Child Road Safety – Restraints, Helmets And Rear Seat Belts Save Lives

Child Safety on Road
Image for representation only.

The safety of commuters and children specifically, on our roads and streets is a growing concern…

Awareness levels and compliance on the use of seat belts, helmets and Child Restraint Systems are unfortunately ignored by most citizens.

A multi-city nationwide study conducted in 11 cities across India by SaveLIFE Foundation, a non-governmental organization suggests that in 2017,‘ 25 children below the age of 18 were killed every day on Indian roads,’.

For the record Union minister for Road transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, released a report titled “Study On Rear Seat Belt Usage And Child Road Safety In India” recently.

The study that explores the status of use of rear seat-belts and the status of safety of children during commute states that an alarming 9,400 children were killed during commute in 2017.

The World Health Organisation’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 also suggested that road crashes are the leading cause of death amongst children and young adults between the age group of 5-29 years.

Use Child Restraint System
Image courtesy: @MorthIndia Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India.

“Young kids under the age of 16 are often seen driving rash on the streets of Pune without having a legitimate license to drive a vehicle.

Moreover, parents are seen overloading their two-wheelers with their kids without taking any safety precautions. With such negligence both by authorities and the public at large, it is difficult to reduce child fatalities and deaths on the roads,” says a Hadapsar resident, Prakash Jadhav.

Although 91.4 per cent of respondents felt that there is a dire need for a strong ‘child road safety’ law to prevent such fatalities and two-thirds of parents find city roads unsafe for children,

70.5% respondents affirmed to the presence of rear seat-belts in their car but only 7% said that they use it regularly. Low levels of awareness on the usage of the Child Restraint was the major reason.

While some took responsibility of being oblivious of laws, others shed the burden on the authorities for not holding them responsible by law and not spreading the word.

Krushna Sinha, a mother of a toddler said that she wasn’t aware that a Child Restraint System was important or serves any purpose.

“I wasn’t aware of any such device. We don’t leave our kids unattended inside the vehicle or even away from our lap. It is only when they are big enough to support themselves and sit on their own, they are seated on the back seat. This is how majority of the parents still do it,” Krushna adds.

“We haven’t seen many parents using the rear seat belts for their children nor have the authorities ever prosecuted those who didn’t use it.

There is resistance among citizens always and the authorities must hold those responsible so that other people take cue and do not repeat the mistakes,” quips a 32-year-old shopkeeper.

91% people reported that they had never been stopped by the police for non-use of rear seat-belts.

The report further added that only 20.1% parent-respondents own Child Helmets even though 92.8% were aware of the safety benefits of Child Helmet.

In terms of the use of helmets, while the majority of respondents were aware of its safety benefits, only a small portion actually owned and used child-helmets.

Alarming Statistics:

13 lakh Died
50 lakh Injured
Road Crashes

  • 13 lakh people lost their lives and another 50 lakh were injured in road crashes over the last decade.
26,896 Died
Non-usage of Seat-Belts
  • In 2017, 26,896 people died due to non-usage of seat-belts in India.
16,876 Deaths
61,942 Injured
Passengers not using Seat-Belts
  • In 2017, 16,876 passengers were killed, and 61,942 passengers were injured due to non-use of seat-belts according to Government data.
  • According to WHO, use of rear seatbelt reduces the probability of being killed by 25% and injuries by 75%.
  • While the law mandates use of rear seat-belts, only 27.7% of the respondents were aware of the law for the usage of rear seat belts.

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Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur

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