Greater Safety for Children
Because children lack experience, have not developed a proper awareness of the risks, and often exhibit immature behavior, they are among the most vulnerable road users. When an accident occurs, the consequences are often especially severe because of the increased vulnerability of children. In many parts of the world, the number of children under the age of 15 – who are the focus of this report – killed in road traffic is decreasing more or less steadily. In other parts of the world, the number remains high or is even increasing. No matter where in the world, the challenge to improve the safety of children permanently with the appropriate measures continues to be great.
- Speed: Speed limits of 30 km/h on roads with a high density of pedestrian and bicycle traffic as well as high crossing requirements, as in front of schools and pre-school facilities, enforcement of speed limits by using automatic speed cameras, road construction measures to reduce speed.
- Driving under the influence: Legal requirements for maximum blood alcohol content while driving (basically 0.05% for everybody and 0.02% for young drivers), enforcement of legal requirements through random checks with breathalyzers, installation of ignition interlock systems in vehicles of persons who have ever been convicted of driving under the influence.
- Bicycle and motorcycle helmets: Regulation and enforcement of laws for motorcycle helmets that determine the type and fit according to the age of the wearer, support for initiatives that inform parents about the use of motorcycle and bicycle helmets and provide free or discounted helmets for children.
- Child restraint systems in vehicles: Legal requirement to secure children in appropriate restraint systems in all private vehicles, obligation for vehicle manufacturers to provide plug-in attachments for child restraint systems in all private vehicles (such as ISOFIX anchorage systems), educating parents about the proper use of child restraint systems.
- Visibility: Wearing high-contrast clothing, use of reflective strips on clothing or objects such as backpacks, equipping bicycles with front and rear lights as well as front, back, and wheel reflectors, improvement of street lighting.
- Road infrastructure: Separation of different types of traffic and road users through measures such as pedestrian walkways, special pedestrian and cyclist lanes, or center barriers to separate the incoming vehicle traffic, creation of pedestrian zones to increase the safety of pedestrians, extension of the green phase for pedestrians at traffic lights near schools and pre-school facilities, increased investment in local public transport.
- Vehicles: Energy-absorbing crumple zones to protect vehicle occupants, design of pedestrian-friendly vehicle front ends, equipping vehicles with cameras and audible alarm systems to detect objects that may not be visible in the rear view mirror.
- Emergency care: Equipping emergency vehicles with medical equipment and materials suitable for children, “child-friendly” design of hospitals to minimize additional trauma to child accident victims, better access to counseling centers to mitigate the psychological consequences of road accidents on children and their families.