JAA on Campaign to Make Roads Safe for Children
Every six seconds someone is killed or maimed on the world’s roads and crash test dummies are rarely lauded for their role in reducing these accidents.
Indeed those plastic, inanimate fixtures in the automotive world are unsung, except for how well they are able to withstand high impact collisions.
Crash test dummies are anthropometric test devices (ATD) that simulates the size, weight and movements of the average human body. They are typically equipped to record data about the probable impact of vehicle collisions on the human bodies.
Despite the fact that crash test dummies typically work from inside the cars they are meant to test, the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), has creatively positioned the fixture of automobile history to form part of an educational initiative for children.
As the school year draws to a close, the JAA is using its mascot, a crash test dummy, Mobi, for the heart-warming cause of teaching children how to cross the busy streets.
According to the Association’s general manager, Alan Beckford, they “co-coordinated the collaborative road safety intervention programme for primary school children at the end of the school year because of the practical nature of the exercise.”
The JAA contributes to the cause “all throughout the school year and the stakeholders which the association supports in the venture “thought it was prudent to make the presentations just before the summer holidays because school tests are over, and students would be are more receptive to the information,” Mr. Beckford remarks.
He thinks the move will make the kids safer while they are out of school.
Crippling a Trend
The JAA General Manager says the children “love the dummy because he looks like a cartoon character.” And the best part is that the mascot has a heart and is not hollow like those we see on TV; and, he is representing safe road use, a habit the JAA wants to develop in all road users.
Information out of the first UN assembly on road safety this year, indicates that road accidents are now the leading cause of death of young people between ages 10 and 24 worldwide. Overall, each year more than1.2 million people are killed and 50 million injured. In 2007, there were some 29 child road fatalities in Jamaica, 79.3% of them pedestrians.
Recent predictions show that unless action, such as that of the JAA, is taken, more than twenty million lives could be lost from 2000-2015 and the annual global death may be doubled to 2.4 million per annum by 2030.
Mr. Beckford believes that “these trends are staggering and we should all strive to make road use safe and practical for the motoring public and pedestrians alike.”
The JCF tours the island with a truck full of props, sponsored by the JAA, which is used to enlighten the young and vulnerable about how to fare on the roads. The initiative has long been spearheaded by the Road Safety Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF.
The tour recently took the JCF’s Road Safety Unit to St. Hugh’s Preparatory School, which is located on Tom Redcam Avenue, for a road safety demonstration among kindergarten to grade six pupils. The JAA also urged the National Works Agency, that has since repainted the pedestrian crossing outside the school. Tom Redcam Avenue is a high traffic area that connects New and Downtown Kingston, two of Jamaica’s prime commercial and business districts, where a high volume of traffic passes during hours when school is in session.