On 9th December, EASST partner, the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) in partnership with the National Patrolling Inspectorate (NPI) organised the final meeting of their Seat Belt Advocacy Campaign launched earlier this year.
At the start of the campaign, the ACM collected some shocking statistics that revealed only 65% of taxis in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, were equipped with passenger seat belts and, that out of 157 taxis inspected only 5% carried children’s restraints. As a result, taxi companies received driver training, attended meetings and engaged in activities to raise awareness around the importance of safe driving and safe vehicles.
At the event on 9th December, participants presented the results of the campaign and the NPI provided updated statistical data related to the number of road traffic crashes involving taxis between January and August 2016. Pavel Apostol of the NPI reported a 21% decrease in the number of incidents involving taxis compared to the same period in 2015, and a 26% decrease in the number of people injured. Sadly, however, the fatality rate saw no change.
Lieutenant colonel, Ruslan Popa, of the NPI reported on the impact of legislative changes to the Contravention Code for taxi services that were introduced in July 2016. It was noted that a strengthening of penalties would contribute to an increased responsibility for taxi companies to create conditions of security for themselves and their passengers, which will further lead to reducing the number of road traffic crashes. Mr. Apostol mentioned that 62 prescriptions have already been issued for driving without seat belts and other irregularities.
During the meeting, the ACM gave out diplomas to the managers of taxi companies in gratitude for their active participation in the Seat Belt Advocacy campaign. The participants also received information leaflets about the importance of seat belts and child restraints as well as calendars from the ACM with the message to ‘Embrace Life’. Tatiana Mihailova of the ACM suggested extending the campaign into 2017, highlighting that during the campaign and especially during the so-called ‘raids’ conducted between 19th – 25th October, several violations were detected including the non-use of seat belts and lack of child restraints. It was suggested that closer cooperation between the NPI and taxi companies could help see more visible results.
The idea to improve road safety in public transport, and particularly in taxi service, came from the ACM and Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport with the support of the National Patrol Inspectorate of Moldova.