About 2,000 children die in traffic accidents in Vietnam every year, and one of the leading causes of mortality is not wearing crash helmets while traveling on motorbikes, a transport official has warned.
>> Traffic accidents kill 27 per day during 6-day holiday in Vietnam Deputy Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho released the warning at a ceremony held in Hanoi on Monday in response to the Third United Nations Global Road Safety Week in 2015 (May 4-10), under the theme of “Children and Road Safety; Save Kids Lives.” Speaking at the event, Manu Eraly, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Vietnam, said traffic accidents are the leading cause of mortality for children aged 10-19 in Vietnam. On average traffic accidents kill about 2,000 children in that age range per year, Deputy Minister Tho said, adding that not wearing a helmet while traveling on motorbikes is one of the top causes of mortality for children. Globally traffic accidents are the eighth leading cause of mortality and claim about 1.24 million people every year, Eraly said. On average, traffic accidents kill one child and injure hundreds more every four minutes in the world, causing immeasurable pain and sometimes financial burdens for a lot families, the WHO official said. He stressed that the Third United Nations Global Road Safety Week in 2015 is a good opportunity to launch and maintain activities that help ensure traffic safety, reduce traffic accidents, and ease impacts on children. According to the website of the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, around 186,300 children under the age of 18 die from road traffic crashes annually, and rates of road traffic deaths are three times higher in developing countries than in developed countries. Deputy Minister Tho said, “Schools, parents, and competent agencies should enhance awareness of and strengthen responsibility for ensuring traffic safety for children.” The regulation that children above six years old must wear a crash helmet when traveling on motorbikes must be strictly complied with in order to build a friendly, safe, and happy traffic environment for children, he said. “Adults should educate children to abide by traffic rules and the adults themselves must also follow those rules to set examples,” he added. At the ceremony representatives of the ministry, the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, the WHO, and the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation called on students to wear helmets while riding on motorbikes. They also offered helmets to students at Tan Dinh High School in the capital city's Hoang Mai District.