Phnom Penh school children are now being enlisted to teach parents to stop running red lights, officials said Wednesday.
The campaign, sponsored by Handicap International, is training 113 primary school principals and 600 teachers to teach traffic safety to the young.
Four thousand textbooks detailing the rules of the road have been distributed to the educators, and another 155,000 children’s books on traffic safety are being printed for those in grades 1 through 6, said Sann Socheata, a road safety educator at Handicap.
“We have noted that the number of traffic accidents happening in Phnom Penh and throughout the country have increased each year, which is why we need to educate the young generation to know how to protect themselves,” she said.
The new books tell students to wear helmets whenever they ride motorbikes, not to stick their heads out of car windows, and teach them to hold on carefully to motorbike drivers to avoid falling off. Sann Socheata said the books were the first traffic safety books ever produced for Cambodian children.
“The students should tell their parents driving vehicles to take care and stop when students see the traffic signs,” she said.
Traffic safety has been part of Cambodia’s national school curriculum for nine years, Eng Kimly, deputy director of pedagogy at the Ministry of Education said.
But teachers have not had any materials to teach the subject, he said. “Our teachers have limited knowledge on this matter.” Eng Kimly said traffic police will visit classrooms as guest speakers.
Kim Yi Det, Phnom Penh traffic police chief, said he has not seen the new books yet, but he is hopeful it will help the young understand traffic signs and how to avoid accidents.
“Traffic accidents continue to increase dramatically,” he said. “I hope that these books will educate students to avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or in violation of the law.”
According to a July transport ministry report, 1,914 traffic casualties were reported in the first five months of 2005, more than during the 12 months of 2000.