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High Hopes For Road Safety Campaign

Road safety organisations hope a recent campaign has made a difference in accident statistics for Pacific Island children.

Run by Injury Free Counties Manukau, Pasifika Healthcare and Safekids and funded by the Land Transport Safety Authority, the radio campaign targeted the three main causes of road related injury and death for Pacific Island children - motor vehicle passenger injury, pedestrian injury and cycle injury.

Injury Free Co-ordinator for Pacific Peoples, Iani Nemani, says that from 1993 to 1998, over 266 Pacific Island children were hospitalised due to motor vehicle related injuries. Within the same period and a further ten Pacific children were killed on the roads in the same period.

“Injuries involving a motor vehicle is the second leading cause of hospitalisation in PI children and the biggest cause of unintentional injury death. These statistics indicate that child road safety is clearly a priority issue for Pacific people,” he says.

The campaign has run since March with a different message each month. Iani says, “We’ve promoted good road safety behaviour where children gather in groups, specifically around the school gate and church gate. We’ve also promoted messages about pedestrian road safety and the use of child car restraints and safety belts. Our July message was all about cycle safety for both children and parents.

“On Radio 531 PI, we used the Auntie Bonnie character who read out a story every day containing a different question on cycle safety. Kids entered the week long competition by answering the questions correctly. We feel this method is effective at getting messages to our Pacific Island children as it uses their own preferred mediums such as story telling and participation on air.”

The competition winner was Linda Pea Manusina of St Dominics School in Henderson who won a bike sponsored by Bike Barn Manukau, pictured here with Annette (Pasifika Healthcare), Aunty Bonnie (Safekids) Ms Elizabeth Hill (St Dominics College), ‘Iani Nemani (Injury Free Counties Manukau) and Linda’s Mother Mrs Diana Pea Manusina.

“Radio campaigns alone cannot create the desired changes, however this is only one of the approaches we use to help raise community awareness around road safety. We also have advertisements airing this month on Triangle TV and there are other community based road safety programmes already in place. Improving the co-ordination of these activities is going to be a key to road safety success,”

A further three week campaign will be launched in mid October as part of the Kids Safe Week 2001 promotions. The theme for the campaign will encourage people to “always buckle up in the front and back seats.”

ENDS

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