Road accidents a major threat to Shanghai children

TRAFFIC accidents have become a major cause of deaths and injuries for Shanghai children and youths, Shanghai traffic police said yesterday.

Of the city's 1,000-plus traffic fatalities last year, 17 percent of them were victims aged 10 to 24. Their percentage was lower in previous years, officials said.

A survey made by traffic police in the suburban Songjiang District showed that local hospitals treated more than 800 children aged below 15 who were injured in traffic accidents last year.

The number is alarming at a time when people are mourning the deaths of 19 kindergarten children who were killed when their overloaded mini bus collided with a truck in Gansu Province last week.

Shanghai police said that 10 percent of juvenile injuries are caused by traffic accidents.

Yesterday marked the 7th World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Shanghai observed the day with a local theme, "Slow down for kids. Be a responsible driver."

In a crackdown on overloaded school buses on Friday, Shanghai police seized an eight-seat minivan carrying 16 preschoolers and their teacher to a kindergarten in Baoshan District.

While in Songjiang District, police stopped a seven-seat van for carrying nine pupils. The driver surnamed Xu said he used the van to take his child to school and would pick up other children along the way. Xu said he charged a monthly fee from other parents.

Both drivers were fined for overloading, police said.

Meanwhile, Shanghai's education authorities said a local regulation on school safety will be enforced next year with clauses on the safety of school buses.


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