One of the many road accidents that happen daily across China
The World Health Organization has revealed the shocking statistic of 10,000 children killed in traffic accidents in China each year. This is directly due to the ongoing increase of car ownership.
"That's almost 30 [children dying in road accidents] each day... They're kids just doing what normal kids do -- traveling in cars with their families, walking or playing in the streets, going to and from school," said Bernhard Schwartlander, a WHO representative who spoke at the UN's Global Road Safety Week, held in Beijing.
In the majority of cases, that's 10,000 families who have lost their only child.
He urged lawmakers to put stricter road safety laws in place and ensure they were enforced. Schwartlander also called on manufacturers to produce good quality cars, and parents to make sure their children wore helmets when riding bicycles.
The figure did not take into account children who were injured by not killed.
The WHO said at least 200,000 people died each year on the mainland due to road accidents. Interesting to note the figure was much higher than the country's official statistics.
The Ministry of Public Security said about 87,200 people died in about 426,000 road accidents in the first 10 months of last year.
Last year a global study published in medical journal The Lancet found road injuries were the third-leading cause of death in China, ahead of a range of cancers, compared with eighth in the developing world.
Experts said the high fatality rate was due to poor driving behaviour exacerbated by the rapid rise on car ownership. They also said traffic accidents were becoming more alarming than other disasters like mining accidents.
In 2003 there were 24 million cars in China, but by last year it had grown to 154 million, according to the public security ministry.
Thirty-one cities had more than 1 million cars each. Eight cities including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hanzhou had over 2 million cars, while Beijing had 5 million.
One would think these statistic would shock mainlanders into improving their driving habits, but until an accident happens to them, they will not care.
Meanwhile those who grieve loved ones they lost probably have anger bubbling near the surface. And until they explode with frustration and grief, the public will never understand how crucial it is to drive safely on the roads.