Making road safety rules and resources ‘user-friendly’ for people with special educational needs and disability

Belarus, Children's Road Safety

One of the aims of the project Road safety without measures currently being implemented by our partners the Belarusian Auto Moto Touring Club (BKA) is to transform and adapt resources and information, such as road traffic rules and advice, into accessible user-friendly formats so that they are easy to understand, with no ambiguity. Using only plain language and illustration, the adapted resources are primarily aimed at supporting people with special educational needs and disability to keep themselves and others safe on the roads – but they are also useful to people low literacy levels, tourists, and children.

Earlier this month, the BKA, in collaboration with the Road Traffic Police and specialists from non-governmental organisation the Belarusian Association of Assistance to Children and Young People with Disabilities, held a consultation meeting between a group of young people with special educational needs and disability and specialists with experience in translating texts into plain, user-friendly language. Together they analysed the Traffic Police’s official documents relating to the rights and obligations of pedestrians to identify ambiguous passages of text and discuss how it could be simplified and made useful in a way that relates to real life road risks and experiences. The young people also took the opportunity to talk to the Road Traffic Police about the problems they face as road users on a day-to-day basis to raise further awareness of the importance of making sure the road system works for all road users.

Sustainable Development Goal 11.2 calls for

“access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons”by 2030.

Making road safety rules and resources ‘user-friendly’ for people with special educational needs and disability is vital to building such a safe and inclusive road system and ensuring that no one is left behind. Once the materials have been finalised the BKA will share them with disabled people’s organisations as well as government structures, including the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Communications and the Road Traffic Police, to ensure the information is widely available and accessible to anyone who might need it.

Having access to information and communication is also a core component of article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which states that

“States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas.”

In support of these goals, the BKA have also been continuing their mission to deliver inclusive road safety education to children in rural communities in Belarus using adapted versions of the EASST Road Safety Education Pack. On the 9th August they visited the family club ‘Special Heart’ in Mozyr in the Gomel region of Belarus, which aims to unite and provide support for families of children with disabilities.

The session as Special Heart included road safety games and contests for both disabled and non-disabled children and their families covering issues such as how to cross the road safely and the importance of being visible when on the road at night. BKA Director Irina Potyakina also held a special session for parents how to correctly choose and install child car seats, a vital protection for all children.