What many of us do not know is that after drowning, road accident is the second biggest killer of children in our country. Strange that no one in authority is keeping track of the fact that 549 children died in 2018 from road accidents. While the issue of road safety sparked a major movement in the country this year, the issue of children being killed in road accidents has not gotten the attention it deserves from the authorities. Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF), a child rights group, has been documenting this little-reported event over the last so many years. From BSAF data (compiled from media reports), we find that over a six-year period, the number of children reported to have died on the road has risen by nearly 5.5 times (99 in 2012 to 549 in 2018).
The issue of road safety has wilfully been ignored in our education system. Children are not taught the basics of road safety, which, if taught at elementary level, would go a long way in making children more conscious about their surroundings. Our roads now have all sorts of vehicles, and with most motorised vehicle drivers lacking knowledge about basic traffic rules, it is hardly a wonder that more and more children are dying on our roads.
Experts tell us that in some countries, these issues are incorporated in textbooks at school. Were we to do the same, it would not only be more cost-effective, but children from a very early age would grow up with the knowledge of what is safe and what is not when travelling on roads (the need to use safe crossings where there are policemen present, using underpasses and foot over-bridges, and so on). Children could even teach their parents about road safety issues because media is awash with pictures of parents crossing very busy roads with little or no regard for safety for themselves or their children.