We watch thousands of hours of television in the home in order to find out the latest news and for entertainment purposes. Road safety often takes center stage on news bulletins and other current affairs programs. What can the television do to reduce road traffic accidents and their consequences? Can they help to reduce children's road accident rates?
In the last 9 years the number of children who have lost their lives on the roads has gone down by 74.07%. However, there is still a long way to go. The fact remains that road traffic accidents are still one of the leading causes of infant mortality outside the home.
THE TELEVISION AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO ‘GOAL ZERO’
There is no doubt that the television can contribute to road safety and, more specifically, to the road safety of very young children. Reaching parents and people who, in one way or another, are in charge of their transport and education is vital for creating more responsible pedestrians, more socially-committed passengers and future drivers who are better aware of these issues.
Here is how the television can help improve children's road safety:
-Raising awareness of the problem through targeted campaigns. Publicizing the campaigns taking place around the world to promote children's road safety. In this way, the greatest number of people possible can be reached.
-Ensuring that children's road safety forms part of the political and social agenda. The television can ensure that road traffic accidents involving young children are the center of attention in the political and social arena, thereby raising concern and interest and consequently more action (such as legislative action) to help bring such accidents to an end.
-Highlighting the harsh reality of road accident rates. We are not talking about the number of accidents but the people involved. Demonstrating that reckless driving has consequences and that it is something which happens in real life. It is something going on every day and affects real people.
-Teaching society how to correctly use child restraint systems, responding to the main doubts people might have. The television can provide the public with information on good practices, such as how to use a CRS, the potential errors when installing it, its importance, etc. This should all of course be approached from the point of view of accident prevention. We cannot ignore the fact that this bad news means that not enough is being done. We should not forget that road accidents are preventable.
-Reaching teachers, parents and guardians, in short, those in charge of educating children and raising their awareness regarding these issues. If we can raise children who are aware of road safety issues, we are encouraging the more widespread use of child car seats, more responsible pedestrians and better future drivers.
-Disseminating research studies that can help us understand the causes of children's road accident rates and how to achieve 'Goal Zero’. Publicizing the studies drawn up every year on children's road safety can lead to a better understanding of why these accidents occur and how to solve them.
-By converting society itself into spokespeople for encouraging responsible driving. It is only once society is made aware of this issue in a convincing and direct way that we will all begin to speak up about it and encourage responsible behavior on the roads. Without a doubt, the television and other media outlets can help us to achieve this.