Wed | Jul 26, 2017

Skool Aid kids get road-safety tips

Published:Monday | August 25, 2014 | 8:00 AM
A youngster is overjoyed at seeing the goodies contained in one of the 7,000 school bags given out during yesterday's fifth anniversary staging of LIME Skool Aid at Jamworld in Portmore, St Catherine. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Sheldon Williams, Staff Reporter

Thousands of children who flocked to Jamworld in Portmore, St Catherine, yesterday for LIME's fifth anniversary Skool Aid back-to-school treat were exposed to safety lessons aimed at cutting the number of child fatalities on the nation's roads.

Eleven children have lost their lives in traffic accidents since January.

Statistics from the Road Safety Unit for the period January to August 21 show that six were pedestrians, two were passengers in public-passenger vehicles, and one was a pillion rider. Another died as a passenger in a commercial motor carrier and another on a motorcycle.

With so many youngsters in attendance at Skool Aid, and the need for information on road safety clear, the unit, based in the Ministry of Transport and Works, and Total Jamaica used the opportunity to reach out to them with their Children Against Reckless Driving (CARD) campaign.

"We have been doing it for the past four years, but it's the first time we are doing it at LIME," said Cameal Stewart, acting education and information officer at the Road Safety Unit.

During the event, children at the Road Safety Unit's booth were given condensed tutorials about road etiquette and asked to use their creativity to design road safety-themed cards. They were also asked to include one person who they deemed a responsible driver and to identify the safety measures used by that person.

DRIVING POSITIVE CHANGE

"We want to develop a culture and behaviour change from early. We're here with Total. They (children) are our future drivers, and here at LIME, we have lots of children from different socio-economic backgrounds and age groups, so we are here to tell them to be safe," Stewart said.

The Road Safety Unit was one of several entities taking part in Skool Aid. Also participating was the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), which provided information to persons interested in starting basic schools or childcare centres.

Nakesha Rhoden, accounting officer at the ECC, said the commission had recognised that many persons interested in engaging in early childhood services are unaware of mandatory requirements for registration of their facilities.

Carlo Redwood, vice-president of marketing at LIME, said the event was an overwhelming success.

"Hugely successful. The type of numbers that we have seen, especially from the presale tickets, we have never sold that number of tickets before at any Lime Skool Aid event," he said.

Redwood was especially pleased with the turnout "because of the fact that we have given away 7,000 school bags".

He added: "We estimate that there are at least 20,000 persons in the venue at this time."