Road Safety Russia

The Matryoshka will symbolise safety on russian roads

17 April 2013

The State Automobile Inspectorate announces a new nationwide public awareness campaign, “Buckle Up!”. The campaign, which will last until July, is being run in partnership with the Russian Association of Motor Insurers and the NGO Road Safety Russia.

Surveys of more than 50,000 people have revealed that only half of the Russian population always use a seat belt. Furthermore, even although back seat passengers are just as vulnerable in the event of an accident as the front seat occupants of a vehicle, the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) has found that only 17% of back seat passengers always use their seat belts.

The campaign’s main objective is to explain to road users that the use of seat belts is mandatory for all drivers and passengers, including back seat passengers. Over the years, numerous tests conducted both in Russia and abroad have shown seat belts to be effective in the event of a road accident or sharp braking.

Unfortunately, drivers and passengers in Russia today are failing to give seat belts due attention. Many road traffic deaths could have been prevented had the vehicle occupants been wearing seat belts. Studies show that seat belt use by drivers and passengers reduces the likelihood of death by 50%.

The symbol of the “Buckle Up!” campaign is the matryoshka, Russia’s most famous and recognisable image. The matryoshka is a symbol that unites the diverse traditions of the inhabitants of Russia, just as roads connect people, cities, towns and villages, unifying Russia economically and socially.

During the campaign the matryoshka will remind people of the rules of the road through competitions, lessons in schools and nurseries, and educational events and activities for families, which will be held in leisure centres, outside and online. 

The matryoshka, in itself, symbolises safety: the tiny doll is protected by the little doll; the little doll is protected by the medium-sized doll; and the medium-sized doll is protected by the big doll. Moreover, the matryoshka is associated with motherhood, which is virtually synonymous with life. It is for these reasons that the matryoshka has been chosen to spearhead the new public awareness campaign as a unifying symbol of road safety in Russia. The campaign aims to explain to the entire population of Russia that wearing a seat belt is essential to protect one’s own life and the lives of one’s nearest and dearest.

The matryoshka also represents a family with many children. The campaign organisers are focusing on the image of a family of five: a mother, a father and three children. Surveys show that this is the number of children that most Russian families would like to have. The campaign will devote particular attention to child passenger safety. This will continue a theme addressed by the recent “Car Seats for Children” campaign, which aimed to promote the use of child car seats for children under the age of 12. (This campaign was also launched by the State Automobile Inspectorate, the Russian Association of Motor Insurers and the NGO Road Safety Russia.)

The organisers are confident that the new “Buckle Up!” campaign will have a positive impact on road safety and help to reduce the number of people killed and injured on Russia’s roads.



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