West Kazakhstan Region launches Regional Road Safety Strategy and unveils new road safety playgrounds for kids

Children's Road Safety, Kazakhstan, News, Road Safety Governance and Capacity Building

Every year more than 2,000 people die on the roads of Kazakhstan. The risk of dying in a road crash in the country is 7 times higher than in Sweden. Last year alone 111 people lost their lives on the roads in the Western Kazakhstan Region. In 2019 the regional government (Akimat) therefore declared a year of road safety, and in partnership with EASST, Shell Kazakhstan and Eni has been working to develop and strengthen intersectoral cooperation in the area of road safety with the aim of reducing road casualties and saving lives.

As such, with the support of local organisation Gauhar Zhol, we established a road safety working group under the auspices of the Akimat, which has been developing the region’s first road safety strategy, and delivered training to local stakeholders – including the traffic police, school teachers, fleet managers and NGOs – on the importance of road safety and their role in the implementation of a safe system approach.

To date the project has involved: introducing the EASST Road Safety Education Pack to local schools; a road safety audit of the Uralsk-Aksay highway and data collection for mapping the most dangerous pedestrian crossings and intersections in the city of Uralsk (the recommendations of which can be used as part of future road construction works); and social studies on speeding, use of seat belts and child restraints which will serve to inform enforcement operations as well as awareness-raising campaigns and actions on road safety.

Last week, EASST’s Serghei Diaconu and Tatiana Mihailova returned to the Uralsk to unveil two brand new mobile road safety playgrounds and two classroom spaces dedicated to road safety education for children. One of the playgrounds has been installed exclusively at the Palace of Schoolchildren and Youth, which is visited by up to 10,000 children a year. These children will now be able to participate in both theoretical and practical classes on road safety on an ongoing basis.

The visit also included the launch of the Akimat’s new Regional Road Safety Strategy. The launch event was attended by attended by the regional Akim (Mayor), Gali Iskaliev; the Ambassador of Italy to the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Pasquale D’Avino; representatives of Eni and Shell; as well as other members of the road safety working group. The strategy, which aims to reduce road casualties by 25% and child mortality by 50% by 2025, is based on an integrated safe system approach and focuses on 4 priority areas: safe roads, safe speed, safe road users, safe vehicles.

Opening the event, Mr. Iskaliev, said:

“The leadership of the region devotes much attention to road safety. The active construction of roads of regional and republican significance is underway in the region, the street-road network of the regional center is being improved, and modern means of road traffic regulation are being actively introduced. We hope that the measures to improve road safety carried out by EASST, Shell Kazakhstan and Eni will reduce the road crash rate in the region and save the lives and health of our citizens”.

EASST’s Serghei Diaconu commented that the partnership between EASST, Shell and Eni – with the tremendous support of the Akim – has made it possible to start the project in the region, which, with a committed approach by all responsible agencies has the potential to drastically improve the road safety and save many lives.