March 23, 2017
TOKYO- Seven-year-olds, or elementary school first- to second-graders, accounted for the biggest chunk of pedestrian victims of fatal or injury traffic accidents over the past five years in Japan, a National Police Agency report showed Thursday.
The analysis report also found that a smaller number of children met with traffic accidents during walking as they grew older, while the likelihood of having accidents during bicycle rides increased with age, hitting a peak at the age of 16.
“Seven-year-olds tend to expand their activities just after they entered elementary schools and 16-year-olds start to use bicycles for commuting after their entry into high schools,” an agency official said.
“Elementary school children are still on their path to completing safety education,” the official said. “We ask drivers to stop or slow down their cars to protect children walking alone.”
The total number of pedestrians who met with traffic accidents resulting in death or injury exceeded 290,000 over the past five years.
Among elderly pedestrians, the annual average number of traffic accident victims was the highest at 923.0 for 65-year-olds.
For six-year-olds, the average surpassed 1,000. The average stood at 1,564.6 for seven-year-olds, the highest across all age groups, and 1,208.8 for eight-year-olds, the second highest.
Elementary school children who met with fatal or injury accidents while walking totaled 29,317 over the five years, accounting for around 10 pct of all pedestrian accident victims. Of the vicitms among elementary school children, about a half were first- and second-graders.
Many accidents occurred in April-July and in October-November. A total of 3,524 elementary school children had accidents between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., when many are on their way to school, and 4,332 to 5,791 children had accidents between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., when many are on their way home from school or going out to play with friends.
Around 40 pct met with accidents while crossing roads without a pedestrian crossing, and 30 pct had accidents by running into streets.
Boys accounted for 70 pct of the 175 elementary school children who died in traffic accidents while walking in the past five years.
Meanwhile, the annual average number of bicycle accident victims surpassed that of pedestrian accident victims at the age of nine.
Bicycle accident victims gradually increased with age, with the annual average reaching the highest at 5,638.2 at the age of 16. The average for first-year high school students was triple the average for third-year junior high school students.
As many of the student victims crashed into vehicles while commuting by bicycle, the agency is calling on young riders to stop and confirm their safety when they see stop signs, just like car drivers. Jiji Press
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