5th edition of the UN Global Road Safety Week marked in Moldova
5th edition of the UN Global Road Safety Week marked in Moldova

The UN Road Safety Week is a biennial global road safety campaign organized by the World Health Organization. It brings together individuals, governments, NGOs, corporations and other organizations around the world to increase road safety awareness and make changes that will reduce the number of road deaths, including a number of road traffic crash activities, to save millions of lives on the roads. It also requires urgent action to reduce the number of deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030; objective set in the UN Global Objectives for Sustainable Development for the next 11 years (2030).

Each UNGRS Week has a special theme. The theme of the 5th Week is leadership, and the slogan is #SpeakUp.

The Republic of Moldova has joined this global action and, at the initiative of the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Patrolling Inspectorate (NPI), with the support of the Eastern Aliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST), The International Automobile Federation (FIA) and FIA Foundation, several events have been organized at the national level.

Thus, on May 8, in Congaz City Hall of ATU Gagauzia, a round table with the participation of the main actors in the field of road safety - the representatives of the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS), the National Patrolling Inspectorate (NPI) local public authorities (LPAs), active non-governmental organizations (ACM and UCA) and civil society from several nearby localities (Svetlîi, Chirsova, Comrat) was organized . The purpose of the meeting was to make the civil society representatives to #SpeakUp about the problems they face when in street, especially children, mothers with strollers, elder generation and persons with special needs, and for the authorities to identify the proper and urgent solutions for the existing problems. The location of the event was not chosen at random, but considering that Congaz village is the longest locality along the national route (M3), its inhabitants being exposed at an increased risk of road accidents.

Tatiana Mihailova , Automobile Club of Moldova, opened the discussion mentioning about the aim of marking Global Road Safety Weeks and the importance of a strong leadership in the field to improve the situation. "It is very important that each of us understands that he or she can be a leader in the community, as well as an example for others by identifying the issues and asking the authorities to solve them. It is essential to remember that observing very simple rules on the streets can save our lives that must be promoted for all age groups at any time. "

In this context, Uliana Catan of the National Patrolling Inspectorate, emphasized the indispensability of providing a fair example of parents for the little ones and the need to train children in road safety from an early age.

Neli Lelenco of the Executive Bureau of the National Road Safety Council, said: "The involvement of all, the national authorities, as well as the local public, the associative sector, but also everyone in the road safety improvement activities, could minimize the number of road crashes and victims. "

Representatives of local authorities highlighted the challenges they face in the region. Mihail Esir, Mayor of Congaz, spoke in particular about the importance of the organized event, the activities carried out by LPA in the last period to ensure the security conditions in road traffic sector and about the existing issues conditioned by the fact that the village is located on the M3 route, one of international importance.

Ivan Topal, Chair of the Comrat region, highlighted the need to unite efforts, the importance of training children on road traffic safety, the care parents for their children, and creation of appropriate road infrastructure conditions. About the importance of organizing more road safety lessons and the need for thematic didactic materials , also mentioned the director of School nr. 3 from the locality,Mrs. Olga Cebanova. Thus, the ACM team took care thateach educational institution attended at the event, received the EASST RS Educational Pack, approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research as didactic support for the Personal Development discipline ( “Road Safety Education Pack” for teachers and educators in Moldova ). Also, Mrs. Cebanova took advantage of the opportunity and asked the authorities for asphalting the pavement from the school to the main road.

The civil society formulated very clear requirements for the authorities , insisting on: finishing the road reconstruction works in the region that lasts more than 5 years; creating secure pedestrian crossings in certain locations and paint proper road marking; installing traffic calming means and speed reduction elements, especially when entering localities; construction of pedestrian sidewalks; installation of traffic lights and video surveillance systems; the construction of children's road safety playgrounds, and increase the number of road safety lessons in schools.

At the round table completion, the participants together with the school-children from local educational institutions together with ACM, INP, "Oratorul" Theatre, Semaforica, Zebra and Capsunica Clown organized a flash mob, which consisted of a road safety march oriented to attract and raise public awareness of current traffic problems, especially those of pedestrians. The march caused the expected attention from locals and drivers, who, being interested in the flash-mob, slowed down and communicated with children.

Also, in the framework of the UN Global Road Safety Week during the Europe Day event in Moldova, in the "Stefan cel Mare si Sfant" Public Garden, the #SpeakUp stand of ACM and NPI was installed, to inform about road safety and relatedissues and to call the society towards proper traffic behavior. Everyone present had the chance to #SpeakUp, share the demands on the #SpeakUp wall, make photos and receive useful informative materials and reflectors.

Leadership is the ability to influence or inspire people to achieve a certain goal. Stronger leadership for road safety is needed at the national and local levels to attain road safety targets. The most effective leaders, who hail from all sectors of society, are those who #SpeakUp for road safety and take action. It’s important to recognize that all of us, as individuals, can be leaders for road safety!

Whether we travel as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or users of private motor vehicles or public transport, as individuals we can #SpeakUp for road safety. We can behave safely on the road, serve as role models for others, especially young people; advocate for better laws and law enforcement and support those who have been affected by road traffic crashes.

To know what to speak up for, you need to understand the risks you face on the road first. Every day you travel to work, school or visit family and friends. During your daily travels you, or your children, may encounter certain risks on the roads. We encourage you to assess these risks and start demanding road safety. We ask everyone to only demand road safety interventions that are evidence-based and are proven to work from our lists of interventions provided.

To mark the Fifth UN Global Road Safety Week, we can assess our journeys, record our demands, and prompt decision-makers to make a pledge to make our roads safe.