New School year – number of child victims of road accidents on the way to school on the increase
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    New School year – number of child victims of road accidents on the way to school on the increase

    (c) Belga
    (c) Belga

    Over the past three years, 1.718 children aged 3 to 17 years were victims of road accidents to or from school, including three who died and 94 who were seriously injured, according to Wallonia’s road safety agency, AWSR. An average of three children are injured in road accidents per school day, the AWSR said in a press release on Tuesday, three days before the start of the new school year.

    According to the AWSR, the number of victims has increased steadily between 2014 and 2016. In 2014, a total of 585 schoolchildren were injured in road accidents, 557 slightly and 28 seriously. In 2015, the numbers went up to 589 victims, including 561 slightly injured, 27 seriously injured and one fatality. Last year there were 607 victims, 568 slightly injured, 37 seriously injured and 3 fatalities.

    Children aged 3 to 11 years made up 6 out of every 10 passengers of cars involved in the accidents.

    Among children aged 12-17 years, 38% were pedestrians at the time of their accidents, 33% were in cars, 23% were on bicycles or motorcycles, while 5% had been travelling in public transport vehicles.

    The AWSR also noted that only one in three children are transported in full safety in Belgium. On the occasion of the start of the new school year, the agency is reminding parents to make sure they buckle in their children properly and comply with the 30-km/hour speed limit around schools.

    For children who go to school on foot, the AWSR advises parents to accompany their offspring beforehand so as to identify high-risk areas along the route.

    For people wishing to know more about good practices for a totally safe return to school, many brochures are available for free on the site of SPW Mobilité:  https://mobilite.wallonie.be/news/nouveau–brochures-de-securite-routiere.

    Oscar Schneider

    The Brussels Times