Besides pneumonia and dengue, there’s a leading child-killer in the Philippines that is not an illness and can easily be prevented if only Filipinos, particularly motorists, would take to heart one simple move: slowing down.
Motorists would be able to save daily the lives of 23 Filipinos including four children, who based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), die everyday due to road crashes.
“In our fast-paced life, where speedy means you’ve got everything at your finger tips: from instant noodles, instant coffee, instant news and information via the internet, to instant friends – we of course don’t like to include instant death on our list,” said lawyer Antonio Salvador of the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc. (IDEALS).
IDEALS, a non-government organizations that advocates for road safety, particularly for children, issued this statement on Monday in time for the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week from May 8 to 14, 2017. It is currently asking Congress to pass a legislation requiring the mandatory use of child restraint systems in the country.
Atty. Salvador said that while global institutions such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization had been campaigning for road safety for over a decade, the problem persists and thus demand more effort.
PH road crashes up 27 percent
IDEALS noted that the April 2004 UN General Assembly resolution to improve global road safety recognized the need to help developing countries build their capacities in preventing dangers on the road and sought to provide financial and technical support for their efforts.
Meanwhile, the problem persists in our country.
Latest data from the PSA shows that the number of registered yearly deaths caused by transport-related crashes in the Philippines increased 27 percent to 8,636 in 2014 from 6,806 in 2006.
The same data show that during this nine-year period, a total of 70,541 Filipinos died due to road crashes, or 7,838 yearly or an average of 23 fatalities daily.
Of the total road deaths from 2006 to 2014, 17 percent or 12,009 were youngsters from less than one year old to 19 years old.
This meant that on the average, 1,334 yearly or about four youngsters die daily from transport-related crashes.
Teens aged 15 to 19 most vulnerable to crashes
“It is noteworthy to mention that based on the PSA figures, most deaths among youngsters caused by road crashes ironically happen at a time when the victims are almost or are already young adults and are supposedly more capable of protecting themselves from harm,” said Atty. Salvador.
Of the age brackets among youngsters, the 15 to 19 group recorded the most number of deaths with a total of 6,409 fatalities from 2006 to 2014 or a yearly average of 712 deaths per year.
The total number of deaths within the 15-19 age bracket is 53 percent of the total deaths of 12,009 among youngsters less than one-year-old to 19 years old.
“The teenage years of 15 to 19 are also the time when youngsters become more adventurous and are ready to explore the environment they live in. This is also the time when they start to build their dreams, which makes death by road crashes, which is actually preventable, more tragic,” said Atty. Salvador.
“Maybe the February 20, 2017 death of 15 victims mostly students from Bestlink College of the Philippines could have been prevented or the number of casualties could have been reduced had the reduced his speed, ” he said.
Atty. Salvador said one of the ways to prevent road crashes is for motorist to observe speed limits. “By slowing down, drivers would have more control over their vehicles and greater chance of avoiding collisions.”
He said that data from The Netherlands-based Institute for Road Safety Research show that nearly all pedestrians would survive a crash with a passenger car if the vehicle’s collision speed would just be 20 kilometers per hour.
The same data show that at a collision speed of 40 km/hr, about 90 percent of the pedestrians would survive while at a speed of 80 km/hr, the number of road crash survivors would be less than 50 percent.
Meanwhile, at a collision speed of 100 km/hr, only 10 percent of pedestrians would likely survive.
“The same study shows that a cut of 5% on the average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal road traffic injuries,” he added.
“There are many ways by which precious life is taken from us and our loved ones, such as through disease, poverty, and war. Let’s not include road crashes. We can save many lives by simply slowing down,” he concluded. –END-