Gov’t, NPA look at ways to improve road safety for children
Apr. 28, 2012 – TOKYO —
The Education Ministry and National Police Agency said Friday they will look at ways to improve road safety for school children after three accidents claimed two lives and injured 10 others this week.
On Friday, a minivan crashed into a group of children waiting for a school bus in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, killing a 6-year-old boy. The driver, a 20-year-old part-time worker, was arrested and charged with negligent driving resulting in death. He told police he lost concentration.
Also on Friday, a minivan hit four children at a pedestrian crossing in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, seriously injuring two of them.
Last Monday, a seven-year-old girl and a pregnant 26-year-old woman were killed when the minicar hit a group of elementary school children in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture. Eight other children were seriously hurt when the car, driven by an 18-year-old male without a license, crashed into them.
In all three accidents, the roads were narrow and there were no sidewalks, nor were there any guardrails.
An NPA official told a news conference in Tokyo that in 2011, 11 children were killed and 2,474 children injured by cars while walking to and from school, Fuji TV reported. So far this year, four children have been killed by cars.
The official said the NPA is looking at reducing the speed limit on roads less than six meters wide, which are used by children to go to and from school, to 40 kilometers per hour. It is also considering placing speed bumps on more roads.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Hirofumi Hirano said that the government will work more closely with local education boards and schools to work out ways to protect children. He said schools need to map out safer routes for children walking to and from school.