The national road safety campaign dubbed 'Gerayo Amahoro' was launched in schools on Tuesday as Rwanda National Police (RNP) and its partners shift focus to educating students on safe road usage.
The two-month campaign to be conducted by RNP and the association of owners of driving schools in Rwanda (ANAPAER), targets 2, 379 primary and 1, 647 secondary schools across the country.
Commissioner of Police (CP) Rafiki Mujiji, the commissioner for Traffic and Road Safety department, said Police officers across the country will engage students on basic traffic rules and rights of road users.
A Police officer giving road safety tips to pupils EPG in Gisenyi, Rubavu District
He explained that the aim is to inculcate good road use behaviour amongst young people so as to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) 2018 report indicates that road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children aged 5-14.
Children also account for 21 per cent of all road accidents-related deaths worldwide.
Road traffic accidents are also the major cause of mortality among people aged 15-29 years in Africa, according to the report.
Police officers and trainers in driving schools explaining the meaning of traffic signs to pupils of St Dominique savio Remera in Gasabo District
"One of the big groups of road users is children and young people in primary and secondary schools, and our target is to teach this group traffic rules and regulations in the next two months," Mujiji said.
He added: "We want students to understand and learn how safe to use the road. This is a segment of those that use the road every day either as passengers in vehicles, on motorcycles and bicycles or as pedestrians, and that itself makes them vulnerable to accidents. We want them to be safe as pedestrians, understand their duty in preventing accidents as passengers, and grow up to be responsible road users as drivers."
"When children start learning about the road system from a very early age, this can lead to safer behaviours in later life," he observed.
Mujiji also explained that young people can add a voice in road safety campaign by extending messages to their colleagues and parents.
"When children are injured, parents often quit or face challenges balancing the job and attending to their sick children; family incomes are also spent on medical bills and that also hinders family development. This campaign is, therefore, meant to ensure safer roads for sustainable development."
"These efforts reinforce mass media campaigns to influence behavioural change and reverse the rate of fatalities on roads," said Mujiji.
The year-long Gerayo Amahoro (arrive safely) campaign is meant to develop and implement sustainable road safety strategies and programmes, increase road safety awareness towards mindset change to prevent road carnage.