Results of Russian child safety programme presented at WHO meeting
The seventh meeting of the Advisory Board for the Road Safety in 10 Countries Project (RS10) was held in Moscow on 27 March. Several pertinent issues were on the agenda: the WHO global report (2013), the federal programme “Improving Road Safety in 2013-2020”, the results of implementation of the RS10 project and proposals for 2013, and the results of social advertising aimed at improving road safety.
The following were among the invited guests and WHO experts in attendance: the president of the NGO Road Safety Russia, Natalia Agre; the WHO Special Representative to the Russian Federation, Dr Luigi Migliorini; the head of the Road Safety Research Centre of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Victor Kondratev; Irina Morozova from the World Lung Foundation; and Dinesh Sethi from the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
The meeting lasted all day. By noon the participants had discussed half of the tabled reports. Dinesh Sethi, Victor Kondratev, Irina Morozova and Natalia Agre all spoke during the opening session. The first two experts presented an overview of global and regional road safety efforts and the interim results of the implementation of the RS10 project. Their reports also looked at the road safety situation in Russia in 2012 and the federal programme “Improving Road Safety in 2013-2020”.
The opening session concluded with two reports on social advertising. Irina Morozova from the World Lung Foundation spoke first, presenting a report on “Testing Road Safety Social Advertising”. Ms Morozova noted that despite the success of social advertising in combatting smoking, it was less successful in ensuring compliance with traffic regulations. She cited Road Safety Russia’s 2009 project “Slow down! They are waiting for you!” as an example of a high-quality, strong campaign.
Continuing the theme of social advertising, the president of Road Safety Russia, Natalia Agre, gave the example of the joint project by the State Automobile Inspectorate of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Road Safety Russia, and the Russian Association of Motor Insurers, “Car Seats for Children”. This project marked the beginning of a large-scale effort to promote the correct way of transporting children and established the basis for the creation of a market for high-quality child safety devices.
“The “Car Seats for Children” campaign resulted from our many years of work: research, collaboration with businesses and government authorities in various Russian regions, work with experts, psychologists, and trauma specialists,” said Ms Agre. “It would be fair to say that all our projects and programmes, which we implement together with the State Automobile Inspectorate, are aimed at changing behaviour on the roads in Russia. Indeed, a person’s behaviour behind the wheel does not differ greatly from his general behaviour. It is true that social advertisements by themselves are not very effective. An advert is just a small part of an information campaign that is developed over a long period of time to address a particular issue.”
The Russian Public Opinion Research Center and statistics from the State Automobile Inspectorate testify to the campaign’s success: in 2012, deaths among child passengers fell by 5% compared to the previous year, and there was a 10% increase in the percentage of parents who always used a child car seat when transporting children.
Furthermore, the results of the federal programme “Improving Road Safety in 2006-2012” also confirm that the State Automobile Inspectorate has been working in the right direction: in the seven years of the programme, Russia made significant progress in reducing the child death rate on the roads (by 33%).
Victor Kondratev noted that social perceptions of road safety are a very important aspect, and that not only is Road Safety Russia involved in educating drivers, passengers and pedestrians, but its work also touches upon the much broader issue of improving behaviour and attitudes in the country as a whole. “Road users were extremely vexed when it became a legal requirement to use child restraints when transporting children. Parents were used to having their children sitting in their laps in the car, handing them over to grandparents in the back seat, and so on, and suddenly they find that they have to use some kind of special seats and devices. Therefore, the process of establishing a safe driving culture is first and foremost a matter of changing public perceptions. It is very important to instil in society as a whole an understanding and appreciation of road safety issues.”
During the opening session of the meeting, it was agreed that work to foster the correct attitudes and behaviour among drivers, pedestrians and passengers is fundamental to road safety.
Later in the meeting, the participants discussed the implementation of the RS10 project in Lipetsk and Ivanovo, and road safety plans and objectives for 2013.
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