Police enhancing road safety education for kids

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Police officers conduct an on-the-spot investigation on Wednesday in Otsu, where a car rammed into a group of children last week.

Jiji Press OSAKA (Jiji Press) — Police are enhancing road safety education for children while stepping up efforts to raise drivers’ awareness in a bid to protect pedestrians from traffic accidents after a car rammed into a group of nursery toddlers and killed two in Otsu last week.

An expert familiar with traffic issues says that similar accidents are common, adding that anybody could cause such accidents.

At Wakae Kindergarten in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, on Monday afternoon, about 10 officers from the prefectural police’s Kawachi Police Station taught kids and their parents how to walk on pedestrian crossings.

Nao Yoshimoto, a 38-year-old mother whose 4-year-old daughter attends the kindergarten, said the accident in Otsu is “not somebody else’s problem at all.”

“I’ll look around more carefully when I walk with my kid,” she said.

Following the accident in Otsu, the Osaka prefectural police instructed all of its branch stations to urgently check whether there are any dangers in routes that nursery kids and their teachers walk along.

“Police have information about accidents for each road. It’s an important job to grasp local traffic conditions and take measures,” said a senior prefectural police officer.

As spring traffic safety campaigns coincidently kicked off on Saturday nationwide, other areas have taken action to protect children from traffic accidents.

In Fukui Prefecture, officers from Tsuruga Police Station and Tsuruga city officials walked the routes that children of a municipal kindergarten take to find any potential risks.

According to the government’s traffic safety white paper, pedestrians account for close to 40 percent of the total traffic deaths in the nation, remarkably higher than less than 20 percent in such advanced countries as the United States, France and Germany.

Seiji Abe, a Kansai University professor specializing in transportation studies, said, “Accidents like the one in Otsu can happen anywhere.”Speech

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