Moldova remembers road crash victims
This year, on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, Moldovan authorities and civil society chose to pay tribute to the lives that have been lost on the roads this year through holding a road safety march, and planting Oak trees across the country in memory of those who have died – with the added benefit of offering a brighter, cleaner environment for local communities.
The World Day of Remembrance theme for 2019 was Safer vehicles. This was recognised through a road safety march along one of the most dangerous roads in Moldova. A column of parked emergency service vehicles and cars displaying the campaign slogan ‘Life is not a car part’ lined the streets from the heart of Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, to a village high school situated right on the dangerous route. At the school, representatives from all emergency services, driving schools, car clubs and transportation companies (taxi and maxi-taxi) joined a group of students in a ‘Slow Down’ flash mob. The children urged the passing drivers not to exceed speed limits and respect road regulations in a bid to encourage communities and authorities to put an end to preventable road casualties and fatalities.
Mihai, a sixth-grader from ‘Alexandru Donici’ Lyceum in the Peresecina village, said:
“We want to feel safe on our village streets. Our school is situated right on this street where road accidents happen all the time – mostly because of speeding. We hope that passing drivers will be more careful in the future.”
The road safety march was organised by the National Patrol Inspectorate, EASST partners – the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) and the World Health Organisation in Moldova in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection. Patrol Police Chief, Victor Manole, said:
“Speeding, crossing in un-permitted areas, and drink driving are three of the major causes of traffic crashes in Moldova”
As part of the actions, the Moldovan Traffic Police, therefore, also doubled its efforts to prevent road traffic crashes by multiplying their patrolling on the dangerous routes and stopping drivers for regular safety checkups. They implemented a ‘White Weekend’ based on Moldova’s now infamous ‘White Nights’ enforcement campaign to tackle drink-driving which will continue regularly in different locations throughout the winter months. The operation involves setting up check points on major roads and stopping every car to breath test the driver. Each stop is recorded to ensure transparency so that everyone, no matter their rank or position, can be penalised if found to be over the limit.
Official data cites the number of road crashes in Moldova so far in 2019 as 2100, in which 217 people have lost their lives and another 2480 suffered serious injuries. In memory of these people, the Moldovan Traffic Police, along with the ACM, planted Oak trees in 50 towns and suburbs across the country with the added benefit of providing fresh air and a green environment to survivors. The aim being to also raise awareness of local authorities and communities on issues of air pollution and how road safety and healthy streets are one in the same.
The events drew huge media attention, putting the spotlight on road safety and the necessity for urgent action as Moldova prepares its new National Road Safety Strategy for the next decade.