Here's why 50% of South African parents do not believe SA roads are safe for children

• Road safety is a big concern for South African parents.

• Children's safety on SA roads needs greater attention.

• MasterDrive calls on road users to consider child safety when taking to the road.

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As South Africa settles into its new normal, more emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring the safety of schoolchildren on the roads.

Children were kept out of school for a large portion of the year to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Yet, as much as 50% of parents believe the roads are not safe enough for their children to use when making their way to school.

As we live in this 'new world', we must place as much importance on creating safe roads for children as what was placed on preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Everyone affects road safety

In South Africa, where the majority of children need to make their way to school by walking, cycling or using public transport, authorities and drivers must do their part in making sure a child does not face danger just by going to school.

Authorities must do their part in ensuring there is strict regulation on school routes and consequent penalties when this is disobeyed. Yet, the onus is not only on them. Drivers need to obey the law and exert extra caution when they see schoolchildren on the road. Every organisation or person who can affect road safety for children needs to do their part in making safer roads for all.

READ: It's a joke! AA slams AARTO as a mockery aimed at 'enhancing revenue collection'

The fact that as much as half of parents are not satisfied with safety levels on the roads was revealed in an international opinion survey conducted by YouGov for the Child Health Initiative. The survey also revealed that in South Africa:

- 79% of adults support road closures, speed reduction and restrictions on cars near schools.

- 65% of parents would change children's school journeys to walking and cycling as part of Covid-19 social distancing measures, but only if the streets are safe.


What steps can be taken to ensure greater safety for children when taking to the road? Email us.
road safety

Children crossing the road (MotorPress)

Concerns not unfounded

Private organisations, government, and parents can work together within their communities to ensure the right safety interventions for their areas are implemented. The concerns of South African parents are not unfounded. Road crashes, including those where a child is a pedestrian, is one of the leading causes of death among South African children.

Yet, implementing further regulation or stricter penalties, organising for the provision of professional scholar patrols or training, educating children about road safety, and contributing help wherever you can, can have a significant impact on road crashes involving children. Additionally, it can allow children to make their own way - circumstances dependent - to school and reduce the potential transmission of Covid-19 in school transport.

Current statistics and the concerns voiced by parents is a strong indication of the focus that needs to be placed on the safety of children travelling to school. Our children are our future leaders and drivers. Let us give them the safety they deserve on the roads and set an example of what road safety should be like in the future.

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Eugene Herbert is the managing director of MasterDrive.

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