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Increasing child road safety with the 2020 Action Agenda

Halving child road deaths in the next five years is a key aim of the 2020 Action Agenda, a global plan of action signed by Governments around the world. It is a product of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and the Brasilia Declaration.

Every year more than 186,000 children under the age of 18 die from road traffic crashes. And while the children most likely to die in a road crash live in the world’s low- and middle-income countries, this is a global challenge. That’s why the 2020 Action Agenda has five actionable steps to save children’s lives.

It all starts with the schools

The first 2020 priority addresses a safe journey to school for every child including safe roads and speed management around every school. Saul Billingsley, Director General of FIA Foundation, a UK charity that promotes road safety across the globe, argues that ‘livable cities’ start with the schools and that it will be possible to reduce the number of child casualties. “If we could just make safe communities, beginning with the school which is the beating heart of a community where everyone congregates, we could start there and spread out,” he said.

Dr. William Foege, Former Senior Medical Advisor for The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, added: “It is worth saving the life of a seventy year old but it does not have the same impact as saving the life of a child. To be able to get a child to school safely can be done. We know it can be done, it’s done in many places but it requires actual decisions if that is to be done.”

The remaining four action points are; safe school transport including seatbelts on all school buses, vehicles safe for children and action to promote child restraints, motorcycle helmets for all children where two-wheelers are the main family transport, and lastly enforcement and action against drink-driving. With two more years left to achieve the 2020 Action Agenda goals the question is whether local, national and international leaders will take the necessary and tangible steps needed to adapt and implement road safety policies to protect children.

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist. She is also the Community Manager and Events Manager of Child in the City.

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