A total of 943 youngsters under 15 years of age died or motorcycle-related road accidents last year and, of these, 378 of them are motorcycle riders in 10-14 age group, according to the Centre for the Promotion of Safety and Prevention of Injuries among Children.
Speaking at the launch of the “Children don’t drive: Before 15” programme at the faculty of medicines of Ramathibodi hospital, Dr Adisak Plitpolkarnpim, the centre’s director, said that road accidents concerning with motorcycles rank the No 1 cause of fatality among youngsters in 10-15 age group due to reckless driving, riding without crash helmets, drunk driving or being too young to drive.
From statistics of fatalities from road accidents involving youngsters less than 15 years of age during 2000-2015, it was discovered that road accident deaths among 10-14 age group have the tendency to increase by up to 28 percent.
Regarding young motorcycle riders, Dr Adisak said opinion survey of 2,822 Pathom 6 students in nine provinces with average age of 12 showed that 58 percent of them – most of them male – were capable of riding a motorbike with the youngest rider aged only seven. Most of them learned how to ride from their parents and 64 percent of them started learning how to ride at ages 10-11.
He pointed out that even if the land traffic law bans children under 15 to ride a motorbike and youngsters aged 15-18 cannot ride motorbikes bigger than 110cc, the law has been largely ignored by the society, parents, schools, police and even scholars.