EASST Moldova and Alex Wurz Launch ‘Safe Driving for Life’ Campaign

Formula 1 driver and EASST Ambassador Alex Wurz, Minister for the Interior Dorin Recean, and Chief of the State Road Police of Moldova Serghei Diaconu have launched a ‘Safe Driving for Life’ campaign to tackle the high rate of work-related road injuries in Moldova. The campaign is being organized by EASST and its partner the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) with the assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), who are taking an active role in promoting a safe driving culture as part of the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety.

L-R Minister for the Interior Dorin Recean, EASST Director Emma MacLennan, Chief of the State Road Police of Moldova Serghei Diaconu, Formula 1 driver and EASST Ambassador Alex Wurz

The two-day launch workshop held in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on 13-14th February brought together stakeholders concerned with the number of work-related road incidents in the country, specifically those involving public transport fleets and drivers. The rate of road fatalities in the Republic of Moldova is twice as high as the average for the EU27 and over three times as high as the fatality rate in the UK[1]. This is despite much smaller vehicle density – the UK has over three times more motor vehicles per population [2]. Globally around a third of road injuries are work-related, locally representing a loss estimated by EASST of 70 million Euros per annum to the Moldovan economy. A number of fatal public transport crashes have occurred in the last year at huge cost – both human and economic. The issue of safe public road passenger transport has now become prominent on the political agenda in Moldova, where there is a new desire to find effective solutions.

Mr. Seredniac Nicolai, Director of “Autorapid” SRL, a maxi-taxi service in Chisinau, talks about driving conditions in the capital

The workshop included a mixture of presentations and discussions with key stakeholders on the topic of ‘Driving for Better Business’. Participants included representatives from the City and Central Governments, regulatory authorities, drivers and inspectors of public transport fleets and vehicles (trolley buses and maxi-taxis) and private companies. British and Austrian road safety experts included EASST Trustee Anne-Marie Penny, Katherine Meehan of the Kent Camera Partnership, Sally Thornley of the Freight Transport Association and Dr Michael Gatscha of Test & Training International. An important contribution was made by speakers from the State Road Police, the Municipal Transport Department of Chisinau, the Directors the Trolleybus companies of Chisinau and Balti, the ‘Driver Plus’ driving school and the Director of ‘Autorapid,’ the largest maxi-taxi firm in Chisinau, all of whom shared their experiences of the challenges they face in reducing work-related crashes.

Ms Katherine Meehan of the Kent & Medway Safety Camera Partnership shares the experience of Tesco.com, whose introduction of safe driving policies dramatically reduced casualties and costs while improving staff morale and company performance

The successful event included an award ceremony to officially recognise and reward the safest drivers from companies committed to the campaign – drivers who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to road safety.  The competition involved the following categories of drivers: trolleybus drivers, maxi-taxi drivers, bus drivers, drivers of Emergency Service vehicles, and police drivers.

Samir Aliev, Director of the “Driver Plus” School signs and receives the ‘Safe Driving Pledge’ presented by Alex Wurz and Serghei Diaconu

Award participants were selected by the leaders of their organizations and in the second stage were checked with the assistance of Road Police based on the following criteria: number of accidents, number of violations of the Road Traffic Regulation, discipline, respect, and responsibility for passengers and other traffic participants. The winning drivers were awarded with certificates and prizes from “Petrom”, “Orange” and “DAAC Hermes”, and presented by the Minister of Interior, Mr. Dorin Recean and former F1 driver and double champion of Les Mans 24 Hours, Alex Wurz.

Reflective stickers were given to participating organizations as a sign of support and promotion of safe driving

During the ceremony, Moldovan companies and drivers signed a “Safe Driving Pledge” agreeing ‘To take measures to reduce the cost of crashes and injuries by promoting a safe driving culture.’ The participating organizations received special reflective stickers to place on all their units of transport as a sign of support and promotion of safe driving. The Pledge was also signed by the Ambassadors of France, the United Kingdom, the Austrian Development Agency, the UNDP, and other international organisations and companies operating in Moldova such as Hellenic Coca-Cola. The driver and company pledges can be viewed online here: Driver Pledge, Comapny Pledge, Code of Conduct

HMA Keith Shannon, British Ambassador to Moldova (fifth from right), joined the workshop participants and speakers for the ceremony. The Ambassador praised the work of the ACM and EASST for their efforts in this vital area of work

The workshop provided an opportunity to forge common approach and commitment to reducing the risk of work-related road crashes and preventing injury to passengers and pedestrians. The participants agreed to establish a working group to continue making progress in this area. A commitment was made to hold award ceremonies annually to recognize safe driving and promote ‘Safe Driving for Life’ for all road fleets.

Mr Gheorghe Morgoci Director of Regia Transport Electric (RTEC) trolleybus service in Chisinau, Mr Puiu RTEC Deputy Director, Mr Ion Cazacu of Road Traffic Safety Sector in the Municipal Transport Dept, and Mr Lilian Copaci Chief of Road Traffic Management, are key participants of the campaign

Derran Williams, Principal Health and Safety Specialist of the EBRD, summarized the message of the workshop: “There is an increasing recognition of the importance of road safety in work and the need to protect drivers, passengers and the public. Road safety policies are also vital for reducing business costs and safeguarding a company’s reputation. The EBRD welcomes this initiative to promote a safe driving culture and reduce road casualties in Moldova.”

A press conference was held to conclude the event. Coverage can be found here:

http://www.canal3.md/rus/news/economic/item5170/#.UR4L60mar0c.facebook

http://pr.gov.md/news/details/948

http://saferoads.md/index.php?view=news&t=sofatul_sigur_inseamna_viata

http://autostrada.md/lista-emisiuni (TV coverage of the event from 3:20 - 7:30 minutes)

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[1] International Road Federation, World Road Statistics 2012, 2011 data; and ETSC, 6th Road Safety PIN Report 2012

[2] IRF, World Road Statistics 2012

 

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