The Automobile Club of Moldova, in partnership with the Road Police, have been active in organizing ‘preventive’ events with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable road users – children. On 16 September 2011, the ACM carried out road safety activities targeting children in order to raise the vital issue of pedestrian safety in Chisinau, Moldova.
According to the Road Police, the biggest cause of road deaths and injuries in Moldova is collisions with pedestrian, accounting for nearly one fifth of all road crashes (38.2%). The statistics on road accidents involving children are a national tragedy. In the first half of 2011 there were 245 road crashes involving children, in which 11 children died and 266 were seriously injured.
When school time starts, the risk of accidents involving children increases. Coinciding with the start of the academic year, the ACM team carried out a survey of road signs and road markings near schools. They found many places with a total lack of necessary signs, despite a high number of child pedestrians.
As part of their Road Safety for Children campaign, the ACM partnered with the Road Police and volunteers (teachers and pupils) from the “Chiril şi Metodiu” Lyceum in Chisinau. Together they ‘designed’ and painted a pedestrian crossing near this school. They selected a road junction where many children cross every day, but where there are no zebra crossings or other important road signage to help children cross safely. As part of their action, the pupils held up hand-painted posters with pedestrian crossing signs to highlight the lack of them. This small ‘flash-mob’ called upon the responsible authorities to take necessary measures to avoid this kind of omission to reduce the risk of more tragic deaths and injuries.
While at the school, the ACM team carried out road safety lessons (games and quizzes) for pupils and discussed current issues of road safety in Moldova. The lessons revealed a very important fact: that children know the traffic rules and are very disturbed by the lack of road safety protection – an injustice that they meet on their way to school or home each day.
The ACM distributed booklets to the children with information on pedestrian road safety. Younger pupils received an “ABC for little pedestrians,” and older children got a brochure on “10 Tips to survive on the road.” Teachers were very grateful for these gifts, because this kind of material is currently missing in schools.
The ACM campaign was a tremendous success, with swift results! The authorities responded immediately, and within a few days appropriate road markings were in place everywhere required around the Lyceum.
The ACM’s success shows that action on road safety can yield good results. Within the international “Make Roads Safe” campaign and the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 the ACM will continue work to save lives and prevent injuries on Moldova’s roads.