Auto clubs and NGOs lead #SlowDown advocacy for UN Week

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Speaker of Moldova’s Parliament Andrian Candu with schoolchildren at ACM event.
Speaker of Moldova’s Parliament Andrian Candu with schoolchildren at ACM event.
Amend brought speeding drivers face to face with schoolchildren at a ‘court’ in Mozambique.
Amend brought speeding drivers face to face with schoolchildren at a ‘court’ in Mozambique.
#SlowDown campaigners from the Czech auto club UAMK.
#SlowDown campaigners from the Czech auto club UAMK.

More than fifty auto clubs and NGOs have spearheaded the #SlowDown message for UN Global Road Safety Week, with financial support from the FIA Foundation.

To mark the 4th UN Global Road Safety Week (8-14 May), 42 road safety advocacy initiatives were organised around the world by FIA affiliated automobile clubs, through support from the FIA Road Safety Programme, funded by the Foundation. Following the UN’s theme of speed management, automobile clubs from Botswana to Israel, Egypt to Moldova organised activities including media campaigns, marches and school based advocacy.

Speed is one of the main risk factors for road traffic fatalities with research showing that a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal road traffic crashes. Given the evidence, this year the Global UN Road Safety week focused on campaigning for the strengthening of safe speed management systems and raising awareness of the risks associated with speeding.

The Week created momentum for automobile clubs across different world regions to design creative road safety initiatives. For example, the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM), organised an exhibition of children’s drawings on the theme of speeding which was displayed in the country’s Parliament, alongside a policy round table on speed management and enforcement co-organised with the Office of General Police Inspectorate.

Emergency Assist 991, the automobile club of Botswana, in partnership with Botswana Police Services (BPS) and a local school in Gaborone held an hour-long student march. The students participating in the march designed and displayed various posters on the theme of ‘Save lives, Slow down’. This was accompanied by distribution of flyers on road safety and interaction with drivers on vehicle speed awareness.

Meanwhile in Nepal, the Nepalese Automobile Association (NASA) organised a series of events including a rally with school students; a road safety quiz contest with students with questions centred on speed management; a women’s motorcycle rally, and a national conference on speed management which discussed existing legal provisions on speed management through road design, vehicle design and speed enforcement. The inputs from the conference were collated and submitted to the Parliament and the Department of Transport.

On the other side of the world in Costa Rica, Automovil Club De Costa Rica (ACCR), in partnership with the Transit Police Force of the Province of Guanacaste, collected speeding statistics on a highway, which revealed that of the cars surveyed only 20% complied with the speed limits. The ACCR along with the National Road Safety Council further promoted the #SlowDown campaign through social media, newspapers, TV and radio.

Meanwhile, through funding to the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, the Foundation supported activities by national road safety NGOs in ten countries. In Tunisia, for example, support was received from the Minister for the Interior for a campaign that NGO Ambassadeurs de la Securite Routiere have commenced to have speed limits in front of schools reduced to 30 kilometres per hour. In Iran, Road Safety Pioneers ran a training session for the police on speed management. In Mozambique, Amend ran a children’s ‘court’ which reprimanded speeding drivers. Following this successful pilot, the NGO has been asked to submit a proposal to INATTER (the national transport agency) to run further kids’ court events.

Overall, the 10 NGO activities supported via the Foundation are estimated to have reached at least 16 million people through events, promotional literature and billboards, and media, with hundreds of policymakers engaged.