Co-founder's note on Youth centric Road Safety Initiatives as the way forward
Road traffic-related expenses and losses account for approximately 3% of GDP. Despite such a heavy toll - human and economic - action to combat this global challenge has yet to see substantial results in many developing nations, like India.
Although road traffic injuries have been a leading cause of mortality for many years, most traffic crashes are both predictable and preventable. Timely interventions, when administered effectively and to the right set of stakeholders (children and youth) can result in making roads safer. Rolling out these children-specific and youth-centric interventions offer enormous potential to mitigate future damage and save lives for generations to come.
The future of a country is its youth. We cannot afford to lose our children to road traffic crashes. When planning road safety initiatives, policy-makers and leaders need to recognize children’s vulnerabilities as well as their inexperience, developmental needs and exuberance for life. We need to establish a pro-active, preventive approach to reducing death on our roads. Doing so is our best route to better road safety. By actively involving children and youth in Road Safety programs, SucceedSafe aims to play a significant role in Zero Crashes & Injuries. We also hope that it will inspire many more young adults to encourage their peers and friends to make responsible decisions when taking to the roads and become activists for road safety.
As children are not small versions of adults, merely reproducing safe adult strategies will not protect children sufficiently. Various developmental factors make the task of protection more complicated. These include the following:
Vision • Children have a less developed perception of depth and thus have difficulty judging the distance between themselves and other objects, mainly when both are in motion.
Hearing • Small children have difficulty discerning the size and speeds of vehicles from the sound of the engine as they approach.
Attention • Young children are active, energetic and often impulsive • Children can be easily distracted by other stimuli which may lead them to run into the road suddenly.
Judgment • Speed and distance are difficult for children to judge but are essential for safely crossing a road. • The concept of left and right as positions relative to the body develop slowly and are only well established after the age of about seven.
The Road Safety programs conducted by SucceedSafe, Youth Centric Safety Agenda, for over 100 schools across the country, take into special consideration all of the above factors. We have been strengthening our relationships with the schools that we have worked with over the years while bringing more schools and educational institutions onto our Road Safety platform, the Youth Centric Safety Agenda. Our Road Safety sessions are engaging and fun for the children, at the same time emphasizing on the seriousness of adhering to the safety measures taught by us. We partner with corporates, under their CSR mandate, to communicate the importance of Road Safety amongst all citizens, children in particular.
Our endeavor under the Youth Centric Safety Agenda is to reach out to all the children and youth of our country, as well as globally, with the mission to inculcate Road-Safe Behaviour and make Road Safety a Way of Life.
United Nations Decade of Action
The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 was officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in March 2010. Its goal is to stabilize and reduce the forecast level of road traffic deaths around the world. It is estimated that 5 million lives could be saved on the world's roads during the decade.
According to the Global status report on road safety, road traffic crashes take the lives of nearly 1.3 million people every year and injure around 50 million more. More than 90% of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have only 48% of the world’s registered vehicles. If no action is taken, road traffic crashes are predicted to result in the deaths of around 1.9 million people annually by 2020.
Although we are at the end of this time frame the progress that has been achieved so far is dismal. Going forward we expect involvement from wider set of stakeholders as well as more dedicated efforts from the existing authorities in this field. The awareness created by an international scale campaign should be filtered down all the way up to the grass-root level for it to achieve any significant success. Hence organisations like Succeedsafe have translated these international level safety goals and implemented them effectively across the spectrum of clients, individuals, students that have been trained.
10 Facts about Road Safety at a Global level (Source: United Nations publications)
• More than 1.35 million people die in road traffic crashes every year.
• Over 50 million are injured/disabled by road traffic crashes every year
• Half of all crash victims are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists
• Road traffic crashes cost countries up to 4% of their GNP
• For every 1km/h reduction in average speed, there is a 2% reduction in the number of crashes
• Mandatory use of child restraints can reduce child deaths by 35%
• Correctly used seat-belts reduce the risk of death in a crash by 61%
• Helmets reduce fatal and serious head injuries by up to 45%
• Enforcing a drinking and driving law around the world could reduce alcohol-related crashes by 20%
• Simple, low-cost engineering measures are saving thousands of lives
For further information on Road Safety initiatives by the United Nations and the World Health Organisation, kindly visit the following: