Slight reduction in child fatalities
Brian Bonitto, Special Assignment Editor
DESPITE A 27 per cent reduction in child fatalities, the Road Safety Unit (RSU) says there is still a far way to go.
"The aim is zero," said Deidra Hudson-Sinclair, statistician at the Road Safety Unit in the Ministry of Transport and Works. "It's progress but not where we want to be. There shouldn't be any."
According to figures supplied by the unit, eight children died on the island's roads between January and April of this year compared with 11 for the same period last year.
The report stated 75 per cent of children killed were pedestrians, 13 per cent were passengers in private vehicles whereas 12 per cent were pedal cyclists.
Hudson-Sinclair said her organisation - in collaboration with a "multiplicity of private partners" - has launched campaigns geared toward educating children of proper road use such as the Walk Good, Road Scholars, and Children Against Reckless Driving (CARD).
"We have advertisements educating the parents as well," said the statistician.
Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis, head of the Police Traffic Division, said parents were critical in the quest to further reduce the number of fatalities.
"Parents should teach children how to use the road pro-perly," said the Elletson Road-based Superintendent Lewis.
"They must be taught how to use the pedestrian crossings. If they are afraid, let them ask an older person to assist them.
"Parents must also ensure that safety devises are used. Most times kids suffer the most during collision."
The police traffic boss said his team had intensified their efforts against motorists who flout the law.
"We are ensuring motorists drive within the speed limit, wear seat belts and helmets, and that safety devises are used... There's no letting up," he said.
Superinten-dent Lewis said his team is keeping an eye out for reckless Public Passenger Vehicle (PPV) drivers and had a word of advise for passengers.
"If you feel the driver is endangering your life ... ask for a refund of your fare and get off the bus."
According to the RSU report, passengers accounted for 17 per cent of the 88 fatalities for the period January to April.
"Safety is everyone's concern," Superintendent Lewis added.