The World Bank says 12 Cameroonians are involved in road traffic accidents every day. Worldwide, there has been an average of 4,700 accidents per year since 2010. The proportion of children and youth aged below 19 that is involved is of great concern, officials say. It is in this light that the first-ever one-day road injury prevention conference/campaign was recently organised on the theme, “Children and the road.”
This was by the Government Bilingual Grammar School, Molyko, Buea, in partnership with the Cameroon Association for the Defence of Victims of Accidents, CADVA, and the Cameroon Road Safety Foundation, CAROSAF. CADVA Secretary General, Ngochia Fidelis, said given that it is less than five years to 2020 when governments around the world agreed to halve road deaths, the time to act was now. He recalled the five key priorities or “2020 Action Agenda.” They are securing safe trips to school for every child, safe roads and speed management around every school and safe school transport, including seatbelts in all school buses.
Others are motorcycle helmets for all children where two-wheelers are the main family transport, safe vehicles for children and action to promote child restraints and enforcement and action against drink-driving. Accidents can be drastically reduced in Cameroon and other middle income countries if the above five points are adequately implemented, officials noted. The realisation of this task, according to the South West Regional Delegate for Transport, requires joint efforts between public and private sector stakeholders.
“The involvement of children in this campaign cannot be overemphasized. They are at the centre of the activity and must be involved at all levels. The initiative is in line with government’s measures to create road safety clubs in schools, introduce the study of the Highway Code and encourage the safe use of roads by drivers, commuters and pedestrians,” the Delegate said.