Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport,Paschal Donohoe, and Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan in Northern Ireland, are calling on road-users throughout the island of Ireland to join the international community in support of the third UN Global Road Safety Week, which concludes on Sunday, May 10. The focus of the week is on child safety on the road with the goal of preventing child fatalities during UN Global Road Safety Week.
The call to road users is also backed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI); the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána.
According to the United Nations Collaboration, around 186,300 children die in road traffic crashes annually on the world’s roads. A total of 47 children aged 14 and under were killed on roads, in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in the past five years. Of those, 43% were passengers and 51% were pedestrians. UN Global Road Safety Week seeks to highlight the plight of children on the world’s roads and generate action to better ensure their safety.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, Republic of Ireland said: “Road traffic collisions account for 36.7% of all child deaths, and road deaths are the leading cause of child mortality in the Republic of Ireland. The greatest danger a child faces each day is when using the road: when travelling as passengers in a car, walking, or cycling. Just under half of all children who die do so while walking and almost 2 out of 5 children killed are passengers. Collision investigation reports indicate that 1 in 10 children were not wearing a seatbelt or using a child restraint. Children are our most vulnerable road users, and it is up to all of us to safeguard them on our roads.”
Minister for the Environment Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland, said: “Children are especially fragile as road users. In the last five years, 11 children aged 14 and under have lost their lives on Northern Ireland’s roads. We can help reduce these casualties by teaching children the rules of the road; encourage the wearing of hi-vis clothing, appropriate behaviour when out walking, remembering the Green Cross Code; and advise them to wear a helmet when cycling. And with recent evidence to show that 5% of children still travel in the back unbelted, as adults, we need to ensure that children are properly restrained as passengers and using the correct car seat where appropriate.”
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “We are delighted to join with our colleagues in Northern Ireland to mark the third UN Road Safety Week to help raise awareness of the hugely important issue of child safety. Last year the number of children killed on the roads in the Republic almost trebled, 14 children under the age of 15 lost their lives in 2014. Seven were passengers, seven were pedestrians. Therefore, I would like to ask all road users to redouble their efforts to make our roads safer and to help ensure we have a fatality free week to mark UN Global Road Safety Week.”
Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said “An Garda Síochána is supporting UN Global Road Safety Week and its focus on child safety. Specifically we are asking all road users to renew your commitment to making our roads safer for ourselves, our families and most importantly our children.”
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said, “Through our actions, we should act as road safety role models for young people; by paying greater attention, driving at the appropriate speed, always wearing a seatbelt and never driving after drinking.
“While parents and guardians play a vital role in teaching young people how to be safe, as we move towards summer with brighter evenings, all road users need to be aware of increased numbers of children using or crossing roads, particularly close to parks and leisure amenities, in addition to junctions and bus stops. Police will enforce the law to make roads safer, but we all share the responsibility to prevent deaths and injuries on our roads.”
To mark UN Global Road Safety Week the RSA will be airing its 40 second radio advert that was recorded by Roberta Connolly. Over 20 years ago, Roberta’s life was changed forever when she was knocked down while walking home from school aged 11. Roberta, known as Bobbie, cannot walk and uses a device to talk as a result of the crash. Her message is to look out for children when using the road. The RSA will air its Safe Cross Code TV and Cinema adverts throughout May in support of the #SaveKidsLives message. A schools competition is also being organised inviting school children to share videos of their class performing the Safe Cross Code Dance!
DOE will be running a series on road safety messages during the week on social media, focusing on advice to help keep children safe as road users.