TAKE CARE OF OUR CHILDREN: Transporting school kids carries huge risks. Make sure you're aware of the dangers. Image: iStock
Cape Town - As parents get ready to kick off the new school year, it is also time to find a safe and reliable means of transport for their children.
In November of 2016, amendments were made to the National Road Traffic Regulation forbidding the transport of children in the goods compartment of vehicles for reward. Many are applauding this move, however, will it be enough to protect children on the roads?
Still loop holes
While it is a move in the right direction, it is still not restrictive enough because children may still be transported in this manner if the vehicle owner is not receiving payment. The MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says parents need to be made aware of how incredibly dangerous it is for children to travel in the back of a bakkie.
READ: New road rules for SA - school bakkie transport, speed limits
Herbert says: “Estimates from the CDC say fatal injuries in a crash are reduced by up to 45% if a seatbelt is worn and serious injuries are reduced by 50%. When a crash occurs, where the occupant is wearing a seatbelt, three impacts occur. The first is the car crashing into another car or object. The second is the body against the inside of the car and lastly the organs inside your body impacting against each other.
The job of the seatbelt is to prevent you from being flung from the car and to spread the force of stopping suddenly across the sturdier parts of your body."
Children who sit in the goods section of vehicles cannot be restrained and therefore face even more serious risk. In a study conducted in South Africa, 90% of children in bakkies were ejected during a crash. The injuries most commonly obtained were to the head and neck and 11% of the children were left with permanent disabilities.
Put kids' safety first
According to Herbert, parents should make all possible efforts to prevent their children from travelling in the goods compartments.
Herbert concludes: “Find means of transport where your child has their own seat and can be safely restrained. Teach them they may not be transported in the goods compartment and to always put their safety first. Ensure they know they never have to get in the back of a bakkie and that you will arrange an alternative if they ever find themselves in this position."
If you would like to know more about safety on our roads, visit www.masterdrive.co.za.
More advice and guides
Our sister brand, Parent24, shares the following advice:
Forming a carpool:
• Find class- or school mates who live in your area.
• Meet the parents and judge whether you’d entrust your child with him/her.
• Create a simple weekly or monthly schedule, indicating which parent/s will pick up the children on which days and at what times (considering extra-murals).
• Discuss back-ups in case your child is sick and it’s your turn: do you drive anyway or substitute?
• Create a carpooling policy with safety rules, including the use of car seats and seat belts. Safety is key.
• Remind your children to greet and thank the parents.
• Inform the teachers whom your child is going home with to comply with school safety procedures.