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Safe Kids Foundation: Collaborating with Partners in India

If you are on the road in India, most likely you are sharing it with a mix of cars, pedestrians, buses, bicycles, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and more. Although there are lanes, many drivers don't use them as they cut and weave in traffic. Animals or children on foot may claim the road as well. Mumbai traffic police have not written a ticket to jaywalkers in three years, due in part to the overwhelming number of pedestrians and the need to focus on the hundreds of cars joining the city streets daily.

This traffic mix, poor road design and vehicles that are in questionable condition all contribute to the high fatality rates seen on India’s roads. More than 231,000 people are killed in road traffic crashes in India every year, and approximately half of all deaths on the country's roads are among vulnerable road users: motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists. This represents 15 percent of the world’s road fatalities, despite the fact that India has only 1 percent of the world’s motor vehicles. Road traffic accidents are the number one cause of death for children under 14, at 7,700 per year.

As in Brazil, the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program aims to improve road safety in India. Efforts are focused on increasing the use of motorcycle helmets and reducing drink-driving. Safe Kids Foundation, based in Mumbai, aims to increase safety and decrease injury and fatalities among children on the roads and in other areas. Safe Kids Foundation has developed relationships with groups including the All India Federation of Teachers Organization, the Brihanmumbai Mahapalika Shikshak Sabha Teachers’ Association, the Mumbai Traffic Police, and local schools, to deliver injury prevention education to children and families. In 2013, Safe Kids Foundation reached 520 schools with the Walk This Way program, and more than 2.5 million children and 60,000 parents and caregivers since 2007. Beyond training sessions, children participated in activities related to pedestrian safety.

FedEx plays a key role, with FedEx volunteers participating in Safe Kids Walk This Way programs. As a result of this and other Safe Kids Foundation initiatives, students have improved their pedestrian safety knowledge by 44 percent, with an average of 95 percent retention.

Safe Kids Foundation consistently receives "Commendatory Notes" from the Joint Commissioner of Traffic Police, Mumbai, in appreciation of the good work Global Road Safety for Children  done in road safety. In 2014, Safe Kids Foundation won an award in the Best Prevention Category as part of the World CSR Congress (Global NGO Excellence Summit and Awards). An upcoming initiative with the police, “Slow Down for Kids,” will use radar speed guns to measure driver speeds in school zones before and after a pedestrian safety awareness and education campaign. Joining hands with the local government and traffic police allows SKFI to reach families and strengthen its network.

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