DO NOT PUB: Many accidents involving kids 'can be prevented'

Members of the National Police Cadet Corps, People’s Association volunteers and grassroots leaders helping to promote road safety in Tampines yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Members of the National Police Cadet Corps, People’s Association volunteers and grassroots leaders helping to promote road safety in Tampines yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Road traffic accidents that resulted in fatalities and injuries dipped to just under 6,000 cases between January and November last year.

This was about 11 per cent lower than the 6,612 cases over the same period in 2012.

But despite efforts by the authorities to improve road safety around schools, there are still some accidents involving young children on the road, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

"Every life lost is a tragic loss, and we know that many of these accidents can be prevented," he said.

His comments, delivered during a speech at a community event to promote road safety in Tampines yesterday, came just days after new traffic rules in school zones, with heavier penalties, kicked in at the start of the new year.

Motorists caught committing the offence of careless driving, inconsiderate driving, beating the red light or speeding within school zones will get an extra demerit point starting from this month, on top of those already levied.

The new measure was first unveiled in March last year by Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran during the Budget debate.

This was after brothers Nigel and Donavan Yap were killed in an accident about a year ago near Dunman Secondary School in Tampines.

The death of the two boys, aged 13 and seven, led to a public outcry over the deteriorating level of safety for children within school zones.

Mr Heng said adults also had a part to play to ensure the safety of children on the roads.

He said: "While we ask our children to do their part to obey and promote road safety, we as adults must not forget that children see the world through us.

"Let us be good role models and obey traffic rules ourselves, and let us take extra effort to be vigilant on the roads, especially in areas where children will congregate."

About 200 members of the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) from secondary schools in Tampines and 100 People's Association grassroots leaders and volunteers fanned out across the estate yesterday to share tips on road safety as part of the "Spot It, Stay Safe" programme.

East Spring Secondary School student Wee Xin Ze, 15, was among the NPCC cadets who went around speaking to residents.

He said: "Lives are very important, and by raising awareness about road safety, we can help the community stay safe."

joseow@sph.com.sg