New truck road safety initiative for children

VOLVO Group Southern Africa has launched a new campaign to promote road safety in the region. The initiative, called Stop, Look, Wave is specifically aimed at helping children understand how to best behave around trucks, buses and cars, and to ultimately keep them safe on the roads.

Each day, more than 3 400 people die in traffic accidents around the world; this is well over 1.2 million deaths per year. The World Health Organisation estimates that without drastic action, the number of road traffic fatalities will increase by 45% by 2030.

Commercial vehicles are implicated in about 10% of fatal road accidents. Injuries and deaths resulting from road accidents are also on the rise in South Africa.

“Over the years, the Volvo Group has developed many pioneering safety features for its products to limit the impact of traffic accidents on people,” said Torbjörn Christensson, President of Volvo Group Southern Africa. “We have also found in our research that the cause of the majority of road accidents is as a result of to human behaviour to some degree. For this reason, Volvo Group has decided to work on raising children’s awareness of how to behave safely in traffic through its Stop, Look, Wave campaign.”

This campaign is based on activities developed by Volvo Trucks and executed since 2001 in several countries. As an example, in Denmark alone, 80 000 schoolchildren have been trained on traffic safety with the help of Volvo Trucks.

At the campaign’s kick-off event in South Africa, Volvo Group in partnership with the Star for Life non-profit organisation, educated 768 children at Palmridge Primary School in Kathlehong, Johannesburg, about the importance of road safety.

A training kit was specially developed to facilitate conversations with the children, and the message was brought home through various song and dance activities. The participating children also received reflective vests to wear to make them more visible wherever they walk or ride their bicycles.

Discussion and practical demonstrations also included information on the size of trucks and buses, their uses, when and how they operate, as well as the need for road users to be as visible as possible to the truck drivers.

”We are very proud to partner with Star for Life in this essential campaign,” said Valentia Hobbs, General Manager of Marketing and Communications at Volvo Group Southern Africa. ”As one of the country’s leading vehicle manufactuers, we believe it is our duty and privilege to campaign for more awareness around road safety, especially when it comes to children.”

Star for Life also had a mobile health unit available to the high school students to distribute primary health care information and to offer basic treatment and services.

The Stop, Look, Wave campaign will now be rolled out to other Star for Life Schools around the country, in order to reach as many children as possible.