Vietnam receives two international awards for prioritizing safe school zones

17:52 | 21/09/2022 Society

For their impressive collaborative work to improve road safety for youth and for the community, national and local governments in Vietnam will be awarded two highly prestigious international road safety awards for their work in Pleiku City, which now serves as a model for safe school zones nationwide.

From local to national impact

The World Health Organization estimates that road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults (aged 5-29 years old) globally. Across the world, many children are safeguarded by taking public transportation, by riding their bikes, or by walking on safe roads. However, not every student in Vietnam enjoys equal safety on their way to and from school.

vietnam receives two international awards for prioritizing safe school zones
Mr. Saul Billingsley, Executive Director at the FIA Foundation, delivers remark

Through a combination of various interventions - including the improvement of school zone infrastructure, education, communications, and policy advocacy - the Slow Zones, Safe Zones program has made landmark advances to save lives notably by reducing speeds in school zones, and now, Pleiku serves as a model for safe school zones nationwide.

The Slow Zones, Safe Zones program began with two pilot schools and expanded throughout Pleiku City. The program eventually reached all 31 primary schools in the city, of which 23 schools reached the maximum 5-star safety rating, as assessed by the Star Rating for Schools tool. Through partnerships at the local, provincial, and national levels, the program's reach is extending to the entire country.

From a national impact to international recognition

National and local governments were awarded in recognition of their initiation of the Slow Zones, Safe Zones policy, and the resulting infrastructure improvements and reductions in speed limits conducted in partnership with AIP Foundation, supported by Fondation Botnar, under the Botnar Child Road Safety Challenge, the Global Road Safety Partnership, iRAP, the FIA and the FIA Foundation.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director at the FIA Foundation shared, “These prestigious awards recognise the commitment to road safety of the Vietnamese government at national, regional and city level. The Slow Zones, Safe Zones interventions in Pleiku clearly demonstrate that low traffic speeds, combined with safe infrastructure design, are the best way to protect children on their vital school journey. We hope that children across Vietnam will benefit as this evidence is translated into national action.”

These measures save lives by reducing speeds in school zones and are now a model for safe school zones throughout Vietnam. For the impressive work and joint efforts made on the national and local governments levels, a ceremony will take place on 13 July in Hanoi for them to receive not one, but two highly prestigious international awards:

Prince Michael International Road Traffic Safety Award 2020 to the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). This award is the recognition of the organizations' great contribution to the improvement of road safety around the world.

Nancy Pullen-Seufert, Director, National Center for Safe Routes to School, UNC Highway Safety Research Center shared “By recognizing the outstanding achievements of this city and province, we hope to inspire other places to take bold steps to reach zero traffic deaths among children and youth in their communities too.”

“We are truly humbled and honored to receive these two awards today. Every child in Vietnam deserves to travel safely to and from school, without dangers and without risks. It means a great deal to us that our mission not only resonates with the international community but is also receiving such distinguished recognition from the road safety field,” shared Dr. Khuat Viet Hung, Executive Vice Chairman at the National Traffic Safety Committee.

vietnam receives two international awards for prioritizing safe school zones

The work that started in Pleiku City forms a model that can be replicated both in national and global contexts. Key elements include using evidence-based systems for data collection-such as the iRAP Star Rating for Schools app—developing local capacity in applying these technologies, forming partnerships across the public and private sector, launching awareness campaigns designed to mobilize the public, and demonstrating the proven value of investing in road safety to governments. The Slow Zones, Safe Zones program's holistic approach benefits the youngest people across Vietnam to keep them safe when traveling to access education and build their future.

Greig Craft, Founder and President of AIP Foundation, shared, "AIP Foundation is proud that Slow Zones, Safe Zones has been recognized with the Prince Michael International Road Traffic Safety Award 2020 and the International Vision Zero for Youth Leadership Award 2022. Youth is at the heart of our work towards vision zero for global road safety and equal access to mobility. We need to safeguard and empower our next generation to create a future that serves everyone equally."

The program aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals target 3.6 calls to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes, as well as with the Global Plan of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030. Similarly, Vietnam’s current National Road Safety Strategy supports meeting the goals of the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring maximum traffic safety for school zones across the country.