New Campaign Battles Korea's Juvenile Road Accident Toll

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New Campaign Battles Korea's Juvenile Road Accident Toll

In order to promote a new campaign for child traffic safety, a popular actor, Ahn Sung-gi, and a cellist, Chung Myong-hwa, will sign autographs in front of the World Cup Information Center, Gwanghwamun, on Wednesday.

The British Council Korea and the United Nations Children's Fund Korea enlisted the help of the two public figures as part of the campaign, which they are sponsoring.

The autograph-signing is part of a two-day forum. The organizers expect 80 people, including staff members, parents, children and a couple of celebrities to pitch in with the campaign on Wednesday. Volunteers will pass out leaflets outlining 10 action points to help prevent traffic accidents involving children.

The next set of events will take place at the Seoul Press Center on Thursday. Organizers have invited two traffic safety professionals from London to share their expertise. Bill Hills, from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, and Carol Sherriff, director of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, will be holding seminars along with Korean specialists.

"We have a duty to help protect children both from themselves and from the actions of all other road users," Mr. Hills said.

In order to reduce traffic accidents, traffic specialists emphasize that driving behaviors must change. Educating adults and children and raising public awareness through advertising are two recommended methods.

As for driving habits in Korea, Huh Euk, head of the Traffic Safety Research Center, said, "Most Korean drivers have this attitude that they are the king of the road. If I want other cars to yield to me, of course I must yield to other cars."

The efforts to promote child traffic safety follow the release of a United Nations Children's Fund report on child deaths from injury. Korea ranks highest among the OECD member nations in the percentage of children killed and injured by traffic accidents. The report, published last Tuesday, ranks death rates for children aged 1 to 14 in 26 of the world's richest nations. The United Kingdom ranks second lowest after Sweden.

by Joe Yong-hee

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