The government road safety campaign dubbed Gerayo Amahoro loosely translated as 'arrive safely' was on Wednesday extended to schools across the country.
The 52 week-long campaign launched on Monday by Rwanda National Police (RNP), government and private transport agencies is meant to reverse the rate of fatalities on road.
On Wednesday, Police officers across the country engaged students, especially those in schools near main roads, on traffic rules and rights of different road users.
While addressing more than 7500 students of Groupe Scolaire Kagugu, Commissioner of Police (CP) Bruce Munyambo, the Commissioner for Community Policing said that students must beware of road traffic regulations and use the road responsibly to avoid being hit by vehicles, motorcycles and cyclists or causing accident.
"Fulfilling your future dreams goes with being responsible in everything you do. You are our future leaders, you have ambitions and potentials, you have to pursue your dreams but they will only be achieved when you are alive. You have to be careful when you are walking or crossing the road to avoid any accidents," Munyambo told the students.
"You know that accident take people's lives. We do not want to lose young people like you, your family will lose and the country as well," he added.
"You have to observe while crossing the road; stop, look and cross. The main cause of accidents is carelessness and lack of full attention. We want to minimize road accidents, which are mainly due to human behaviors, he said.
At Kicukiro secondary school, a demonstration was staged for students on how to interpret road signs and proper zebra crossing skills.
Addressing the students, the Deputy Commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety department, Chief Supt. Gerald Mpayimana highlighted road safety tips to students and the need to know about safety rules.
He mentioned "observation" as a key to avoiding road accidents for one's safety as well as that of others.
He urged students to obey traffic rules and not to play in the middle of the road, which is reckless and deadly.
"Making children aware of road safety measures will help the new generation make good use of the roads to avoid accidents, mainly when they are going or coming from school," said Mpayimana
He talked about the common causes of road accidents and added that a substantial percentage of accidents were due to human negligence while a few could be attributed to mechanical failures.
He urged the students not to stick hands or head outside car windows, wear helmet and seat belts.
The students and their teachers were also asked to share the acquired skills with their friends and parents. Present were also local leaders.
Students, teachers speak out
Students and teachers welcomed the campaign and shared their expectations.
Jean Baptiste Habanabashaka, the Director of Groupe Scolaire Kagugu said that they are committed to carrying on the campaign to educate the students on safe usage of road.
"This is the school with the biggest population of students in the country, and located near the road. Last year we experienced 13 accidents that involved our students," Habanabashaka said.
"This campaign comes at the right time, after this session we will keep on teaching and reminding them how to use the road with no risks," he added.
Consolee Ishimwe, a Senior Three student said that it is very crucial to teach the young generation as they will grow up with a positive attitude on road usage.
"We are still young, when you understand something at a very young age it becomes part of your life. We hope in years to come we will have fewer accidents as we will grow up with a cautious mind on road safety," she said.
The year-long campaign is meant to develop and implement sustainable road safety strategies and programs, increase road safety awareness towards mindset change to prevent road carnage.