30km/h school zones made mandatory in new amendments to Moldova’s national Road Traffic Regulation

Children's Road Safety, Moldova, News

On 14th September, EASST partners, the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) celebrated an advocacy win as the Cabinet of Ministers of Moldova approved a series of amendments to improve the national Road Traffic Regulations with the aim of implementing a safer road system.

One important change is the reduction of speed limits to 30km/h around “areas with increased flow of vulnerable traffic users”. This includes school zones and roads around hospitals, parks, and historic landmarks.

This amendment follows a 2-year advocacy campaign led by the ACM, supported through EASST by the FIA Foundation’s Advocacy Hub. The aim of the campaign was to reduce speed related road crashes and casualties around schools by securing a commitment to mandatory 30 km/h speed limits.

“This is a fantastic result for our partner Automobile Club of Moldova and for people across the country. The FIA Foundation Advocacy Hub is supporting partners to engage, advocate and collaborate to target national policy; this remarkable development showcases how changes are possible to deliver low-speed streets for life around the world.” – Agnieszka Krasnolucka, FIA Foundation Programmes Manager

Previously, speed limits in all urban areas were set at 50 km/h. Speed limits around schools were recommended at 30km/h but this was not mandatory, and limits were rarely, in practice, set this low. Speed is also recorded as a major cause of road crashes in Moldova with police data for 2020 citing speed as a factor in 49% of road fatalities that year.

ACM are members of the National Road Safety Council and sit on the Committee for Road Infrastructure both at national and local level. Their campaign therefore targeted key stakeholders at city level in Chisinau to develop a local strategy for slower speed zones around schools as well as advocating for policy change at a national level.

The campaign included assessing infrastructure, piloting speed limit reductions, and installing low-cost traffic calming measures at three ‘high-risk’ schools across Chisinau. Local school children got involved in campaigns calling on drivers passing their school to respect the new speed limits and slow down.

“This campaign demonstrated how important civil society involvement is in pushing road safety forward, and how united efforts can lead to success. The combination of the ACM’s advocacy efforts, support from the teachers, parents and children, police, and the Mayor’s Office shows real demand for road safety infrastructure measures to be applied at crossings near every school, particularly the ones located near to the road…” – Anna Frant, Director of the Stefan cel Mare Lyceum

The ACM’s advocacy efforts involved city authorities and community groups, through which they gained support from the Municipal Transport Department and Mayor’s Office as well as 15 national civil society organisations, representing different sectors, who signed a petition calling for slower speeds.

“Our campaign involved children, teachers, parents, police, cyclists, civic activists, celebrities, journalists, officials at both national and local levels to extend our advocacy message as widely as we could… Now it is time for the local authorities to focus on implementation, for the police to focus on enforcement, and ultimately, but very importantly, for drivers to respect the new laws to ensure safety and protect the children and other vulnerable road users we advocated for.” – Tatiana Mihailova, ACM Director/Project Manager

The amendments to the Road Traffic Regulation also include important updates around segregated cycle lanes, clarity in road rules for overtaking cyclists, and for the first time, guidance on using electric scooters.

The ACM’s advocacy efforts will now move towards ensuring these new rules are implemented effectively and efficiently, as well as advocating for wider implementation of 30km/h to all urban areas.