Workshops on Importance of Community Education
The second day of the 24th World ITMA Congress witnessed active discussions on the importance of awareness and community education presented by experts from different parts of the world.
Kurt Bodewig, President of the German Road Safety Association, Germany spoke on Challenges for road safety in fast developing societies. In his presentation, he strongly forced the way of the Vision Zero as a permanent strategy to reduce accidents and to avoid victims of the fast-growing road traffic. In this strategy are some components which have to be realised. One is an intensive campaigning for more safety by changing the behaviour of the car users inside the traffic and the mobility of passengers, but also strict rules which have to be accepted by car owners and users. The third main aspect is the construction of roads with a self-explaining structure to be secure by using them. Last but not least we need a functioning rescue system for the victims of accidents which help to save life in the worst case. All those measures have to be implemented in a short time in order to achieve educational effects on the one hand and to reduce accidents on the other. Our international experience in Europe, Iran and China are good basements for the necessary roll out processes.
Dr Abbas Motevalian, Professor at Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran presented a paper on ‘Evidence-based safety education and training for traffic injury prevention‘. He stated that safety education and training is one of the basic injury prevention strategies, although there are concerns about its effectiveness. Pedestrian safety education can increase the knowledge of children and improve their road crossing behaviour, but its effectiveness on road traffic injuries remained unknown. More evidence for adult pedestrians, especially elderly people is needed. Bicycle skill training for children and youth may increase their safety knowledge, but not necessarily improve their behaviour or decrease their injury rates. Non-legislative interventions were found effective for increasing observed helmet use among bicyclists. Education only interventions were less effective than those providing free helmet. Mandatory pre-license rider training is an obstacle in motorcycle licensing process, so it indirectly reduces crashes through reduction in exposure. There is moderate evidence that only educational intervention is not effective in reducing road traffic crashes. The evidence supports the effectiveness of interventions aimed at retraining older drivers. Review of the systematic reviews show that education only interventions are rarely effective on prevention of road traffic crashes. Except for some interventions like post-license driver education which has strong evidence based on large number of participants, in most of the subject interventions more rigorous investigation is needed especially in low- and middle- income countries.
Dr. Abdullah Al Otaibi, Forensic Science College, Naif Arab University for Security Science, Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, also talked in the axis of society and education. His paper entitled ‘The Relation between driving vehicles and drug addiction behaviour’shed lights on the situation in Saudi Arabia. He said, the number of accident is very high in the kingdom which requires a constant study and joint venture from all concerned authorities to detect it. Then he explained how brain works to reduce traffic problem through the knowledge. He also explained the role of drugs and its impacts on function of brain that leads to the decline of neurons and function as separate units as they are independent brains, anyhow it communicates hardly. It effect on awareness and education problem, as well as on behaviour.
Dr. Ghassan Abu-Lebdeh, Department of Civil Engineering, American University of Sharjah, delivered his speech on ‘Traffic public health impacts: Crashes and beyond’. He said that Traffic crashes were the obvious and tragic outcome of a complex process of which traffic, human factors, roadway engineering and surrounding environment are all contributing factors. Traffic operations, however, inflict more physical and psychological harm on human health, albeit, it is not immediately obvious as crashes. Some of those harms show symptoms over longer terms, possibly a lifetime. That, however, does not change the fact that such harms are serious infractions of public health and community wellbeing. It is argued that such policies and measures will, in the mid‐ to long‐term and as a matter of necessity and logical connectedness, result in travel decisions—as in trip making and mode and route choices—and traffic operation measures—as provision of space and junction control—that, collectively, foster calmer and more equitable thus “healthier” traffic operations. The result is both short‐ and long‐term public health improvements including reduced risks of serious crash injuries. A case study of health impacts of traffic congestion is presented. While reduction of serious crash is an urgent need the world around, the notion of traffic polices and operations as a tool to promote public health is not as obvious nor has it been part of the domain of traffic/transportation engineering or planning.
Dr. Marie Skyving from Swedish Transport Agency, Stockholm disclosed his experiences on ‘STRADA: Road traffic accident and injury data in Sweden’. He pointed out that one of many important measures in the later road safety work in Sweden is a project attempting to reduce speed, namely the implementation of speed cameras. Without a comprehensive increase in traffic surveillance it is difficult to achieve traffic safety (VTI 2005). The Swedish Road Administration together with the National Police Board put up the first speed cameras, or road safety cameras, in the late 1990’s and at the end of 2014 there were 1200 cameras monitoring 3000 kilometer of road stretches in Sweden. Before deciding where to install the road safety cameras the Swedish road traffic crash- and injury surveillance system, STRADA, was used to spot where accidents happened most frequently. STRADA is also a tool in the follow up work when evaluating the effects of the road safety cameras. The road safety camera project has been and still is a successful road safety work. When looking at data from STRADA from three examples (road 222, 225 and 268) of the approximately 120 roads with speed cameras one can see, when comparing a four year period before and after speed cameras, fatal accidents was reduced from a total of 8 to 3, and accidents with serious injuries as an outcome was reduced from 65 to 28. The road safety cameras have reduced the average speed on roads with cameras with 5% and are now appreciated to save up 20 lives and up to 50 persons from being seriously injured per year in Sweden.
Ms. Joanne Banfield, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada spoke on Innovative strategies to reduce traffic related injuries and deaths in youth. She said that road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people, aged 15-29 years. It is generally accepted that the high rate of adolescent injuries may be due to a variety of factors. Studies have shown young drivers are more likely to underestimate the probability of specific risks caused by traffic situations, as well as to overestimate their own driving skills making them more vulnerable to trauma. It has also been hypothesized that adolescents are more prone to motor vehicle collisions due to their risk-taking attitudes. There is consensus among experts in the field of road safety that the best road safety strategies and programs are based on research-driven and psycho-social theories of behavior. The P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) Program is one of those programs. Developed in 1986, P.A.R.T.Y. is a one day, in hospital injury awareness and prevention program for youth aged 15 and older.
Dr Susan Dun, Northwestern University in Qatar, Doha, Qatar spoke on Why wear a seat belt? I’m going to die anyway: Young Arab men’s rationales for deadly driving behaviours.