Leveraging road safety improvements in Georgia
This month has seen 3000 new speed cameras installed across Georgia as part of a renewed drive to improve road safety in the country.
The cameras follow the introduction of a new demerit point system in July as a measure of better enforcing speed limits. Since 2013, incidences of speeding in Georgia have increased significantly. Now, any driving infraction will result in a deduction of ‘points’ from the driver’s license. From a starting point of 100, any driver that reaches zero points in a twelve-month period will have their license revoked.
This is a major achievement for road safety policies in Georgia. The Foundation’s partner, EASST and their local partners in Georgia, the Partnership for Road Safety, were central to the advocacy campaign and consultation in the development of the system, providing expert analysis, and will be monitoring its implementation closely as members of Georgia’s Road Safety Working Group.
The Working Group itself was formed in 2016 to review the road safety situation in Georgia and propose a series of road safety reforms across the country. The Working Group consists of MPs, representatives of various governmental departments, the Transport Department of Tbilisi City Hall, the Public Defender’s Office as well as civil society groups.
The role of the Partnership for Road Safety in the Working Group is crucial as a vehicle for dialogue between the public and authorities. Their road safety expertise is unparalleled in Georgia, and the Partnership for Road Safety are the government’s main consultants on road safety issues.
On the issue of speeding and enforcement, the PfRS organised several multi-stakeholder meetings bringing together government representatives, international organisations, key stakeholders and the media, as well as holding public meetings, and making media appearances in order to raise awareness, share knowledge and drive change.
PfRS have also been implementing the Safety of Street Children on Georgian Roads project which aims to develop an evidence-based strategy for protecting street children from road risk. Along with the project, the Partnership for Road Safety, with the support of EASST and the Foundation, has been working to promote road safety, sustainable urban transport, public transport, walking and cycling, through research, advocacy, educational and awareness raising projects in Georgia. Their work has been crucial in driving policy changes such as the adoption of Georgia’s seat-belt laws, and its enforcement, as well as establishing the government’s first-ever Road Safety Action Plan in 2017.
Through the Foundation’s support, EASST is working with 13 organizational partners in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The grants as well as mentorship provided by EASST to PfRS has over the years helped build organizational base and capacity to advocate safe and sustainable transport in Georgia. Speaking on the recent strides in road safety
Kvashilava, from the Partnership for Road Safety, noted “Until recently, the shortcomings in the road safety legislation impeded enforcement and had minimal impact to target the main road safety risk factors such as speeding, tailgating and crossing zebras on red lights. The establishment of the demerit point and introduction of smart cameras systems that our Foundation have been advocating for several years, has already resulted in a 10% reduction in the number of road crashes in the first nine months of 2017 compared to previous year.”
Links of TV and Radio Programs: