7 children a day die on Thailand's roads, warns Save the Children ahead of Global Road Safety Week
Monday 8th May, Bangkok – Save the Children is calling for new school regulations making motorbike helmets mandatory when traveling to and from school across the country as Global Road Safety Week begins, and following another deadly Songkran period on Thailand’s roads.
Road accidents remain the second leading cause of death for children in Thailand, especially motorcycle accidents, which account for more than 70 percent of all road deaths.
At least 24,000 people are estimated to die on Thai roads every year. Already over 5,000 people have been killed by road traffic accidents this year including 72 people alone last Tuesday.
“Travelling by motorbike is such a common way for parents to take their children to school in Thailand, however if a helmet isn’t worn that journey becomes exponentially more dangerous. The least we can do is make sure these journeys are safe and that children are protected from preventable deaths,” Save the Children’s Country Director in Thailand, Kim Koch said.
“Thailand has some of the deadliest roads in the world, and yet so many of these tragedies can be prevented by taking some really simple steps like wearing a helmet and protective clothing.”
Save the Children, which runs a campaign in Thailand to increase helmet use among children, is urging schools and the Thai government to make it mandatory for helmets to be worn when travelling by motorbike to and from school, as well as increasing road safety discussions during school hours as only 40 minutes are spent in one academic year, educating students on road traffic safety issues.
“With schools reopening next week, it’s the perfect time to get serious about helmet use. The changes we are calling for can make a huge difference in preventing children from dying on our roads. The last thing we want to see are more heart breaking stories of children’s lives cut short,” Ms Koch said.
“Save the Children is working with schools, local communities and the authorities to encourage families and especially children to wear helmets whenever they travel by motorbike. It’s such a simple thing, but wearing a helmet really saves lives.”
Save the Children’s road safety campaign The 7% Project, works with the FIA Foundation and the Global Road Safety Program to change the behaviour of motorbike riders through engaging teachers, parents, communities, and motorbike taxi drivers as change agents to influence helmet usage among children.
Each day more than 1.3 million children travel as passengers on motorcycles in Thailand, but only 7 percent wear helmets, even though it’s the law. Traffic collisions kill over 2,600 children yearly, or an average of more than seven children per day. Another 200 children are injured or disabled per day – 72,680 per year.