“Caution! Emergency dangerous Ukraine” photo exhibition was opened today in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. It is dedicated to the problem of car accidents on Ukrainian roads. The exhibition includes 20 photos of real accidents that have happened over the last year and information posters with statistics and scientific facts about the key risk factors that cause the most of deaths and injuries on the roads.
The exhibition is organized by CEDEM, NGO “Vision Zero” within the Campaign “For safe roads” in cooperation with dtp.kiev.ua information portal. The exhibition is supported by the World Health Organization. The partners of the photo exhibition are RPR (Reanimation Package of Reforms), Kyiv Association of cyclists, LEAD office, and National Safety platform. In this manner, activists want to draw attention to the problem of car accidents on Ukrainian roads during the World Road Safety Week.
“The main purpose of this exhibition is to draw the attention of MPs and the public to the problem of deaths and injuries on Ukrainian roads because at least 10 people die in car accidents every day. We also want to show the factors that cause accidents: speeding, alcohol, mobile phones and non-use of seat belts.” – said Olesia Kholopik, coordinator of the “For safe roads” campaign and Senior Project Manager of CEDEM.
Marte Everard, WHO Representative in Ukraine, welcomed the participants of the event and emphasized on its importance.
“It is very important that we began to realize that the situation on the roads needs a better solution. Speeding danger is really important because on the exhibition we see how often cars crash. So, the Government and big cities leaders should realize that a number of measures should be organized to reduce mortality. It includes infrastructure development, traffic lights functionality, providing cycle-paths and transitions for children. People also must realize that they should discipline themselves and everybody around. People have to use belts, pay attention to the speed limit, behave carefully while driving”– she said.
According to Marte Everard, it is essentially important for the Parliament to collaborate with NGO’s in the development of proper traffic policy.
Victor Zagreba, founder of the NGO “Vision Zero”, an advocacy manager for “For safe roads” campaign, described the scale of the problem:
“According to the Ministry of Healthcare, during the last year about 4,800 people was killed and about 50,000 more was injured on the roads. Imagine a city with a size of Uzhgorod, which would be bombed – in fact, if you will count a number of victims, it happens in Ukraine for two years. Ukrainian car accident mortality index is the worst in Europe, and in 2.5 times worse than in the EU.”
He also indicated 4 risk factors determined by public experts:
- Excessive speed, which played a role in every second accident. A speed reducing in Ukraine will save at least 1,000 lives each year.
- Seat belt usage. In fact, in Kyiv, only third of drivers use belts, in regions — only 10%. If belts were used by 90% of drivers, it would save at least 1,000 lives every year.
- Alcohol. Despite the changes to legislation, drunk driving still is one of the main problems.
- The distraction of mobile phones is equally important to previous factors.
Also, Victor Zagreba highlighted that the state should take action to minimize each of the factors.
Mustafa Nayem, MP of Ukraine, noted that MPs are being involved to public road safety initiatives.
“We have already prepared a draft law on amendments to the Administrative Code to simplify punishment of drivers who practice drunk driving. This simplification will affect both judicial practice and case`s registration. Also, “Sobriety points”, where all drivers will be checked for blood alcohol content at a certain time should appear soon. This practice has already led to a reduction in the number of drunk drivers in European countries. In addition, speed limits should be reduced and fines must be increased.”
According to him, there are developments on other issues. In particular, on “autofixation” that may be implicated till the end of summer.
Igor Didenko, MP of Ukraine, drew attention to local officials actions and necessity to set up the Road Police.
“ Responsibility at the local levels is strictly needed as there passed a lot of money, but the local authorities have no responsibility for security in their cities. Also, control on the roads is important. There is no agency that would carry it. It comes to creating the traffic police – it has to stop infringers.”
In addition, he emphasized the need to create a coordinating authority to deal with the road safety in complex and to produce recommendations.
Also, today, before the exhibition, the activists conducted an action outside the Verkhovna Rada.
See more photos below