Nesia Mhaka Herald Reporter
The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ) has scaled up efforts to reduce accidents in which children are maimed or killed by cars at crossing points, especially schoolchildren, by introducing a Children’s Highway Code to teach them traffic safety.
In an interview in Harare yesterday, TSCZ managing director Mr Obio Chinyere said his organisation has been worried by the number of children affected by road traffic accidents.
“As an organisation, which is mandated to promote and disseminate information on road safety we have introduced a Children’s highway code which teaches young kids the importance of crossing roads safely as well as providing all youngsters with a good understanding of road safety rules from an early age”.
“Road safety is a great subject in which it engages children and young people. It is a subject which states that even the youngest children must know something about because everyone uses roads, and road danger impacts on everyone,” he said.
Mr Chinyere said children should be taught the highway code and should not be allowed out alone until they can understand and use the roads properly.
“The age when they can do this is different for each child. Teaching road safety for children and young people in age groups between two and 18 is critical.
“We have some ideas for lessons and activities, including some that can be run in assemblies or citizenship lessons, and some that can be incorporated into subjects like Maths, Science, Drama and English”.
He said apart from using the code for children, basic road safety is in the Personal and Social Education curriculum and more is being done to increase the time spent on teaching road safety in schools.
“However, the best training for children is practical pedestrian training at the roadside, which can be provided by adults or other Local Road Safety,” said Mr Chinyere.
“Many children cannot judge how fast vehicles are going or how far away they are. Children learn by example, so parents and carers should always use the Code in full when out with their children. They are responsible for deciding at what age children can use it safely by themselves.
“Besides crossing points to school, road crashes are a major cause of death and injury among the young, with the risk rising as children reach secondary school age and have more independence, and young drivers and passengers facing significant risks,” said Mr Chinyere.
“Parents and teachers need to teach children safe behaviour on the road from the moment children are able to understand this is because the most vulnerable road users are pedestrians, particularly children, older or people with disabilities.”