09:59 | 28/06/2020 Society
The two-year Slow Zones, Safe Zones speed reduction program in Gia Lai Province, Vietnam, which is supported by Fondation Botnar, the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), Nissan Motor Corporation, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), and Kova Paint Company, officially concludes its first phase.
In partnership with local government in Gia Lai Province, AIP Foundation held a closing ceremony to share the program’s first phase results. Stakeholders included representatives from the National Traffic Safety Committee, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Education and Training, representatives of Gia Lai provincial government, and school administrators and parents from Pleiku City.
|Mr.Khuat Viet Hung, Vice President of NTSC presenting his speech.resize|
The ceremony began with a photo exhibition of the recent “Preserve Your Children’s Happiest Moments” photo contest, a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the importance of child safety on the road that reached more than 9 million people and received almost 2,000 photo submissions.
Following the exhibition, AIP Foundation shared noteworthy speed reduction results from the two-year pilot program. Slow Zones, Safe Zones constructed tailored, comprehensive school zone safety modifications including speed bumps, road markings, speed reduction signs, and sidewalks, in response to dangers on Pleiku roads. At target schools, traffic volume is extremely high. Additionally, some vehicles were driving as fast as 70-80 km/h, well over the international recommended speed for school zones, which is 30 km/h. The safety modifications were validated by scientific assessments like the Star Rating for Schools (SR4S) App, which determined that both pilot schools successfully increased their safety rating to 5 stars. Speed reduction results were comparably significant, with maximum speed at both target schools reduced by as much as 18-21 km/h.
“There are many contributing factors to Vietnam’s road safety crisis, but when 25% of road crashes are caused by speeding, even small speed reductions can lower the likelihood of serious injury or death. We are extremely happy with the initial results of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones program. We hope that the safe school zone model in Pleiku City can be expanded and applied to create more safe schools in different cities throughout our country” said Dr. Khuat Viet Hung, Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee.
Among self-report student road crashes, the rate of crashes near target schools decreased from 34.1% to 30.4%. Additionally, according to community surveys, the percentage of people who correctly identified the current speed limit in the target school areas increased from 15.9% before intervention to 65.8% afterward.
“According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2,150 children lose their lives on Vietnam’s roads every year. This is unacceptable. When we know that pedestrians have only a 10% chance of survival if in a collision with a vehicle driving at 60 kilometers per hour, but have a 90% chance of survival if the car is driving 30 kilometers per hour, there is never an excuse for speeding, especially near school zones. We must take immediate action to protect our children from preventable tragedies,” said Mirjam Sidik, CEO of AIP Foundation.
AIP Foundation’s public awareness campaigns are hard-hitting and extend far to educate community members on the dangers of speeding. One public service announcement entitled “The Wheel” was aired by Gia Lai Television in 2019, reached an estimated 1.4 million people last year. Following the announcement, in conjunction with other public awareness campaigns, police enforcement, and school modifications, 86.1% of surveyed drivers reported having driven slower when passing school zones.
Almost all community members in the target schools support such public awareness campaigns and affirm the need for more awareness on speed reduction in school zones.
Despite significant changes in speed and community knowledge, Slow Zones, Safe Zones still has work to do.
The second phase of Slow Zones, Safe Zones, will take place between July 2020-March 2022, building upon the program’s commitment to educating children and community members of the dangers of speeding, as well as focus on legislative change by increasing collaboration with local government and police enforcement.
|AIP Foundation's representative and Gia Lai TSC's representative successfully signing MOU for the Slow Zones Safe Zones Phase II.resize|
“Today in Vietnam, there is little or no recognition of school zones and the need to create safer environments for children who use them, let alone a standard school zone definition. Through community input and government support, Slow Zones, Safe Zones, will advocate for policy change in the second phase to establish a first-ever legal school zone definition for Pleiku City creating a framework for the future design and safety renovations to school zones,” said Raoul Powlowski, of the Global Road Safety Partnership.
“In Pleiku City, schools are often located along national and provincial roads, which means our children face serious risks when they commute to and from school. No child should ever feel unsafe on our roads. All children must have the right to walk to school without worry about a potential road injury. We are incredibly pleased with the work being done to address the issue of speeding and are committed to reducing speed across all schools in Pleiku City,” said Mr. Le Van Hanh, of Gia Lai Traffic Safety Committee.