UNICEF and ChildSafe work together to address child deaths and injuries on the road

“A fatal road crash scene is traumatic for responders especially if it involves a child”

By Patrick Muchaka, ChildSafe SA
ChildSafety officer in front of verhicle
UNICEF South Africa/2023/Patrick Muchaka
18 May 2023

Western Cape Province: To support road safety in South Africa, UNICEF has partnered with ChildSafe to implement the ‘Walking Safely to School’ programme targeted at specific schools in the Western Cape. This initiative is aimed at building the capacity of communities, schools and parents to prevent road accidents while raising awareness  among learners to protect themselves against road accidents.

Working with ChildSafe, UNICEF is also implementing environmental modifications near schools through erecting speed humps, installing stop signs and drawing zebra crossings.

Traffic Officer Lerato Moletsane is one the City of Cape Town Traffic Services Road Safety Officers assigned to the Belhar and Delft neighbourhoods. Like many lower-income neighbourhoods in South Africa, they have a high proportion of learners who use walking as their main mode of school travel - often on roads that lack sidewalks and with high levels of disregard of traffic rules by motorists.

As part of her work, Officer Moletsane is working closely with the Walking Safely to School Project which is being implemented at 14 schools near the busy Stellenbosch Arterial in Cape Town, a high speed, high-volume road. The project also encompasses road infrastructure modifications and default 30 km/h speed limits in school zones to protect learners on the route to and from school, combined with road safety training, education and awareness for children, teachers and the broader Delft and Belhar communities.

Officer Moletsane wishes that “our engineers can go with traffic officers like me to road crash scenes to get an appreciation of what needs to be done to make the roads safer”. Turning to the experience of being a responder at a crash site she notes that “being a responder to the scene of a fatal road crash is not easy as it is something that you have to live with and it is traumatic especially if this involves a child.”

As South Africa commemorates UN Global Road Safety Week in May, there is an urgent need for all stakeholders to work collaboratively to address the scourge of child road deaths and injuries.

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The UNICEF South Africa Blog promotes children’s rights and well-being, and ideas about ways to improve their lives and the lives of their families. We bring you insights and opinions from the world's leading child rights experts and accounts from UNICEF's staff on the ground in more than 190 countries and territories. The opinions expressed on the UNICEF Blog are those of the author(s) and may not necessarily reflect UNICEF's official position.

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