• 18,500 children die from car crashes in China, making it the leading cause of death among kids aged 3-14 years old.

18,500 children die from car crashes in China, making it the leading cause of death among kids aged 3-14 years old. (Photo : Bloomberg)

More than 200,000 people die on China's roads each year, and 10,000 of these are children under the age of 15.

Just last November, 19 children were killed and 43 were injured when a minivan headed for school hit a coal truck in Gansu Province. However, fully one-third of children involved in road accidents are pedestrians doing what children do: they walk to school, play on the street, meet with friends.

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The majority of young victims come from poor families. The death rate of children in road accidents is three times higher in poor countries compared to rich countries. Sadly, these accidents tend to make poor families even poorer, as the costs to shoulder hospital bills and funeral expenses quickly add up.

There is a strong and clear need to improve road safety for children China. It must begin with laws to outlaw drunk-driving, to create clear pedestrian and bike lanes, impose speed limits, mandatory seat belts, more stringent driver licensing, and improvement of vehicular safety.

These are but a handful of strategies that could make a difference of life and death to a child's day-to-day living.

One such strategy is research being done into improving the safety of school buses. There are U.S. firms looking to tap into the Chinese market and share technology. One such company is Blue Bird, a U.S. school bus maker in talks with the Chinese mainland to setup a joint production venture.

There has been strong interest in getting an American-style school buses into the country, as these come with aggresive safety standards and hefty compliance.

In the U.S., school buses rank among the safest forms of transportation, and it is this track record that is coveted by China. These buses have a sealed safety cage with the engine in front of the windshield, adding an additional buffer in case of a head-on collision. The passenger cabin is also raised, giving it a safety advantage in worst case scenarios.

While the dangers of the road would not be eliminated entirely, with due diligence and being open to ideas and technology, China can reduce the rate of road injuries and save many lives. It is not just for the industries; it is for the children who deserve a safe, worry-free future.