Increased number of parents using car seats in Moldova

Children's Road Safety, Moldova

Since May 2017, EASST partners the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) have been campaigning to increase the use of child car restraint systems and kids safety in transport across Moldova through a series of initiatives to raise public awareness and engage national public authorities and relevant non-governmental actors about child restraint systems, and to improve the culture and responsibility of parent-drivers for their child-passengers.

Data gathered at the start of the campaign found that out of four hundred parents dropping their children off at school 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. In rural areas, many parents were unaware of existence of child car seats at all or the requirement to use them by law.

Throughout the campaign the ACM along with the National Patrolling Inspectorate held a number of special actions in six regions across Moldova in order to raise awareness of the law and teach parents the importance of using restraints.

As the campaign draws to a close, on December 19th, the ACM held a dedicated conference to reveal the campaign’s impact. During the campaign period over 10,000 fines were issued to drivers for not using seat belts or appropriate child restraints. There was an 8 per cent increase in the number of drivers using restraint systems on a regular basis and a 7 per cent increase in the number of drivers using restraints 2-3 times a week. The National Patrolling Inspectorate also revealed a massive 26 per cent increase in the number of drivers attesting to a knowledge of the law around child restraints. Furthermore, in the municipality of Cahul the number of crashes involving children decreased from 18 to 3, with no fatalities recorded.

The conference was also a good opportunity to discuss the next steps of the campaign and the priorities for 2018. The ACM proposed the launch of a car seat donation platform, which would involve donations from families who no longer need their car seats to families who cannot afford them. Indeed, for many families in Moldova the cost of child restraints is an inhibiting factor to their use. Thus, the donations would help facilitate a safe journey for every child.

The campaign was implemented by ACM in partnership with the Federation Internationale de l’Automobilisme (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, “Oratorul” Theater, General Direction of Public Transport Chisinau and a number of driving schools.