Shock therapy

Several 13-year-olds, from the EB 2,3 number four school in Faro, were taken to visit patients in Faro Hospital who have suffered severe injuries as a result of car and motorbike accidents. The school trip, which was organised by the Portuguese Association for Child Protection (APSI), is part of a scheme launched by the PSP police Escola Segura division to alert young children to the danger of ignoring the basic rules of the road.

The 13-year-olds met a number of patients, including a 19-year-old who was injured in a motorbike accident last Christmas. Apparently, Paulo was travelling on the back of a friend’s motorbike, riding at 230 kilometres per hour, when the driver lost control. Paulo was left in a coma with a fractured skull and a broken leg. According to APSI head, Elsa Rocha, the ‘shock treatment’ scheme is proving successful in making the youngsters more safety conscious. “Last year, before this scheme started, our survey showed that only 15 per cent of children wore their seatbelt while travelling in cars. This year, our survey indicated that that percentage has risen to 70.”

After the school trip, the children were asked what they had thought of the visit. “I always wanted to have a motorbike, but this trip has really scared me and I don’t think I want a motorbike anymore. I’m usually very careful in cars; I always fasten my seatbelt, but today I have seen what happens to people who don’t,” said 13-year-old Sílvia Cruz.