Seat Belt and Eco-Driving on the streets of Dushanbe

News, Tajikistan

Media messages and images will be on the streets this week in Dushanbe promoting the benefits of wearing a seat belt and of eco-driving to save fuel and protect the environment. The public awareness campaign implemented by EASST partners the Young Generation of Tajikistan (YGT) is supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to save lives and reduce vehicle emissions.

The campaign has been developed based on surveys of drivers and passengers in Dushanbe. Over 5,000 car occupants were observed, as well as truck and taxi drivers. Fewer than one in eight car occupants wore seat belts – mostly only drivers. For eco-driving, focus groups revealed most drivers do not know what it involves, though they would like to save fuel.

In a crash you are twice as likely to die if you don’t wear a seat belt, and unbelted back seat passengers can kill drivers during an impact. Surveys and focus groups in Dushanbe showed much needs to be done to improve seat belt wearing to save lives:

  • Out of 5,150 car occupants observed, just 12.9% wore seat belts;
  • Nearly 1 in 4 drivers wore belts – 22.5%;
  • Only one in 20 front passengers (5.4%) and almost no back passengers (0.6%) were belted;
  • None of the 50 truck drivers or their passengers wore belts;
  • Only 22% of taxi drivers wore seat belts.

A major problem for seat belt wearing is that many vehicles do not have belts or do not have belts that work. A special survey found that, of 300 seats checked, nearly two-thirds (63.7%) did not have working or accessible belts. Many were covered by car seats.

Special focus groups of drivers also found a need for more public awareness on eco-driving. Many drivers are not sure what it is, or how to drive to save fuel and reduce emissions. Participants in the focus groups were eager to learn more. Most were concerned about the environment, and would like to reduce their fuel costs. This campaign will teach drivers essential eco-driving skills.

The public awareness campaign is being launched this week in collaboration with the Ministry for Internal Affairs/Republican Traffic Police, Ministry of Transport, Committee on Youth and Sport Affairs, Office of the Mayor of Dushanbe and civil society partners in Dushanbe dedicated to the “Year of Youth” in Tajikistan and achievement of UN “Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020”. The campaign will include printed media, posters & billboards, radio audio messages, television and social media, and information leaflets. Media messages will be aired regularly for 5 months. Special seminars have been arranged on the benefits of eco-driving for drivers, companies and society as a whole.

The EBRD is supporting the road safety and eco-drive project as part of their overall commitment to safe and sustainable transport, in collaboration with the ADB (Asian Development Bank). The campaign also supports the CAREC Road Safety Strategy (2017-2030) under which priority has been given to raising public awareness of the importance of seat belts. The campaign will run until April 2018, with plans for follow-up work.