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Singapore Road Safety Month to focus on children and heavy vehicles

The Singapore Road Safety Month this year aims to focus on the safety of children and safe driving habits for drivers of heavy vehicles.

SINGAPORE: In the first three months of this year, 60 children were injured in road accidents.

During the same period last year, one died and 45 were hurt.

These numbers from the Traffic Police show that more can be done to ensure road safety for children, and that is what the authorities aim to do this year through the Singapore Road Safety Month launched on Saturday by Second Home Affairs Minister, S Iswaran.

Other guests included the president of the federation Internationale de I'Automobile, Jean Todt, as well as Hollywood star and Global Road Safety Ambassador, Michelle Yeoh.

The Singapore Road Safety Month is into its second year. Last year, its message reached 3,000 road users.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Soh Wan Khuan, commanding officer of road safety at the Traffic Police Department, said: "A heavy vehicle is actually a giant machine on the road, and children, for their size and judgement, they're of concern, so we targeted it at them this time around. One of the common causes of accidents involving heavy vehicles is failing to look out, especially (for) blind spots."

Next week, the Safety at Eye Level Children's Road Safety Programme will be rolled out at four schools in Singapore's four geographical districts.

The course will impart hands-on knowledge on road safety, such as the dangers of standing in vehicle blind spots and jaywalking.

The course will be filmed and distributed to all primary and secondary schools in Singapore.

10,000 reflective bag tags that feature handy tips will also be distributed to students so that they become more visible to motorists.

There will also be an educational video for drivers of heavy vehicles.

This was jointly produced by the Singapore Road Safety Council, Traffic Police and Volvo Trucks Singapore.

Besides focusing on safe driving habits such as the wearing of the seat belts and the keeping of speed limits, the video also emphasises the importance of checking blind spots, which is especially useful when looking out for young children.

The most common areas that drivers miss out are the entire immediate front of the cabin as well as the rear of the vehicle.

Mr Iswaran said: "As vocational drivers of very large vehicles who spend considerable time on the roads, it is vital that these drivers adopt safe driving habits. One moment of carelessness could end in tragedy."

He added that the authorities have stepped up enforcement efforts, with more auxiliary police and Traffic Police officers deployed on the roads.

Some 260 new red-light and speed cameras will also be installed islandwide by the first half of 2015.

This follows a plan laid out during the Home Affairs Ministry Committee of Supply Debate last month.

Organisers said other vulnerable groups will not be left out. For instance, a campaign targeting motorcyclists is set to be launched in the middle of this year. 

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