Saving lives: ‘A child dies in a road accident every four minutes’

Shell Pakistan, traffic police, WHO aim to teach children about basic traffic rules.

Our Correspondent May 05, 2015

KARACHI: Globally, a child dies in a road accident every four minutes, with around 95 per cent of these fatalities occurring in middle- and low-income countries.

This was revealed by speakers at an event commemorating the Third Global Road Safety Week, held by Shell Pakistan, the Karachi traffic police and the World Health Organisation (WHO) at The Citizens Foundation (TCF) School in Korangi on Tuesday. The theme this year, according to Shell Pakistan communications adviser Natasha Qamar, is 'Saving Children's Lives'.

"We want to raise awareness about children's safety on the roads and to encourage stakeholders to take measures to address the issue," she said. For this purpose, Shell Pakistan launched an animated road safety learning video for children, featuring an infotainment show produced by online broadcasting channel Toffee TV.

"In Pakistan, many children who walk to school along roads and highways put themselves in danger," explained Seemi Saad, Shell Pakistan's head of external affairs. "Creating road safety awareness among children will help minimise the risk as well as enable them to positively influence their families and friends." For her, the video was a fun way to help children learn about basic traffic rules and safety measures.

According to WHO representative Muhammad Ayaz, initiatives such as the video could help save over five million people from road accidents. "We must educate every citizen about road safety."

Meanwhile, Yar Muhammad Mirjat, the component manager at Pakistan Sustainable Transport Project, said that policymakers were facing demands to address the changing mobility of the society by drafting a vehicle policy that was socially, economically, financially, administratively and environmentally sustainable. "School-going children require special attention because they have little or no knowledge of road safety by-laws," he added.

TCF students performed an educational song about road safety, while the event also included a quiz that tested children on their knowledge of the topic.

On Wednesday (today), Shell Pakistan staff will celebrate Road Safety Day by engaging with children through the video and song at petrol pumps in the city.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2015. 

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