Boosting road safety awareness among kids

Pupils from St Hilda's Primary School demonstrating what they should do when crossing a road. The Traffic Police set up a road safety corner in their school last year to provide children and parents information on good road safety practices, such as
Pupils from St Hilda's Primary School demonstrating what they should do when crossing a road. The Traffic Police set up a road safety corner in their school last year to provide children and parents information on good road safety practices, such as identifying blind spots.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Dr Faishal Ibrahim (in red), with Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay, discussing good road safety practices with pupils at St Hilda's Primary School yesterday.
Dr Faishal Ibrahim (in red), with Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay, discussing good road safety practices with pupils at St Hilda's Primary School yesterday.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Traffic Police ramp up education efforts in schools to curb number of accidents involving the young

Many parents would refrain from showing their children graphic videos of traffic accidents.

But not IT engineer Jason Tay, 47, who has two children aged 14 and 11. He shows them news and videos of traffic accidents to remind them to be cautious.

He is right to be concerned. Last year, there were 241 accidents involving children aged 12 and below.

It was 199 in 2014 and 188 the previous year. The children could be pedestrians or on a vehicle.

Of the cases last year, seven were accidents at school zones, up from four in 2014 and two in 2013.

The Traffic Police (TP) have taken a series of measures to address the trend. Last year, a road safety corner was established at St Hilda's Primary School in Tampines. The corner provides information to children and parents on good road safety practices, such as identifying blind spots.

The TP have since ramped up education efforts for pupils with the launch of road safety corners in three more schools, making them more accessible to pupils and educators islandwide.

The primary schools are Zhenghua, Qihua and Gan Eng Seng in the West, North and South zones respectively. The authorities' efforts have seen some results.

In the first half of this year, 127 children aged 12 and below were injured in traffic accidents. It was 144 for the same period last year.

Said Parliamentary Secretary for Education Faishal Ibrahim: "Although fewer children were injured in traffic accidents, every case is still one too many."

He was speaking at the closing of the annual Shell Traffic Games - a competition to test students' road safety knowledge - yesterday at St Hilda's Primary School.

"We can avoid and prevent needless tragedies by educating our children to practise road safety habits from a young age," he added, urging motorists to be patient and cautious as the young may not be fully aware of hazards around them.

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said the authorities have also added markings and red textured surfaces to roads in school zones to remind motorists to slow down.

Penalties for errant motorists in school zones have also been increased, and managers of worksites with heavy vehicles have been informed to be more careful and to avoid these zones during peak hours, added Mr Tay.

But parents also play an important part, said Dr Faishal.

Yesterday, the TP said an app will be introduced next January to replace hard copies of questionnaires at the Road Safety Community Park, to increase interactivity for children.

A version for the public is expected to be available next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'Boosting road safety awareness among kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe