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International conference on road safety and children

© UNICEF/ Montenegro/ 2012/ Momir Krivacevic
UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks giving awards to children who won the best drawing competition on child traffic safety topic

BUDVA, June 2, 2012 – Montenegrin coastal city of Budva was host to international conference on road safety and children with an aim to raise awareness on the actions to be taken to improve road safety in Montenegro.

The conference started with an exhibition "Protecting Children in Traffic" prepared by the students from elementary schools "Stefan Mitrov Ljubiša" from Budva and "Jovan Ignjatović" from Vraćenovići.

UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks opened the exhibition of children's drawings and presented the key findings of the KAP survey conducted by UNICEF in June 2010.

‘’Most people say that seat belt will save your life. When you ask people if they put their seat belt on the last time they were driving in a car, most people say they did not. The methodology of this study was to observe three things: knowledge, attitudes and practices. The survey demonstrated that people here have the knowledge, but in practice they don't do what they know,’’ said UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks during his presentation of key survey findings.

© UNICEF/ Montenegro/ 2012/ Momir Krivacevic
Mirko Aleksić from Primary School "Jovan Ignjatović" from Vraćenovići next to his drawing

UNICEF has conducted a research on a national representative sample of citizens, which has, among other things, shown that:
- Only 38% of drivers know that children under the age of 12 are not allowed to sit in the front seat;
- Most drivers who have children (60%) do not use or have never used child safety seats for their children. The reasons for this are: high price of the seat, the belief that careful driving makes seat unnecessary and the belief that it is safer to keep the child in the lap;
- One in three citizens (35%) has a relative or a close friend who suffered a car accident;
- One in two citizens (51%) says that most drivers do not stop to let pedestrians cross the street at crossings with no traffic lights;

‘’My father and my mother taught me the most about traffic and how to behave when I cross the street. They taught me to pay attention to passing vehicles, not to sit in the front seat, but to sit in the back seat for greater safety in case of an accident. Also, drivers need to pay attention to pedestrians, pedestrian crossings and traffic signs," said Mirko Aleksić, from Primary School "Jovan Ignjatović", Vraćenovići.

Survey showed that majority of citizens believe that school, and then parents, need to teach children about proper behavior in traffic.

‘’UNICEF's position is that both parents and teachers and the community at large should educate children on traffic safety to the greatest extent possible. We also believe that drivers need to take the greatest possible measures to ensure the safety of children in their communities. Where this does not happen, appropriate sanctions and penalties should exist," UNICEF Representative concluded.

Two children under the age of 14 were killed last year in Montenegro, while 21 suffered serious injuries, and 113 suffered minor injuries. The aim of the conference is to inspire actions that will ensure that no child is hurt in traffic in Montenegro.



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