Then and Now: Transforming road safety education in Crete
Greece is among the worst performing countries in Europe in terms of road safety with Crete suffering one of the highest rates of road injury in the country – and children are particularly at risk. According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority, 1 in every 2 children injured on the roads in 2014 were pedestrians, walking without adult supervision, with 1 in 3 failing to use designated pedestrian crossings. For those injured in cars, 70 per cent were not using any child restraints and of the 10 per cent of children who were injured as cyclists, almost none wore a helmet.
In 2015 Make Roads Safe Hellas (MRSH) joined the EASST network and began implementing the EASST Road Safety Education Pack in schools in the Chania Municipality of Crete. Prior to their work, road safety education was not a standard that schools in the municipality were required to fulfil. However, now both the Municipality of Chania and the Ministry of Education have approved the use of the EASST Road Safety Education Pack and are supporting its implementation in schools across the city.
As such, the Pack is being used by MRSH to introduce children and young people to basic road safety principles through simple, fun, educational activities such as painting, storytelling and interactive games. A particular favourite amongst pre-school children is the pedestrian crossing carpet, where they can practice what they have learned. Each child is given a specific role, holding up cards showing different vehicles or dressing up as traffic wardens and acting as pedestrians to practice how to Stop, Look and Listen when crossing the road.
The Education Pack has reached over 2,000 children to date and was voted by teachers as the number 1 initiative introduced in schools in 2016 and remains a preferred session by children and teachers alike. In 2018 it was introduced to the Hellenic Motor Museum in Athens who are now using it as part of their education programme which provides road safety training for local schools to support the national curriculum. And in 2019 MRSH has formed a a new collaboration with the Friends of Classic Cars to expand road safety education to more areas of Greece. As part of their social responsibility the ‘Friends’ are looking to expand activities with regards to educating children. The lessons will take place in their partner Club’s facilities around Greece further helping to develop MRSH’s reach in Greece.
In today’s society in Greece road safety education is fundamental. So by delivering key messages, and reinforcing and developing them at every stage of a child’s education MRSH are helping to ensure that they remain healthy, safe, and able to enjoy their lives.