In 2013, the Moldovan government passed new traffic legislation introducing the mandatory use of child restraint systems, tailored to relevant age and physical characteristics, for all children under the age of 12. This includes the use of booster seats, enabling seat belts to be fastened safely and correctly. Any violation of this law will result in penalty points on the drivers’ license. Still, in 2016 there were 387 registered road traffic collisions that involved children. 15 children were killed and 406 were injured.
As part of their national road safety campaign aimed at keeping children safe in cars, EASST partner, the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) surveyed four hundred parents dropping their children off at school to evaluate the extent to which this law is being followed and enforced.
In general, the results were positive. There was a good level of awareness of the law with 87 per cent of parents rating it as “positive”. 85 per cent agreed that law is important in reducing the number of children killed or seriously injured on the road and 90 per cent said that they should comply with the law to keep their children safe. However, closer inspection found that few of these parents comply fully with the law.
Indeed, of those cars stopped only 33 per cent were fitted with adequate child restraint systems tailored to the age and size of the children using them. 59 per cent had seatbelts with 92 per cent confirming that they are used “always” or “usually”. 8 per cent of parents admitted to not using restraints at all.
It is evident from the study that more active involvement from the police is needed to ensure compliance with the legislation. The press and civil society should also give more attention to the wider issue; ensuring parents are informed and aware of the importance of using child restraint systems to save children’s lives.
The ACM’s Keep Your Kids Safe in Cars campaign supported by Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), FIA Foundation, EASST, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Patrolling Inspectorate, Ministry of Education, the Swiss project REPEMOL, Theater “Oratorul”, General Direction of Public Transport Chisinau and a number of driver schools, launched on 30th May and will run throughout the summer.