Luc Besson film delivers powerful #SaveKidsLives message

Main Image
The film contrasts school journeys in South Africa and France (see images above and below)
The film contrasts school journeys in South Africa and France (see images above and below)
Film director Luc Besson on location in South Africa
Film director Luc Besson on location in South Africa
Jean Todt, here at a #SaveKidsLives event with UNICEF director Tony Lake, asked Luc Besson to support the campaign
Jean Todt, here at a #SaveKidsLives event with UNICEF director Tony Lake, asked Luc Besson to support the campaign
Safer road design for pedestrians coupled with speed control is a key demand of the ‘Child Declaration’
Safer road design for pedestrians coupled with speed control is a key demand of the ‘Child Declaration’
Watch Luc Besson’s ‘Save Kids Lives’ PSA.
Watch the FIA Foundation’s ‘Safe to Learn’ film which promotes safe routes to school for all.

Acclaimed movie director Luc Besson has joined the #SaveKidsLives campaign, directing a powerful advocacy film highlighting the dangers, poor infrastructure and inequities facing millions of children around the world in their daily journey to and from school.

The film is launched today to coincide with and support International Walk to School Day, and to deliver the message that children must have the basic right to walk to and from school free from road traffic danger today and every day.

Filmed on location in South Africa and France, the short public service announcement – co-funded by the FIA and the FIA Foundation – contrasts the journey to school of children in both countries, and the different, but real, risks both face. The aim of the film is to raise public awareness of the 500 child deaths and many thousands of serious injuries every day on the world’s roads, to encourage wider public support for action to put in place measures to reduce this daily toll. The film asks people to sign the ‘Child Declaration for Road Safety’ of the #SaveKidsLives campaign, drafted in consultation with children around the world, a call for action including:

  • To demand investment in a ‘Safe System’ approach to road safety: including managing vehicle speed through road design and traffic calming, awareness raising and speed enforcement;

  • To re-focus road and urban design policy to put pedestrian access and safety as the first priority, with equitable sharing of road space; provision of safe pavements and crossing points, and traffic speed reductions where necessary;

  • To promote action to tackle drink driving; to ensure school bus transportation is safe, well maintained and has seat belts; and to promote seat belt and motorcycle helmet use.

Luc Besson, director of many acclaimed movies including Subway, Nikita, The Fifth Element, Léon, and The Lady, was asked to make the advocacy film by the President of the FIA, Jean Todt. Mr Besson filmed in South Africa and France in early 2015. One version of the film includes some of the shocking real-life crash footage which inspired the South Africa sequences, and which demonstrates the appalling danger and violence that some children are exposed to every day, often while just trying to negotiate the route to school.

Jean Todt, President of the FIA, said: ““Road traffic crashes are today the number one killer of children aged 15-29. And without urgent action, they will soon be the number one killer of those aged between 5-14. We must do everything in our power to halt this scourge and this film can act as a rallying call.”

To coincide with the launch of the #SaveKidsLives film, the FIA Foundation has also released a new short policy film ‘Safe to Learn’ which builds on the joint UNICEF & FIA Foundation report ‘Safe to Learn: Safe Journeys to School Are a Child’s Right’, published in May 2015, and discusses some of the policy solutions that are proven to save lives, reduce injuries and make walking and cycling easier and safer. The film hears from parents struggling with the aftermath of road injuries to their children, senior UNICEF leaders, road traffic safety experts and public health and development leaders including senior Gates Foundation adviser William Foege. As one of the elements needed to achieve the road safety targets in the Health and Cities Goals of the new Sustainable Development Goals, and to deliver the low-carbon mobility needed to achieve climate change objectives, the FIA Foundation is calling for provision of a safe route to school on foot, by bicycle or by bus for every child by 2030. This will be the theme of a Roundtable organised by the FIA Foundation at the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety in Brasilia in November 2015. The Foundation is establishing or up-scaling partnerships with a range of organisations – including UNICEF – and building evidence in middle- and low-income country contexts to support this objective, and supporting pilot projects to build an evidence base for interventions. A recent pilot project in South Africa, now being expanded, reduced road danger risk for children by up to 85% by installing a lights controlled crossing and traffic calming on a busy road near a school.

The FIA Foundation’s director, Saul Billingsley, said: “The FIA Foundation is proud to have partnered with the FIA to support Luc Besson’s compelling new film. We hope it will secure a new wider audience and new awareness for the scale of the road traffic injury epidemic, and particularly of the situation in developing countries where more than 90% of the child deaths and injuries occur. These are preventable tragedies. For too long there has been a tendency to ‘blame the victim’ – to blame the child crossing the road - rather than the road design, inequitable land planning, political inaction, and other system failures, like lack of speed control, that are the real causes of this appalling carnage. By signing the #SaveKidsLives Child Declaration, people can join more than 800,000 others, and counting, in demanding change. With the inclusion of road safety targets in the Global Goals now is the time to be putting the pressure on policymakers to place the road rights of children high on the SDG priority list. We want at least a million people to have backed this call to action by the time of the Brasilia Ministerial, forty days from now.”

Today’s release of Luc Besson’s film is accompanied by the launch of a dedicated film website ( where the uncut version of the film, including CCTV of real crashes is available, and a global social media campaign aimed at encouraging public sharing of the movie, available in 10 languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian).

The #SaveKidsLives campaign is led by the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety and the NGO Youth for Road Safety (YOURS) and has engaged the support of NGOs, companies and more than 800,000 members of the public around the world during 2015. FIA automobile clubs have been prominent in supporting the campaign, and the FIA Foundation has provided donor funding and technical support. One of the Foundation’s partners, AIP Foundation, has collected more than 500,000 signatures for the #SaveKidsLives Declaration in South East Asia and China. The campaign will hold a Rally on the eve of the Brasilia Global High Level Conference on Road Safety, on 17th November 2015.

Sign the Child Declaration for Road Safety at

Read the FIA Foundation/UNICEF report ‘Safe to Learn: Safe Journeys to School Are a Child’s Right’

Visit the FIA’s #SaveKidsLives film site