Global Road Safety Week in Moldova

Moldova, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

EASST partners the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Patrolling Inspectorate coordinated the action for UN Global Road Safety Week in Moldova.

On 8th May the ACM organised a high-level round table at the City Hall of Congaz, Gagauzia involving all the main actors in the field of road safety nationally including: the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS); the National Patrolling Inspectorate (NPI); local public authorities (LPAs); active non-governmental organisations (including the ACM and UCA); as well as other civil society organisations from nearby localities (Svetlîi, Chirsova, Comrat). The purpose of the meeting was to encourage people to #SpeakUp about the problems they face on the roads – especially vulnerable road users such as children, parents with pushchairs, the elderly and persons with disabilities – and to call on the authorities to identify and implement appropriate and urgent solutions. Congaz was chosen to host the event as it represents the largest residential settlement along the main national highway (M3), and its citizens are exposed to increased risk.

ACM Project Manager, Tatiana Mihailova, opened the discussion talking about why we mark Global Road Safety Week and the importance of strong leadership to reduce road casualties and meet global targets. She said:

“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.”

In this context, Uliana Catan of the NPI emphasised the indispensability of parents’ and teachers, providing good examples to children, 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 called for unity, saying:

“The involvement of all – the national authorities, as well as the general public and the private sector – in road safety improvement activities can drastically reduce the number of road crashes and victims.”

Those representing local authorities highlighted in particular the challenges they face in the region, and the impact of the M3 route – an important international trade route – being on the doorstep. Congaz Mayor, Mihail Esir, spoke about the importance of the event being hosted in the region and presented the actions that LPAs have been carrying out to improve road safety and mitigate the increased risk brought by the highway as well as highlighting the social and economic benefits that better road safety can bring.

Ivan Topal, Chair of the Comrat Region, emphasised the need to unite efforts to create a safer road environment. He talked about the important need to teach children on road traffic safety, raise parents’ awareness of how they can keep their children safe, and create appropriate road infrastructure conditions that prioritise safety.

The need for better road safety education was also supported by a number of teachers and the ACM offered a copy of the EASST Road Safety Education Pack to all who attended. The Pack has been approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research to support road safety education nationwide as part of the curriculum for Personal Development. One Comrat school Director also used the opportunity to lobby for new asphalt to be laid on the pavement from the school to the main road. This led to a wider discussion on infrastructure with the civil society representatives presenting a clear set of recommendation to the authorities including:

  • Speeding up road reconstruction works in the region that have been ongoing for more than 5 years;
  • Installing secure pedestrian crossings in needed locations and painting proper road markings;
  • Installing traffic calming measures to reduce speed, including traffic lights and video-surveillance systems, especially when entering localities;
  • Constructing pedestrian sidewalks;
  • Constructing children’s road safety playgrounds, and increasing the number of road safety lessons in schools.

Following the meeting, the participants joined children from local schools and road safety mascots, Zebra and Capsunica Clown in a flash mob, which consisted of a road safety march through Congaz to attract attention and raise public awareness of current traffic problems in the village, especially those of pedestrians.

In addition, the ACM opened a stand in the ‘Stefan cel Mare si Sfant’ Public Garden in the capital, Chisinau, where celebration events for Europe Day were also taking place to raise awareness and encourage safer road user behaviour. Through the stand, members of the public were given the opportunity to #SpeakUp and share their demands fir safer streets.

The events in Congaz were followed by a National Policy Dialogue in the capital Chisnau at the end of the month, bringing together representatives from the Government, international agencies (including the WHO) and civil society organisations to discuss the national and regional road safety vision, as well as the mobility and road safety challenges faced by all road users in the country and in the capital.