Final event of the “Brake in Advance!” campaign launches work on road safety among the student community
On Tuesday 29 April the final event of the “Brake in Advance!” public awareness campaign was held at the Russian State Social University, Russia's leading university for sociology and social sciences. The campaign is an initiative of the General Department of Road Traffic Safety of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Russian Association of Motor Insurers (RAMI), with information support provided by NGO Road Safety Russia.
During the event, the campaign’s results and future steps to improve road safety were presented by a number of speakers, including: head of the General Department of Road Traffic Safety, police lieutenant general Viktor Nilov; president of the Russian Association of Motor Insurers, Pavel Bunin; president of NGO Road Safety Russia, Natalia Agre; executive director of the Russian Automobile Federation, Sergei Ivanov; and honorary president of the Russian State Social University and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vasily Zhukov. The campaign succeeded in engaging government officials, recognised scientific experts, professional drivers, public figures from the worlds of arts and culture, Olympic champions, racing car drivers, and indeed everyone who is concerned about road safety. Viktor Nilov, head of the General Department of Road Traffic Safety, noted the contributions made to the campaign by each region, from holding motor rallies and flash mobs, to involving renowned People’s Artists of Russia, composing songs and organizing additional activities. Mr Nilov pointed out that the campaign had reached road users of all ages. Importantly, it also has a practical application. The campaign materials and educational components can be used not only in nurseries and schools, but also by driving schools.
Mr Nilov also said he believed that students must actively help to create a road safety culture among young people. This would greatly benefit all of society.
Ms Agre, president of NGO Road Safety Russia, talked about the campaign’s events and activities. She stressed that attitudes and behaviour on Russian roads can only be changed if there is continual training for road users. Accordingly, the “Brake in Advance!” programme involved pre-school and primary and secondary school children, universities and driving schools. “The maximum effect would be achieved if our expertise in road safety was used by the relevant ministries and departments on a permanent basis,” she said. “There is a good reason why today’s conference is at the Russian State Social University. Road safety is first and foremost about the behaviour and attitudes of road users, and it is sociologists who study trends in societal attitudes. It is hoped that the Russian State Social University will become a forum for future social campaigns initiated by the General Department of Road Traffic Safety and the Russian Association of Motor Insurers.”
Vasily Zhukov, honorary president of the Russian State Social University, supported Ms Agre’s proposal and noted, “We just don’t have enough time for anything, unfortunately not even to follow the rules when crossing the road. Education is about fostering appropriate attitudes and behaviour. A great deal depends on individuals’ attitudes, but these do not come out of nowhere: they need to be instilled. It is important to protect what we value the most, and human life is priceless. Protecting human life is the task of society, the state and the media.”
During their eight years of fruitful collaboration, the Russian Association of Motor Insurers and the General Department of Road Traffic Safety have prioritised the following fundamentally important road safety issues: speeding, drink driving, child safety, driving into oncoming traffic, and pedestrian safety. Pavel Bunin, RAMI president, said he believed that with this work the insurance community had helped to improve behaviour and attitudes on Russian roads, and that the “Brake in Advance!” campaign would also help improve the road situation. He noted that after “The Walk of Life” campaign, the number of pedestrians killed at places other than pedestrian crossings fell (a 6.5% reduction in 2013). However, despite an overall reduction, there has been a change in the structure of pedestrian deaths that reflects the significance of where the accident takes place. Specifically, the number of pedestrians killed by drivers on pedestrian crossings has increased. “We hope that the “Brake in Advance!” campaign will make headway in tackling this problem and help Russia achieve real progress in reducing road deaths,” Mr Bunin said.
The “Brake in Advance!” campaign is the first road safety campaign to have received considerable support from the Russian Automobile Federation (RAF) and racing car drivers. Sergei Ivanov, executive director of the RAF, noted that as the official representative of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in Russia and a supporter of global road safety efforts, the RAF has always been active in raising road safety issues. “The president of the RAF, Victor Kiryanov, both as the former head of the General Department of Road Traffic Safety, and as Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Transport Safety, is heavily involved with road safety. Moreover, motor sport is inextricably linked with road safety. The sport teaches people to protect themselves on the road and to be careful drivers. This is why the RAF decided to support the “Brake in Advance!” campaign, which aims to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers failing to observe the rules for uncontrolled pedestrian crossings.”
The Russian Automobile Federation also involved its strategic partner in the project, SMP Racing. For drivers unable to attend training courses in person, video lectures have been recorded by Mikhail Aleshin, driver for the SMP Racing programme and multiple champion and runner-up in Russian and international races. Another SMP Racing driver, Aleksei Basov, demonstrated the art of braking in a sports car for students at the Russian State Social University.
During the day, the campaign organisers also spoke about the events that have been held since March in ten Russian regions: the Chuvash Republic, Perm Krai, St. Petersburg, and the Vladimir, Kaluga, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Novgorod, Omsk and Yaroslavl regions. For anyone interested in the subject, a 3D film on the science of braking has been shown continually, and there has been training in the “Art of Braking”. Driving instructors have held theoretical and practical classes for three different groups of drivers. DJ mixing decks have been set up, as well as special machines giving our free sweets with road safety predictions.