Road safety in Kazakhstan is a serious public health issue. Every day more than 10 people are killed and 100 people injured on the road. According to the WHO Global Status Report 2015, Kazakhstan has the highest number of road deaths per 100,000 people of any country in Europe, and the wider European area.
With an urban speed limit exceeding the recommended minimum of 50mp/h, it is important that drivers learn the importance of slowing down. To mark the UN Global Road Safety Week 2017 EASST partner, Common Road NGO, visited four key cities across the country to raise awareness of road safety and call on local authorities to take the #slowdown pledge and improve road safety infrastructure for children.
Their week began in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana, before moving on to Kyzylorda, Aktau and Almaty. In each city, Young Road Inspectors, specially trained students from local schools, organised a presentation for the Akim (Head of the Local Government) or representatives from the Department of Internal Affairs and City Traffic Police on the importance of road safety, where they called on authorities to sign up to the #SaveKidsLives 2020 Action Agenda and make public how they will reach the Global Goals target to halve road deaths by 2020.
In Kyzylorda, Common Road presented the EASST Road Safety Education Pack to the local police and worked with officers to conduct inspections around local schools, looking for safe transport infrastructure. They made unannounced visits to schools and were encouraged to find police inspectors on duty around every school they visited, ensuring the safety of children crossing the road and being dropped off. The campaign in Kyzylorda also targeted members of the general public, as students from school No. 198 organised a flash mob and other activities to raise awareness of the road risks around their school. At an event in the city park, passers-by were presented with reflective wristbands (so they can be seen when walking at night) and pamphlets about the dangers of speeding.
In the city of Aktau, Common Road teamed up with local WHO representatives to hold a Road Safety Masterclass at school No. 20 using the EASST Road Safety Education Pack. Students were given the opportunity to learn about road risk in an interactive and engaging way, receiving resources and reflective wristbands that will have a practical impact on keeping them safe. Common Road also received a brand new ‘Safety Car’ from the Toyota Centre in Aktau, which will be used as part of their joint project to capture and report both safe and unsafe driving behaviour to raise awareness of people’s actions on the roads and risks that they pose on an ongoing basis.
The week concluded in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, where Arsen Shakuov of the Common Road NGO, along with representatives from the WHO and Department of Internal Affairs, gave a press conference to local and national media talking about the #slowdown campaign and the importance of promoting road safety in Kazakhstan.