatic music doyen Maharajapuram Santhanam, whose rich, sonorous voice could mesmerize even philistines, was returning from a concert in Kumbakonam when he died similarly in a road accident on the highway.
Who’s going to ban transport of iron rods in open vehicles?
In smaller towns of Goa and Karnataka, iron ore is transported by trucks which deteriorates road condition as there is heavy movement of truck traffic. The bad roads in turn create conditions for accidents. The local folks have called for a ban but the powerful mining lobby ensures it stays temporary.
Accidents also occur because of our appalling inability to follow any rules which is often romanticized as a “we are like this only” characteristic. Novelist Chandrahas Chaudhary makes a pertinent point in an article in Bloomberg about road safety. “The tumult of horns and cursing voices, the speeding and overtaking vehicles, the motorists casually running red lights, the pedestrians jumping into traffic or hopping off moving buses—all this isn’t, unfortunately, an expression of the chaos and bustle of street life celebrated in some accounts of the subcontinent, but rather a sign of a shocking flippancy and pointless bravado.”
The trouble with road safety enforcement in India is that it is a low priority item for policymakers. It is buttressed by our huge tolerance of death and injury on our roads. Perhaps that has to do with our outlook of fatalism and detachment. Else there should be rage against those who recklessly mow down people on the road. There should be vociferous demands for better laws and stricter policing. But none of that happens. Because we are a country where an actor who drives over sleeping pavement dwellers thrives on and gets into the Rs.100 crore club of Bollywood.

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Oman Road Safety Association participates in awareness seminar on traffic safety

Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA), the first and only registered non-governmental road safety organisation, recently participated in an awareness seminar organised by Team ‘Suroor’ as part of the ‘Your Safety Your Happiness’ campaign at Suroor School for Girls in the Wilayat of Samail.
In the presence of Royal Oman Police representatives, the seminar guests included students’ parents from a number of schools in the Wilayat as well as school bus drivers and teachers.

During her lecture on road safety awareness, Shaima Murtadha Al Lawati, ORSA Chief Executive Officer, stated the objectives of the association and its diverse range of activities. She also emphasised on the role of the community in leveraging and activating partnerships between the association and general public to further educate individuals on traffic etiquette and practices.

Shaima Al Lawati also touched upon the role of the Sultanate in activating the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020 which was officially launched on 5th March 2010. The Sultanate continues to develop its national plan to coordinate and implement activities supporting road safety at local, regional and international levels.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety offers a common road map for reaching the ambitious goal of reducing road traffic fatalities globally by 50 per cent. The implementation plan is guided by key pillars which include better road-safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road-user behaviour and better post-crash care.

Al Lawati added that basic principles and guidelines should be reintroduced especially in regards to speed control by saying, “Speed control and managements aims to decrease the number of traffic accidents and reduce serious injuries and deaths caused by reckless driving. Such an initiative would require a commitment by both public and private sectors to reinforce existing Government laws, overall infrastructure and further strengthen knowledge and raise awareness on this vital issue of concern.”

She added, “Our joint commitment and dedication towards deterring people from speeding will further reinforce the rules we must abide to as lawful citizens. In order to achieve such objectives we need to continue educating local communities and arming them with the knowledge advocacy tools required.” In line with the seminar’s agenda, Abdullah Juma Al Ghailani, Director of Traffic Department in Samail, also gave a lecture on road safety awareness.

ORSA was registered at the Ministry of Social Development on March 15th 2010. Its key activities involve training and capacity building, organising walks, and raising awareness campaigns targeting the general public as well as carrying out sustainable projects and surveys on road safety in partnership with a number of organisations.

Launched in October 2012, the traffic safety campaign currently being rolled out by Team ‘Suroor’ includes a number of awareness activities for youth on traffic laws and regulations.

The team’s objectives aim to serve the community through awareness initiatives and road safety education and transforming youth into ambassadors for the cause.

The campaign encourages youth to be active volunteers and community members who shed light on safe driving.

The seminar represents one of Oman Road Safety Association’s (ORSA) strategies to partner with fellow organisations to advocate for traffic safety and communicate the importance of awareness campaigns.

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NGO Launches Crusade Against Drunk Driving

An NGO has launched a campaign to make people, especially youth, aware of the vulnerability of drunken driving, especially in the festive season. The festive season is considered to be the most dangerous as it witnesses the maximum number of fatal accidents, which rise relatively with the increase in sales of alcohol.

A campaign against drunken driving has been launched by Campaign Against Drunken Driving to reach out to the common man with the message of “don’t drink and drive” this season. Beginning December 7, as a part of the National Road Safety Week, the campaign will culminate on January 7.
CADD founder Prince Singhal said, “The rising liquor sales and the incidents of drunk driving tragedies is a proof that it is on a rise, thus this campaign has been put in place to constantly remind road users not to drink and drive.” “People in the age group of 15 to 50 years will be targeted, right from school students to pub goers,” he added.
According to the statistics, every year about 1,42,000 people are killed in road accidents in India, of which drunk driving kills over a lakh on New Year’s eve. Hence, the rate of fatal accidents increases by 22-25 per cent.
The campaign would incorporate various activities that would also include, presentation of a one-minute film and a song stay alive, don’t drink and drive that would be played across pubs. Besides these, the campaign would also organise community walk in various parts of Delhi and youth cycle rally in North and South campuses of Delhi University.

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“Accident” Prevention is Everyone’s Responsibility

Liberty Dube
ROAD accident prevention is everyone’s responsibility, a cabinet minister has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by the director of operations in the Ministry of Transport, communications and Infrastructural Development, Mr Pamela Maingire at the occasion to remember road traffic victims held in Nyazura recently, Minister Nicholas Goche said collective action is need to curb carnages on the highways.
He said his ministry was working closely with relevant stakeholders to come up with strategies top reduce accidents.
“Pursuant to this objective by ministry, the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and its co-operating stakeholders have been rolling out programmes and activities targeting drinking and driving, road use by pedestrians and cyclists, tyres, overloading, cellphone use by motorists, speeding, seat-belt use and child car seats, as well as road safety education in schools and colleges.
“We have also engaged churches and we believe we will succeed in our endevours.
“Let us make 2011-2020 a decade to remember for our people and country, taking action to save lives of others will be our greatest tribute to the memory of those already lost,” he said.
Cde Goche urged people to work together: “This is a battle for the entire nation, the whole continent and the world. We have a war to end the trauma and death caused by road crashes. I call partnerships with organised labour, business, the religious community and civil society to end this scourge.
“We cannot go on pretending day by day that someone someday will come and make a change. Road safety is our absolute responsibility and it can only be a conscious individual effort that we can transform to a good image in terms of road traffic horrors. In taking this decision, we need to remember that each one of us could be the next victim if we do not choose to take immediate preventive measures.” he said.

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‘Road Safety’ charms drivers

Though commuters are aware of the road safety rules and measures, there is every possibility of taking things for granted. The campaign not only helps one broaden their awareness on traffic rules and sense but also inspires many to abide by it, said a few of the passersby who took part in the quiz during the two-day tableau on Road Safety organised by The Hindu in association with Shriram Panorama Hills.

“One should not respond to the mobile phones while driving. Half the accidents can be avoided if they follow this simple rule,” said AGM of Narayana College N. Srinivasa Rao, offering a tip during the campaign at the RK Beach on Sunday. Others suggested that being preoccupied while driving, not wearing helmets and not abiding by the traffic signals appear to be main causes for accidents.

On the second day, the truck with the mangled car started off from GVMC to Zoo via Jail Road Market in the morning. In the evening, the truck was taken round the city passing through the roads of RK Beach and Maddilapalem. The tableau was flagged off by Deputy Transport Commissioner Md. Salim. Appreciating the initiative, he said that one can also collect leaflets on road safety at the Transport Department. “Life is short and valuable. Everyone should strictly follow traffic rules. Accidents appear to be rampant among the youth between 20-25 years of age. Strict adherence to traffic rules can prevent most of the accidents,” he said.

The campaign was held in line with the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’ (2011-2020) declared by the UN General Assembly. The truck carrying the mangled car and the quizzing with gifts on the offer drew attention of the passersby.

Motor Vehicle Inspectors A.H. Khan, R.C.H. Srinivas and M. Butchi Raju and others were present.

Keywords: road safety rules and measures, awareness campaign

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Most Dying in Road “Accidents” are Youths, Wage Earners

ALLAHABAD: At least 30% of casualties on road in the country take a toll on lives of those in the age group of 15 to 25 years, says the recent WHO ( World Health Organization) report. Ironically, the worst indicator of the report on road fatalities is that more than half of the accidents claim the lives of young wage-earners.

The traffic police department, while probing the factors responsible behind 11 major road mishaps cases that occurred within fortnight including Soraon, Industrial Area, Kaudhiyara and Mauaima and claimed 23 lives and left 27 others injured, found that most of deaths were of those in the age group of 16 to 33 years and five of them were wage-earners groups.
WHO report too revealed that the age profile of accident victims other than drivers during 2011 in the country was 25 to 65 years accounting for the largest share of 51.9% of total road accidents and casualties, followed by the 15-24 years age group comprising 30.3%.

The fact is that it’s not HIV/AIDS or any other disease which is the major killer of productive youth across the globe but road accidents.

After witnessing road rage and casualties on city streets and highways, traffic police in the district have been monitoring road safety measures with a strict hand.

With intense checking, physical ability of drivers, including buses, tempos and auto underway, traffic police officials are also interacting with road users seeking their active cooperation to make roads more safe and sound.

Traffic inspector I P Singh said, “We have adapted strict implementation of traffic rules on city streets and measures for road safety have been taken in the same regard”. He added that officials are maintaining a database on road accidents, as well as accident prevention measures at ‘accident-prone areas’ on city streets and connecting highways.

Efforts are also underway to improve the traffic scenario and errant drivers are being punished on spot. However, drivers are being taught lessons in responsible driving to minimise accidents of fatal and non-fatal kinds.

The ministry of road transport and highways has observed that road accidents on national highways constitute 31% of the total figure in the country. About 36% of total road fatalities every year occur on national highways.

Traffic police officials are still aiming to provide road safety education among masses, especially youngsters, and reach it to every commuter. “If we go through the reasons behind road accidents in fatal and non-fatal category, negligence on the part of driver was seen as the major reason,” said a senior cop, adding “following traffic norms is the only solution to check accidents on roads. With over eight lakh vehicles running on streets, it is the responsibility of every driver to follow traffic rules and regulations in all circumstances” said the traffic inspector.

While the analysis of road accident data reveals that driver’s fault was the single most common factor (78%) in road accidents, stress is being laid on educating drivers and making them aware of road safety norms.

The loss of the sole earning member of a family can be disastrous and all drivers must remember that, the latest report of road accidents in India compiled by the road transport and highways ministry said.

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Creating Awareness on Road Safety

Initiative taken by The Hindu in association with Shriram Panorama Hills

First and foremost importance should be given to the pedestrians. It is high time we take up such road safety initiatives and spread the message by creating more awareness, Commissioner of Police B. Shivadhar Reddy said before flagging off the tableau on Road Safety near Kalimatha Temple on the Beach Road here on Saturday.

Addressing the gathering, he said that the Police Department alone cannot bring down incidence of road mishaps. However, a collective effort is required from the public and private organisations apart from the police to promote and implement safety rules effectively in the city. He lauded the initiative taken by The Hindu in association with Shriram Panorama Hills to create awareness on road safety, traffic rules and to wear protective gear while driving.

The campaign was organised in line with the ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’ (2011-2020) declared by the UN General Assembly.

As part of the road show, some 100 students from Bhashyam Public School, MVP Colony took out a rally from Kalimatha Temple to Aqua Sports Complex carrying placards like ‘don’t fool yourself, avoid risky road crossing’, ‘wear a helmet and save your life’, ‘zebra-crossing for pedestrians only’ and ‘don’t use mobile phone while driving’.

A truck carrying a mangled car was taken round the city passing through important roads like YMCA, Maddilapalem, Bullayya College, Satyam junction, Gurudwara junction, NAD junction and Gajuwaka junction, halting for a while and distributing leaflets on tips for safety driving. The campaign drew the attention of the passersby as traffic awareness quiz was conducted and gifts were given to those who answered them correctly.

Stressing the importance of road safety, general manager marketing of Shriram Properties Ramesh Menon said: “The city is developing and the infrastructure is not enough for the growing population leading to road mishaps. Every individual needs to understand the concept of the safety rules and abide by the traffic rules.”

Additional DCP V. Suresh Babu, Motor Vehicle Inspector M. Butchi Raju, senior marketing manager of Shriram Properties Ravi Shankar, The Hindu regional general manager T.V. Suresh and others were present.

On Sunday

On the second day of the campaign the tableau will start from GVMC at 9 a.m. where Deputy Transport Commissioner Md.Salim would be the chief guest. The vehicle will go to the Zoo in the morning and try and create awareness among the visitors there. In the evening it would start from RK Beach and go to CMR Central via YMCA.

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Child Safety: A Parental Responsibility!!!

Are you a parent? Single or double, if you know what I mean? Do you have kids? Have you ever lost a child through a road crash? Do you own a car or cars? Two,three or just one car? How do you transport your child in that car? What is the value of the car or cars? Are they like mine? Tokunbo or tear rubber? Please forgive me for these questions. They are necessary in laying the foundation for today’s discussion WHICH IS ON CHILD SAFETY…

As a parent,or guardian,do you know of the provisions of section 58(4) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2004 which makes it mandatory for all occupants of a vehicle to use a seatbelt for their safety? Do you know that this provision covers children also? When I stressed you with those questions, I merely wanted to challenge your consciousness to the dangers we expose our children to, despite our claim that we love and cherish them so much. Most of us who have heeded the Federal Road Safety Corps’ call to use seat belt, unfortunately do not see any sense in protecting our children while driving by strapping them. Some lap them.

Others leave them unattended to in moving vehicles. Some claim strapping these kids in a car seat is alien. This group maintain that strapping children in a car is meant for the whiteman not a blackman. I believe this group knows what they are saying, afterall,these vehicles were manufactured in Oshodi by our Engineers. Others say the cost for a car seat is high even though the cheapest among these cars cost as low as 500,000 naira while others go for as high as 5 million naira, compared to car seats which range from just about 25,000 naira for the protection of the life of God’s precious gift. These same parents would not mind hanging out with friends and business partners to spend thousands on drinks, pepper soup and other extras.The female ones would prefer spending thousands of naira on designer shoes and bags, but not on the safety of their children.This is what we call choices. It has been over NINE years since the Corps came up with the seat belt driving culture. Yet observation shows that a greater percentage of parents and guardians don’t care about child safety. Daily, these children, whether in school buses or family vehicles, are transported without any iota of safety. This worry prompted the Federal Road Safety Corps, Arrive Alive, Child Safety Foundation and El-elyon to birth the idea of a child passenger safety campaign in Lagos with the theme,’’dont kill the child, kill the bad habit’’ aimed at raising safety awareness on children safety.

This is because,road safety crisis is the leading cause of preventable death; the 3rd largest cause of disabilities. In Africa it is the 2nd largest cause of death after aids/HIV in the same Africa, there is generally no costing data making cost of crashes difficult to estimate except for few countries. A study has shown that 10% of global road deaths occurred in Africa though only 4% of world’s registered vehicles are in the continent. This study posits that if reporting of road crashes were to improve, the road crash index in the continent will be different as it most likely would show more deaths. South Africa and Nigeria, according to this study accounts for most of the reported deaths.

These deaths, according to the study are caused mostly by human error, and vehicle factors that include the following; overspeeding, dangerous overtaking, alcohol and drug abuse, negligence of drivers, poor driving standards, overloaded people or goods vehicles, poor tyre maintenance, burst tyre, bad roads and hilly terrain, negligence of pedestrians, distraction of drivers by passengers, cell phone use among others.

The truth is that the world is concerned about child safety.this is because road traffic injuries alone are the leading cause of death among children 15-19years and the second leading cause among 10-14 years old. These injuries are not inevitable.they are preventable.ironically most parents are notconcerned, going by their actions behind the wheels.signs of these concern are legion.

Recall that the 1989 United Nations convention on the rights of the child, ratified by almost all government, states that children around the world have a right to a safe environment, and to protection from injury and violence. The convention stresses the responsibilities of society to protect children (from birth up to the age of 18years).the 2000 united nations millennium development goals resolution sets as its fourth goals, the need to reduce by two thirds the mortality rates of children under the age of 5 years.

In 2002, the United Nations General Assembly held a special session on children, from which a document, a world fit for children, was produced. This document sets out a number of health goals for children. One of such goals which is specific to injuries calls on all member states to,’’reduce child injuries due to accidents or other causes through the development and implantation of appropriate measures.’’ in 2005, the same who and UNICEF issued calls for greatly expanded global effort to prevent child injury. This was followed in 2006 by who’s ten year plan of activities on child injury.

In addition,the WHO/UNICEF in 2008 in a report, titled, world report on child injury prevention, expressed concern that every day around the world, the lives of more than 2000 families are torn apart by the loss of a child to an unintentional injury or so-called ‘’accidents’’ that could have been prevented…’’it noted that children injuries have been neglected for many years. Children’s maturity and their interest and needs differ from adults, the report further stated.therefore; simply reproducing injury prevention strategies that are relevant to adult does not adequately protect children, it warned. The report affirmed that there are proven interventions such as child seat which is the trust of this campaign.

Others include, cycling helmets, child- resistant packaging for medications, fencing around swimming pools, hot water tap temperature regulations and window guards, to name a few
The above is proof that children, your children and our future leaders rank high in the vulnerable user graph? This is why this column is focused on raising our sensibilities on making the roads safer and in emulating global safe practices in the United Kingdom, for instance, the authorities were alarmed by what it describes as “disastrous” figures for 2006 vulnerable road users particularly children. Statistics in that year showed big increase in death among child pedestrians (up 13%) and child pedal cyclist (up 55%) as a well as a five percent jump in motorcycle (okada) fatalities. The picture is not different in Nigeria particular Lagos where a special child safety campaign to raise the safety consciousness of this group commenced last week with road shows,advocacy to schools,religious organisations and media houses lined up to run all year.

Motor crashes remain the leading cause of unintentional injury related deaths among children ages 14 and under. However, the wearing of seatbelts could prevent many of these deaths and serious injuries. Thus, over the last 25years, it is conservatively estimated that in highly motorized countries about 310,000 fatalities and more that 9 million moderate to critical injuries have been prevented through wearing of seatbelts. Even in a safety conscious country such as the united state of america, it is though that in the year 2003 more that 7000 lives were lost and over 140,000 people injured unnecessary because they failed to wear their seatbelts.

Seatbelts of course, do not prevent an accident-taking place. They do however, play a crucial role in reducing the severity of injury to vehicle occupants involved in an accident. Vehicle safety features are distinguished by two categories; “primary safety and secondary safety”. Primary safety features aim to prevent an accident taking place e.g. good brakes, tyres. Secondary safety features aim to prevent or minimize injury to a vehicle occupant once the accident has occured.

Seatbelts are a secondary safety device with a number of objectives which includes; preventing ejection from the vehicle in an impact, reducing the risk of contact with the interior of the vehicle or reducing the speed of such impacts, providing a distributed force to the wearer to give the necessary support in an accident restraining the vehicle occupant before guiding them back into their seats.

The effectiveness of the use of seatbelts is no longer in doubt as studies conducted throughout the world since the 1950’s have shown conclusively that seatbelt when worn and fitted correctly, save lives. Users of safety belts sustain approximately 35 percent less ‘major-fatal’ grade injuries than did non-users. Another study by Nordisk Trafiksikker Hedsrad (1984) calculated that ‘drivers and front seat passengers who do not use seatbelts suffer almost the same percentage of head injuries as non-users in rear seats’. Therefore, use of seatbelt by rear seat passengers could not only reduce the likelihood and severity of injury to themselves, but also to drivers and/or front seat passengers.

In the case of Nigeria, the Federal Road Safety Corps, avowed commitment has raised compliance by a range of techniques including education, workshops, stakeholders meetings, publicity and enforcement. However, despise these commitment, compliance to seat belt usage has dropped both at day and nighttime driving. Statistics from Lagos show that seat belt compliance is high although compliance drops mostly at nite and during weekends. What can be deduced from the foregoing is that most motorist still take the issue of seatbelt with levity while use of car seat is totally ignored by over 99% of motorists.

As 2012 gradually winds up, vehicular and human traffic will naturally increase. Meanwhile,children will of course be traveling with their parents and their safety forms the main thrust of this piece. While much can be said about awareness and some level of compliance of the use of seatbelt in Nigeria, with Lagos ranking high, not much can be said about the use of child restraint as most parents who default in the use of seat belt for their safety also care less about how they carry their children in vehicles even while traveling long distance.

Section 58 (3&4) of the National Road Traffic Regulations 2004,earlier cited, specifies the use of seat belt by all occupants in a vehicle. This section therefore covers child seat or restraint. However, many of us as parents or guardians rarely bother about the safety of our children? Do we know that the safest way to carry a child and to protect that child is to use a child seat that is suitable for their weight and size? Do we also know that even in a minor crash, an unrestrained child would be thrown from the car through one of the windows?

Do we also know that in a crash at just 30 km/ph, an unrestrained child would be thrown forward with a force 30 to 60 times, their body weight? They would be thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring themselves and quite seriously injuring (or even killing) other people inside the vehicle. They are also likely to be ejected from the car through one of the window. Do we know also that it is not safe to hold a child on our lap? That in a crash, the child could be crushed between your body and part of the car’s interior? That even if you were using a seat belt, the child would be torn from your arms, and that you would not be able to hold onto them, no matter how hard you try. Do you also know that it is also dangerous to put a seatbelt around yourself and a child or around two children? Or to carry that child or children in the front passenger seat or on your tommy as most of us do especially during school runs or rush hours? That the safest way for children to travel in cars no matter the distance is in a child seat, that is suitable for their weight or size.

An approximately child restraint is one, which conforms to the United Nations standard ece regulations 44-03, suitable for the child’s restrain are divided into categories, according to the manufacturers instructions. Child restraints are divided into categories, according to the weight of children for whom they are suitable. These correspond broadly to different age group, but it is the weight of the child that is most important when deciding what type of child restraint to use. Some child restraints are capable of being converted as the child grows and therefore fit into more than one group or stage.

For example the rearward-facing baby seats is for babies up to 10kgs (22ibs) roughly from birth to 6-9 months or for babies up to 13kg (29ibs) roughly from birth to 12-15 months. These two can be used in the front or rear of the car. It is safer to put them in the rear. Do not put them in the front passenger seat if there is a passenger airbag. Rearward-facing seats provide great protection for the baby’s head, legs and spine than forward facing seats. So it is best to keep your baby in the rearward-facing seats for as long as possible. Only move them to a forward –facing seat once they have exceeded the maximum weight for the baby seat or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat.

The forward-facing child seat is for children weighing 9-18kgs (20-40ibs) roughly from 9 months – 4 years. Once children have outgrown a rearward –facing seat, the best option is to use a giving (babies from birth to 15 months) seat with an integral harness – the large area of the harness helps to reduce the risk of injury if there is a crash – the bottom attachment between the legs will also prevent the child from sliding under and out of the harness. They can be used in the front or rear of the car, but it is safer to put them in the rear, especially if there is a passenger airbag in the front.

Once again, it is safer to keep children in this type of system until they have outgrown it. Only move your child to a booster seat once they have exceeded the maximum weight for the child seat or the top of their head is higher than the top of the seat. Booster seats and booster cushions are used for children. Modern booster seats are designed for children between 15kg and 36kg (33-72ibs) i.e. 4-11 years.

The law requires children traveling in cars to use the correct restraint until they are either 135cm in height or the age of 12 (whichever they reach first). After this, they must use an adult seatbelt. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the children under the age of 14 years are restrained correctly in accordance with the law.

However, it is the responsibility of the individual passenger to ensure that they are wearing the seatbelt at the age 14 years and above. The safest option is to carry the same number of passengers, as there are seat belts. If must carry a passenger for whom there is no seatbelt, it is better for the heaviest passenger to wear a seat belt because they would cause more severe injuries to other people in the car, if they are thrown out in a crash.

Ideally, like in the UK, the passenger should face the penalty for defaulting. This is in addition to its effect on claims by the driver against motor insurance cover. This is why the servicom-dfid road safety pilot scheme is commended because of its drive to raise the consciousness of motorist, insurance practitioners and law enforcement agents on the need for proper insurance cover for vehicles. We must however note that the most serious penalty of all for non-compliance with seatbelt or child restraint of all could be that you, your passenger or your child losses their life

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Traffic Policemen ill-equipped to check Road Accidents in City

ALLAHABAD: The traffic police have only two speed radars for the entire district in which rash driving takes its toll on many lives. Pointedly, the traffic department has been waiting for interceptors to act sharply against violators.

This year so far traffic police has fined over 7,000 drivers in the district for violation of traffic norms especially crossing the speed limit and also marked 27 areas or points as prime accident spots, but it has failed to leave an impact on commuters and the graph of road accident deaths is showing a rise.
Till November 15, 2012, over 163 persons were killed in over 340 cases of accidents, which seem to be an increase as compared to the corresponding period last year.

Traffic inspector I P Singh points out that speeding or negligent driving was found to be the cause of 65 % fatal accidents. Heavy vehicles were involved in 73 % cases.

Of a total of 233 fatal accidents that took place in 2011, speeding and rash driving were the major cause in 149 cases.

Within a fortnight of this month, 11 persons died in separate cases of road accidents in and around city.

Traffic police here claim they need at least three interceptors to be deployed on city roads and highway. As far as current status is concerned, the police have brought the vehicle but the system was yet to be installed. “It would take at least six months time to get the first interceptor for traffic police department,” said a traffic police official, adding, “We have been making arrangements to use the speed radar to catch those violating traffic rules,” he added.

Bike riders are the most vulnerable in road mishaps in both fatal and non-fatal categories on city streets as compared to other vehicles including the heavy ones.

A recent study by the traffic police revealed that out of 340 accidents that took place in the past 10 months on city roads, 60-65% involved bike riders.

Further, out of this figure, 90% were those driving without helmet.

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Highways to the Danger Zone

The growth of India’s highway system over the past 25 years has been tremendous, but the increase in road deaths has been equally large. Yet, through all these changes, one thing has remained the same: the policing of India’s highways. It is time for traffic enforcement on India’s highways to evolve into an efficient, modern system of highway patrolling that can keep pace with burgeoning traffic and expanding road networks to provide a safe environment.

India has a road network of 4.3 million kilometres. National highways constitute about 1.7 per cent of that. However, this 1.7 per cent carries approximately 40 per cent of India’s vehicular traffic and is growing rapidly. Last year, about 8,000 km of new national highways were awarded; this year this figure is likely to be in excess of 9,500 km. With this expansion in the highway network and vehicle traffic has come an equally large increase in accidents. As per the latest report of ministry of road transport and highways, more than 1.25 lakh persons lost their lives in road accidents in India in 2009. Road accident deaths have consistently been on the rise since 2001.

The system of highway policing in India remains much the same as it was 40 years ago. Policing each section of a national highway remains the sole responsibility of the state police, particularly the district in which it lies, and police stations along highways have few additional resources to handle their substantial additional duties. This lack of resources can have a great cost when it comes to human life and property. Since these police stations must handle criminal investigations and law-and-order maintenance as well as highway patrols, their resources are spread very thin. Police vehicles and staff busy investigating crimes or controlling public order cannot respond quickly to accidents on the highway. Further, police personnel who spend all day working on other duties may not have the time or energy to carry out the necessary night-time traffic law enforcement.

Recent research by the Rajasthan police, in collaboration with J-PAL at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proves the benefits of dedicated police teams for traffic law enforcement on highways. Two types of police teams were assigned to enforce an anti-drunk driving crackdown on checkpoints in 182 randomly selected police stations across 11 districts of Rajasthan. Half the teams were drawn from the police stations, as is the current norm. The other half were chosen from the police lines to form dedicated special teams. These special teams were monitored by GPS trackers in their police vehicles and intended to provide a test of how a dedicated highway patrol would compare to the current traffic law enforcement system.

The results show that the special traffic enforcement teams performed better on every parameter compared to the team from the local police station. They were 28.4 per cent more likely to show up to perform a sobriety checkpoint, and 24.7 per cent more likely to arrive on time if they did show up. Further, it seems these differences were not simply due to the GPS monitoring. Once the teams reached the checkpoint itself (where the GPS monitoring did not matter), the special teams still performed better; they stopped an average of 8.6 per cent more vehicles per checkpoint than teams from local police stations. Given that dedicated teams both stayed longer and stopped more vehicles, it is not surprising that they caught 1.8 times more drunk drivers per checkpoint than the police station teams, roughly double the amount.

One might be concerned that this better performance would be negated if the staff of the dedicated teams drawn from district police lines are less accountable to the local community and engage in more corrupt practices at the checkpoints. To study this, researchers recorded the number of drivers appearing in court to pay the penalty for drunk driving by both teams. They found no difference between the two police team strategies: the dedicated teams caught more drunk drivers and also sent more of them to court.

What, then, explains why special traffic enforcement teams performed so much better? Two factors may have been decisive. First, the special teams faced stronger incentives; because they were monitored more closely, their performance could lead more directly to positive recognition from senior officers. Second, the special teams may have been more focused on their work, and less prone to the distractions of other police duties.

A permanent highway patrol police could incorporate both advantages and also technology and expertise unavailable in the above mentioned experiment. Indeed, such a system has already been adopted by many countries, including France, Germany and Japan, and even for traffic police in major Indian cities. A system like the Central Motorway Police Groups in Britain, combining the police forces of many districts and states along the same national highway for dedicated policing services, might be adapted to Indian conditions. Enforcement is a key ingredient for a safe road environment, and specialised highway patrol police are crucial to providing effective enforcement and keeping India’s national highway system safe and protected.

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After Rash of Accidents, Authorities Target Driving Schools

Major traffic accidents are no rarity on Moscow’s roads, but a string of particularly horrific crashes in recent months have forced authorities to search for remedies.

Last week, three people were killed when a woman with a long history of traffic violations rammed her Honda SUV into a bus stop in northern Moscow. In a similar crash in late September, a drunk man driving a Toyota killed a family of five orphaned teenagers, their guardian and her husband at a bus stop on Minskaya Ulitsa in the city’s southwest.

There is already zero tolerance on drunk driving, a policy that is actively enforced — over the weekend, over 400 people were cited for drinking behind the wheel in a raid by Moscow traffic police. And Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev recently proposed hiking fines for traffic violations to $16,000. (See story, Page 1.)

While those measures seek to address the current woes, the authorities are also looking to reform institutions that could have a formative effect on future motorists: driving schools.

Federal prosecutors have conducted a series of checks of driving schools, and proposed legislation would close a loophole that allows prospective drivers to skip an educational course before getting their licenses.

But critics say fixing problems at driving schools will not bring results until corruption in the traffic police is eliminated and other legal norms are changed.

The checks conducted by the Prosecutor General’s Office revealed legal violations at schools including the absence of defined programs of study and class schedules, a lack of necessary course materials, and schools operating without proper licenses.

“We are seeing a boom in such schools, with new legislation on licensing making it possible to open a driving school in one region and subsidiaries in others that are completely beyond the control [of the authorities],” said Tatyana Shutyleva, head of the Interregional Driving Schools Association, which creates driver training programs and provides equipment for schools. The association works with over 7,000 institutions nationwide.

There are around 8,000 driving schools in Russia that teach up to 2.5 million students at any given time, said Dmitry Zheltenkov, the deputy head of the federal traffic police department in charge of drivers’ exams, at a roundtable last week.

The traffic police have proposed a number of measures that are supposed to make training at driving schools more sophisticated and to toughen rules for both instructors and students.

The Prosecutor General’s Office said in a Nov. 13 statement that the number of accidents caused by novice drivers, defined as those with three or fewer years experience on the road, went up by more than 10 percent last year. The statement blamed problems at driving schools for the increase.

As a result of the checks, federal prosecutors ordered their regional counterparts to increase oversight of driving schools and singled out the governmental bodies responsible for licensing the schools, which are branches of the Education and Science Ministry.

The number of road accidents in Russia has remained steady in recent years, while the number of fatalities has gone up, according to police statistics.

In 2011, the overall number of accidents rose barely at all compared to 2010, remaining at just under 200,000, while the number of fatalities went up by about 1,400 — 27,953 deaths in 2011 compared to 26,567 in 2010. There were roughly the same number of injured, about 250,000.

According to police statistics for the first 10 months of 2012, the number of accidents is on pace to go up by about 5,000 compared to 2011, while the number of fatalities is on pace to decrease by about 150.
Gap in Legislation

Under current law, ordinary drivers are not always required to pass a driver’s education course to obtain a license.

Although the traffic police website says that a person seeking a driver’s license must have a certificate from a driving school, Shutyleva said the document is not in fact obligatory for some classes of driver.

A government ordinance on driving exams states that a person must be trained before passing the two required exams by the traffic police, but makes an exception for categories A and B drivers — those who drive motorcycles and light vehicles — who are allowed to prepare for the exams on their own instead of in a school.

“This is a deep legal collision and a loophole for drivers,” Shutyleva said.

Of the millions of people who receive driver’s licenses in Moscow, the vast majority of them apply for category B, and around 20 percent of them are not trained at driving schools at all, Shutyleva estimated.

Proposed amendments to a law on traffic safety currently being considered in the State Duma would prohibit studying for the exams outside of a driving school as well as distance and accelerated learning programs.

But experts say the amendments are unlikely to be passed soon, since they depend in part on pending education reforms.
Improving Training

Shutyleva said a typical driver’s education course takes 2 1/2 to 3 months, with just over 100 hours of theory and about 50 hours of driving practice. The average price for such a course in Moscow is around 30,000 rubles ($970), she said.

The theoretical training usually consists of lectures on driving regulations and the parts of a car and discussions of possible road situations with an instructor. Some schools also provide information on traffic laws and teach first aid basics. Students often analyze questions that could appear on the theoretical part of the traffic police exam.

Not on the official programs of study are certain pieces of advice instructors have been known to give their students, such as never to wear your seat belt — because with it on, you cannot jump free of the car in an accident, or so the folk wisdom goes.

Zheltenkov said the traffic police will enact a set of measures aimed at improving driver’s education programs independent of legislative efforts.

He said an initiative to improve exam procedures had been drawn up and would be approved in the coming months.

“We’ll divide the study process into several parts and introduce a report card for students,” Zheltenkov said. “At the end of each part, the driving student will be required to pass an exam, and if the exam is failed, the student will not allowed to proceed to the next stage,” he said.

Driving school students will be allowed to get behind the wheel for practice driving only after a theoretical exam is passed at the school, he said.
Corruption Eliminated?

A notorious problem within the traffic police is the ability of anyone with enough money to buy a driver’s license without passing any exams at all.

Alexander Byrka, head of the Moscow region school Avtopilot, which trains more than 2,000 drivers of various categories every year, said corruption is on the rise.

“If several years ago 70 percent of those who passed exams at the traffic police did so without paying a bribe, now only 10 percent of candidates pass the exam,” he estimated.

For obvious reasons, these figures were impossible to verify.

You can also obtain a license without any interaction with the traffic police at all, according to many websites that advertise the service.

A woman who picked up the phone at a company called VIP Prava, or VIP License, said a driver’s license could be bought for 20,000 rubles and would be ready within a week. The woman said all that was needed was a copy of one’s passport and a few photos, which a courier would pick up.

But Shutyleva said corruption could disappear with the new legislation — and law enforcement officials claimed that it barely exists at all even now.

The loophole allowing students to prepare for the driver’s license exams on their own is a big cause of corruption, Shutyleva said.

Zheltenkov insisted that there was no evidence at the moment to support claims of corruption in the system.

“There is a division within the traffic police that deals with complaints, but it hasn’t received any complaints about corruption,” he said.

“While this issue continually appears in the press, we can’t understand whether it’s some kind of PR campaign or whether there really are serious contradictions in the work of different divisions of the traffic police,” he said.

“There must be witnesses and precise facts — then certain measures may be taken.”

He added that 99 percent of traffic police examiners had been replaced in recent years, which he said has made it virtually impossible to buy a license.

Prosecutors have no plans to undertake urgent measures to fight bribery either.

“I wouldn’t say that paying attention to the work of the State Automobile Inspectorate is a priority goal of fighting corruption in government bodies,” said Oleg Alexandrov, senior prosecutor in the traffic safety division of the Prosecutor General’s Office, at the roundtable.

Mikhail Blinkin, a transportation expert who writes a column for Russian Forbes, said there was a general deficiency in the legal code when it comes to road accidents.

He pointed to the accident on Minskaya Ulitsa in September that killed seven people, mocking the fact that the driver who caused the crash was charged with manslaughter, which is defined under Russian law as causing someone’s death due to “carelessness.” The charge faced by that driver carries a sentence of up to nine years in prison; he faces multiple counts.

As a result, Blinkin said, changes to legislation related to driving schools will have little effect.

“Driving schools can’t be the reason for the fact that 10 to 15 times more people die in Russia per 10,000 cars than in Western countries,” he said.

Read more:
The Moscow Times

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15 killed, 49 hurt as bus rolls down 400-ft Gorge

Bus driver was under the influence of liquor, says police
Fifteen members of a marriage party were killed and 49 others injured when a bus carrying them rolled down into a 400-foot-deep gorge near Dudu of Ramnagar tehsil in Udhampur district.

Till the filing of report, rescue operations were going on and the death toll could be higher.

The incident happened when the driver of the bus failed to negotiate a sharp curve. The accident occurred around 4.30 pm. The bride and the groom along with their parents, however, escaped unhurt as they were travelling in another vehicle.
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Amreli BJP leader dies in Road Accident

RAJKOT: President of BJP’s Chalala unit in Amreli district, Bhikhubhai Malviya died in a road accident near Jasapar village on Chalala-Dhari road on Monday. Malviya was an aspirant for a BJP ticket for Dhari-Chalala-Bagasra assembly constituency for the forthcoming elections.

Sources said that 38-year-old Malviya was going from Chalala to Dhari along with his friends when their car overturned. Malviya sustained head injuries and died on the spot. Some of the others also received minor injuries.
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J&K govt to launch Awareness campaign on Road Safety Rules

The Jammu and Kashmir Government is going to launch a sustained campaign to create mass awareness about road safety rules to bring down the graph of accidents in the state.

“The Transport department has been asked to launch a sustained campaign to create mass awareness about road safety rules to bring down the graph of accidents in Jammu and Kashmir,” Minister for Transport, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) Qamar Ali Akhoon said while chairing a meeting convened to review the functioning of the Transport Department and its allied wings.
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Children given Crash Course in Road Safety

It’s a frightening statistic five peple die on the roads every single day.

That’s why pupils in Liverpool have been given a graphic demonstration of what it’s like to be involved in car crash.

One of their classmates at Litherland High was cut out of the wreckage.
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Drink-drivers may face lifetime ban under new government proposals

The proposal is part of a range of measures, which include abolishing the right to have a blood or urine test to confirm a roadside breath test.

Sources working on the plans said lifetime bans were being considered.

It was one of the demands made in a review of drink and drug-driving by Sir Peter North in 2010.

Carole Whittingham, of the Campaign Against Drink Driving, welcomed the idea, saying: ‘We would like to see a life time ban if a person is caught drink-driving twice.

‘They are a danger to the public and should not be allowed behind the wheel. The onus should be on saving innocent lives rather than the rights of a driver who has already been caught breaking the law twice.’

The number of people killed in drink-drive accidents rose last year for the first time in years – prompting fears it was losing its stigma, especially amongst the young.

The main thrust of the government’s crackdown is to close the loophole on blood and urine tests.

It was introduced as a safeguard because roadside breath tests were not thought entirely reliable. However, critics see it as a loophole which allows drivers to sober up just enough to get below the limit.

Road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: ‘We have made great progress in tackling drink-drivers.

‘However, last year, 280 people died in these types of accident, ruining the lives of families up and down the country, so more needs to be done to eradicate this menace.’

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Gurgaon Timely help can reduce accident deaths: Docs

Acting promptly during the golden hour — the crucial hour from the time of accident to the time when the victim reaches the hospital — can go a long way in saving a person’s life, say doctors.

Any delay of action during the golden hour can lead to complications and sometimes even
death. “Trauma cases due to accidents should be dealt promptly. Such patients should be brought to the hospital within one hour of the occurrence of the incident. It is a crucial period for the victim, but prompt medical treatment can prevent death,” said Dr Subhash Jangid, consultant (joint reconstruction), Fortis hospital.
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Children’s Car Seats Still a Rarity

Experts call for laws mandating use of devices to save lives

Millions of Chinese parents are putting their children’s lives in danger by not using child car seats, safety experts and industry insiders warn.

China had 114 million automobiles on the road by the end of June, and 76 percent of them were private cars, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

One expert’s “optimistic” estimate put the number of child car seats in daily use at just 800,000.

“It’s just impossible only 1 percent of families with a car have children,” said Liang Mei, executive vice-president of the China Toy and Juvenile Products Association.

She said it is more likely the public ignores the safety seats even though they are effective in protecting youngsters in car accidents.

The association advises Chinese families to use car seats – of appropriate sizes – for children up to age 12.

“It’s common to see a newborn baby in a safety seat the first time it is taken in a car in the US and some European countries,” Liang said. “But only a few parents have such safety awareness in China.”

Wang Chunyan, who has a 5-year-old daughter, said she spent 1,500 yuan ($240) on a US-brand car seat three years ago, but has rarely used it.

“I understand the importance, but it was hard to get into the habit of using it, both for her and me,” said the 41-year-old Beijing resident. “The seat took up too much room in my little car. Plus, my daughter felt uncomfortable and kept crying. So I finally gave up.”

Wang said not many of her friends have persisted with child car seats.

“It’s true that most of us are taking a chance by not using the seats, but we always drive carefully, and cars go slowly anyway because of the frequent traffic jams,” she added. “I always put my daughter in the back seat and get someone to sit with her.”

Xinhua News Agency reported that about 18,500 children under age 14 die in traffic accidents in China every year.

A child who weighs 10 kg and is traveling at 50 km per hour in a car has a force impact of 300 kg in a crash, according the China Automotive Technology and Research Center.

“At this speed, it’s impossible to protect a child,” Liang said. “In some tragedies, children are even thrown through the windshield.”

Some parents remain unconvinced.

A 38-year-old Beijing mother who asked to be identified as Han said she would never put her 7-year-old boy in an child car seat, adding that it would be “weird” and that she had “never seen anyone else do so when she drove him to and from school”.

Her comments come just months after traffic surveillance footage released online showed a father leaping from his moving minivan to save his 2-year-old daughter, who had fallen out of the passenger door at a busy intersection in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.

The man, identified only as He, told police the toddler had crawled from the back into the front seat and opened the door. The girl escaped with just minor cuts and bruises.

Likely to catch on

Although usage is currently extremely low, industry insiders say child car seats will gradually become more popular, especially in large cities, as more parents accept the seats as necessities.

From June to mid-November, car seat sales were double those of the first five months of the year, according to Leyou, a large Chinese store specializing in maternal and baby products. It did not provide statistics.

Cao Guangming, president of Best Baby Car Seat MFG and Lucky Baby Safety System MFG, in Jiangsu province, said domestic sales of the two companies are expected to reach 100,000 this year, compared with 30,000 in 2011.

“Our products are mostly exported now,” he said. “Compared with years of high demand in overseas markets, domestic consumption is limited.

“China urgently needs to make child car seats mandatory to reduce the risks to children, such as the measures introduced in the US, Australia and some European countries.”

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