Who protects the safety of school roads?

July 9th, 16:30

Last month, five children were killed or injured in an accident in Yachimata City, Chiba Prefecture.



Accidents on the way to school have occurred in various places.



Looking at what the safety measures are, 98% of the places that are considered dangerous are "measured".



But some experts question whether it's really safe.



Why don't you think about the school route that your family and friends always use?

98% of dangerous school routes are "measured"?

!!

Two days after the accident, Prime Minister Suga instructed the relevant ministers:



"We will carry out a comprehensive inspection of school routes again so that sad and painful accidents will not occur again, expand and strengthen emergency measures, and promptly implement them."



Inspections of school routes nationwide that will be carried out in response to the accident ..



In fact, this is not the first time.

In April 2012, a light car crashed into a line of children and parents attending school in Kameoka City, Kyoto Prefecture, killing and injuring 10 people.



A 7-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl, and a 26-year-old woman who accompanied her child died.



The woman also had a baby in her tummy.



At that time, there were a series of accidents on school routes in various places, so the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and others will carry out emergency inspections.



As a result, 74,483 dangerous places where accidents may occur have been found nationwide, and countermeasures have been taken.



According to a summary by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 98% of the respondents have "measured" as of the end of 2019.



In other words, most dangerous school routes should be safe with measures.



However, some experts question how effective it is.

Professor Hisashi Kubota, who is familiar with safety measures for school roads


"At that time, the measures taken by many local governments were to use road markings to alert drivers at intersections and school roads, or to pave part of the road in color for children. It was like color-coding the place where he walks and the roadway. In



the case of narrow roads, it is difficult to install guard rails, so there are cases where it is not a drastic measure. "

The effect of "hump" to slow down

So what are the effective measures to prevent accidents?



Think of it as Professor Hisashi Kubota, who is familiar with safety measures for school roads.



Professor Kubota first mentioned the installation of a "hump" that creates irregularities on the ground.

When installed on the road, the driver can expect the effect of slowing down the car in an attempt to soften the impact.



The effect is obvious when you look at the school route in Urasoe City, Okinawa Prefecture, which was actually set up.



Before the hump is installed, the car will pass by without slowing down, but after the hump is installed, the car will stop and slowly get over it.

This school road is a narrow road in a residential area, but it was connected to the main road and was also used as a loophole.



It has long been pointed out that children's commuting time overlaps with commuting time, which increases traffic and speeds up some cars.



In addition, in Niigata City, there is an area where a car stop called "Rising Bollard" is installed only during school hours to prevent cars from entering the school road.

Discussion involving the community for one year to realize

It is said that it is indispensable to obtain the understanding of the local residents and people who use the road in order to take such measures.



In fact, the local residents around the elementary school in Urasoe spent about a year discussing measures.

It started in 2016.



About 20 people participated, including residents' associations, elementary schools, kindergartens, PTAs, police stations, and city halls.



The following year, a pedestrian crossing and a hump were installed at the intersection on a trial basis.



It seems that the installation was decided in earnest because the number of cases where the car slowed down and handed over to pedestrians increased.

Professor Kubota


"It is absolutely necessary for elementary schools, local residents, city halls, and police people to come together for discussions. Some



people may find it inconvenient to close the road, so with those people. If we don't talk together, we won't be able to solve it. "

The important thing is "children's eyes"

I also heard about measures that can be taken immediately.



First, walk along the school road with your child to find out where the danger is.



It is said that what is important is the "child's perspective."



He listed four items that I would like to check.

~ Danger points of school roads to be careful ~



1 Intersection


There are statistics that about 40% of elementary school accidents occur inside the intersection.


Be especially careful at intersections without traffic lights.


If the visibility is poor, you may not be able to see it until the car approaches, so be sure to check it carefully.



2 Narrow roads without sidewalks


Be careful, especially if it is a loophole on a highway.


It is very dangerous if the car is in a hurry because it makes it easier to speed up.



3 Status of “commuting time”


It is also important to know what is happening when you go to and leave school.


For example, in an apartment facing the school road, it is possible that many commuting cars will come out just during the time when children go to school in the morning.


There may be a danger when you go to and leave school that you will not notice even if you walk in the daytime.



4


Where the child

felt “dangerous” The

most important thing was when, where, and when the child felt the danger.


Then, the voice must be transmitted from parents to PTA, schools, police, and local governments, and can be used for countermeasures.

What the bereaved family of the accident in Kameoka wants to convey

Mao Kotani (7 years old at that time).



This photo was taken when we celebrated the Doll's Festival in March 2012, when we were about to enter the second grade of elementary school.



About a month later, he died in an accident.



The site was then fitted with poles that narrowed the road to slow down the car.

However, as time goes by, the number of cars that speed up increases, and some cars hit the pole.



No matter how much you take measures, even if the children follow the traffic rules, the risk of an accident cannot be eliminated unless the driver drives safely.



It is known that in the accident in Yachimata, alcohol exceeding the standard was detected in the exhaled breath of a truck driver.

Mao's father, Maki Kotani.

I sincerely hope that the driver will understand that it is a school road and drive according to the rules.

Maki Kotani


"If Mao was true, she would have been 17 years old. Mao's sister and sister became high school and junior high school students, but Mao was still small, and the time has stopped. For



nine years, I've been communicating the pain of being unfaithful and the importance of observing traffic rules through lectures, etc. There are drivers who haven't understood it even though it's been late since the accident happened. I am very disappointed, and I want local governments and countries to take as much safety measures as possible to save their lives. "

Nine years ago, when I was just a reporter, I covered an accident in Kameoka City.



Every time an accident occurs, I remember the bereaved family who continue to appeal hard.



I believe that the word will reach the hearts of as many people as possible.



(Social Department reporter Marie Mano)

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