Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL) is aiming to reduce the number of road fatalities among children with the recent staging of its annual Vulnerable Road User (VRU) programme.
Statistics from the Road Safety Unit (RSU) of the Ministry of Transport and Mining have indicated that since the start of the year, 12 children were killed in motor vehicle crashes.
Over 150 students from Hayes Primary and Junior High School and Watsonton Primary School, both in Clarendon, participated virtually and in person under the programme, which is designed to build awareness among the students of the safe use of the roads.
Among the topics covered by representatives from the company as part of the proper methods to employ when crossing a busy thoroughfare was being aware of the blind spots on large trucks.
Supply Chain and Logistics Manager at CCCL, Jorge Herrera, explained that the VRU programme is a worldwide initiative of CCCL’s parent company, CEMEX, and children are targeted not only for being among the most vulnerable persons in a society, but also because of their impact on adults around them.
“We recognise two things; one, that there are a lot of children walking in the streets, going to school and home, or doing errands; and two, that they can be the agent triggering the change of behaviour in the adults. Through the children, we should be able to change the mind-set of an adult in not obeying the road rules and traffic signals,” he said.
Herrera added that it is important to start the change from the children so that they grow with a different mind-set in terms of the safe use of the roads.
“We think that they are a very important part of our programme. We use the children as well to sensitise our truck drivers as part of our driving academy. Most of them have sons and daughters waiting on them, so making the drivers aware of the risks associated with driving the trucks and respecting and protecting the vulnerable road users are part of the same strategy,” he pointed out in a release from CCCL.
Meanwhile, Principal of Hayes Primary and Junior High, Hughroy Blake, said having students educated in road safety will help to minimise their risk on the road.
His sentiments were shared by Principal of Watsonton Primary, Marchelle Williams-Hinds, who urged students to be more attentive while on the roads.
Since the start of the VRU programme in 2018, the initiative that is conducted in June in observance of Road Safety Month has seen Caribbean Cement visiting more than 10 schools across the island informing some 3,000 students from kindergarten to high school about the importance of road safety.
The company has also donated breathalysers to the Ministry of Transport and Mining to allow the police to conduct random checks during routine stops.