How to end ‘epidemic’ of child road deaths
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Every day, 500 children die on the roads and 2,000 are injured — “the equivalent of two large secondary schools being emptied every day”, explains Saul Billingsley in this audio interview.
Billingsley is director-general of the FIA Foundation, a charity that works on road safety. Here he explains why children are so vulnerable to road injuries, particularly in developing countries, where a staggering 90 per cent of road deaths take place.
In these countries, more than half those killed on the roads are vulnerable road users, namely pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, Billingsley explains. And many are children: roads are the leading cause of injury for children over five, and globally the leading killer of children over ten.
But despite the fact road injuries are responsible for 1.2 million deaths a year, road safety remains severely neglected and underfunded by policymakers and donors, Billingsley says. In this interview, recorded ahead of International Walk to School Day tomorrow, Billingsley discusses what governments can do to fight this road injury “epidemic”: from ramping up strategies and training on road safety to interventions such as traffic calming and safe crossing points.
He also describes a ‘school hub’ initiative being piloted in South Africa and Tanzania based on the idea that improving safety culture and infrastructure around schools will create overlapping safe zones benefiting whole cities.