Last month, EASST partner, the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) in collaboration with the National Patrolling Inspectorate (NPI) conducted a study that found that only 65% of taxis in Chisnau are equipped with passenger seat belts. Following this revelation, taxi companies were given a month to improve driving behaviours and install passenger seat belts and child restraints in their fleets (read the news story here).
On 12th October, the Directors and representatives of the taxi companies of Chisinau reported on this progress. Most have introduced new controls and undertaken first measures to raise drivers’ awareness of seat belt laws, health issues, safe driving, and child restraints on rear seats, along with regular technical inspections.
During the event, Colonel Botnari of the NPI talked about new legislative changes that came into force in July 2016, strengthening penalties for those found not wearing seat belts. According to Botnari, “more severe penalties will contribute to increasing the responsibility of taxi companies in creating conditions of security for themselves and their passengers, which will further lead to reducing the number of road traffic crashes.”
Pavel Apostol of the NPI also reported on the statistical and monitoring data collected since the campaign started. He revealed that between January and September 2016, there were 75 recorded incidents involving taxis (an average of eight per month), which caused the deaths of three people and injured 42. In the month since the campaign started there have been only three recorded incidents. Pavel also reported that there have been 7190 notifications issued since the beginning of the year for driving without a seat belt.
Tatiana Mihailova of the ACM reinforced the necessity for attendees to organise regular road safety training and discussions with drivers and fleet managers; as well as distributing formative brochures about seat belt and child restraint use, law and interesting facts.
Accordingly, on 19th October the ACM and NPI organized a follow up action that involved monitoring taxi drivers regarding their adherence of road traffic rules, the use of seat belts by their passengers and the presence of child restraint systems in their cars – with those found breaking any of the new regulations being cautioned. This monitoring exercise is being carried out daily for the next two weeks.