Viet Nam News
GIA LAI — Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation and the Gia Lai Province Traffic Safety Committee launched a new public awareness campaign and made school zone road modifications in Pleiku City as part of a programme to reduce vehicle speeds in school zones, the first of its kind in the country.
Slow Zones, Safe Zones, supported by Foundation Botnar and the Global Road Safety Partnership, focuses on speed reduction and school zone safety through the construction of tailored school-zone modifications like speed bumps, road markings, speed reduction signs, and sidewalks.
Design and implementation of a road safety public awareness campaign to promote positive road user behaviours and increased law enforcement are also carried out under the programme.
It focuses on development and testing of a nationally applicable road safety e-curriculum and advocacy to provincial government to support and scale programme activities throughout Pleiku City and Gia Lai province.
In Pleiku, school zones are often located along national and provincial roads and there are no safety parameters in place to protect pedestrians, namely schoolchildren commuting to and from school.
Besides, the speed limits for these roads are rather high at a minimum of 50km per hour.
Slow Zones, Safe Zones have installed zebra crossings, rumble strips, refuge islands, traffic lights, road markings, speed reduction, school zone signs, and new sidewalks at two schools so far.
The programme enabled implementation of a school zone speed limit of 30km for the first time in Việt Nam.
“Because of the new speed signs and modifications by our school, I feel much safer going to school” Thái Thị Như Ngọc, a fifth grade student at Phan Đăng Lưu Primary School, said.
“Before, it was very difficult to get through to school. Cars would speed by very fast and would not stop for crossing students like me. I was afraid I would be hit by a vehicle, but now with speed signs and a new zebra crossing, it is easier and safer to get to school.”
The programme also celebrated the launch of its public awareness campaign featuring billboards and a television public service announcement (PSA) titled “The Wheel.”
The PSA features the story of a young girl who becomes paralysed after being struck by a carelessly speeding motorcycle on her way home from school.
The PSA explores the implications of reckless driving on the lives of those most vulnerable young children, and hopes to emphasise the importance of slowing down while driving to protect one another and avoid possible consequences such as those faced by the young girl.
“With school zone modifications already in place at two programme schools, we are excited to continue improving road environments at primary schools in Pleiku City” Trịnh Tố Oanh of the Global Road Safety Partnership in Việt Nam said.
“Coupled with the public awareness campaigns and police training, these modifications will influence the road safety culture of Pleiku for the better and prevent crashes, injuries and deaths.”
Trịnh Thu Hà, deputy chief of the secretariat of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said: “Speed is the main contributor to road crashes in Việt Nam. People are not aware of the dangers it has for themselves and those around them. Reducing speed can save lives. With this programme, we seek to educate people, change their behaviours and save lives.
“School zone modifications in conjunction with improved law enforcement and public education are a holistic solution to the crisis of road safety in Việt Nam” said Mirjam Sidik, CEO of AIP Foundation. — VNS