Number of road deaths involving children a worry


KUALA LUMPUR: Road accidents claimed the lives of 410 children aged between one and 15 years in the country in 2008 while another 2,797 suffered slight to serious injuries, according to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros).The highest number of fatalities involved children between the ages of 11 and 15, with a total of 213 fatalities nationwide, it said in a statement yesterday.

Forty-three per cent of these road fatalities occurred on motorcycles where the children were either directly responsible for riding or fell victim as pillion riders.

Another 24 per cent involved car collisions while 18 per cent of the fatalities were made up of pedestrians.

Given the high rate of accidents involving children in Malaysia, Miros hopes to promote greater understanding and appreciation for good road safety awareness at the Smart Kids Education Fair at the Putra World Trade Centre from yesterday until tomorrow.

Miros has lined up a number of activities and games designed to teach children the positive values of road safety and how they can better protect themselves on the road.

Miros also hopes that parents and adults will play a more active role in inculcating basic and good road safety values in their children.

“It is imperative that children, especially those who are schooling, have a good basic foundation and understanding of what is road safety.

This is also precisely why road safety is currently being actively pursued and taught in schools,” said Miros director-general Prof Dr Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah.

He said one could not expect children to absorb and remember everything about road safety.

Dr Ahmad Farhan said much of their behaviour as road users was more often than not the result of emulating their parents and the conduct of other adults.

“This is something that is both potentially advantageous and dangerous.

“What this essentially means is that parents and adults must lead by example, from displaying the correct attitude on the road to abiding by the traffic regulations.

“Over time, it is these values that are more effectively absorbed.”

Dr Ahmad Farhan also cautioned parents against permitting children, particularly unlicensed teenagers, from taking to the roads on motorcycles and at times cars as these acts are potentially dangerous.

He added that while these children or underage teenagers might possess the desired skills to commandeer these vehicles, they were most likely to be unaware of traffic regulations and the proper road etiquette which ultimately exposed them to a higher risk of being involved in an accident.

These acts also endangered other road users, he said.

Similar to inculcating other values in children, Dr Ahmad Farhan stressed that a good understanding and appreciation of road safety awareness from such a young age would help to shape a more responsible society of motorists in the future. — Bernama