In 2003, a staggering 214,000 road accidents were recorded throughout Great Britain, of which 37,215 resulted in death or serious injury, including 4,100 involving children under 16. Although this statistic is improving there is still a lot of work to be done, so Renault hopes to make a valuable difference in saving lives, not just through its products, but also by educating the public in each of the markets it operates in via a series of international safety programmes.
One such initiative in the UK is Renault’s sponsorship of National Road Safety Week, which this year runs from 8-14 November. Co-ordinated by Brake, the national road safety charity, this year’s theme for the Week is ‘Don’t drink and drive - not a drop’ and Brake will be highlighting how a new generation of drink-drivers are increasingly getting behind the wheel, faced with the disturbing fact that drink-drive casualties (deaths, serious and slight injuries) have risen by a third over the past decade from 14,890 in 1993 to 19,010 in 2003, causing nearly one in six road deaths.
Renault is a company synonymous with safety, mainly due to its success in Euro NCAP independent crash tests, where it now has seven cars with the rare maximum five-star rating - the highest number of safe cars in the industry. Speaking at the Paris Motor Show earlier this year, Louis Schweitzer, Chairman and CEO of Renault, not only paid tribute to the enormous strides made in vehicle safety, particularly as a result of the role played by Europe’s pioneering safety organisation, Euro NCAP, but also spoke of how, "Five years ago, safety was a very low consideration when buying a new car. Now it is one of the most important factors."
As a result of its impressive safety credentials and £70 million investment each year in safety research and development with its dedicated team of 600 specialist engineers and technicians, Renault is ideally placed to contribute to the drive to reduce the number of lives lost on our roads each year. Indeed, aside from making the safest cars on the road and in addition to its financial support of Brake, the company also has an ongoing safety campaign of its own, ‘Safety for All’, which seeks to promote awareness of road safety issues, particularly among children.
Over the last four years this international programme has helped over five million children aged 7 to 11 to learn more about these issues. In the UK alone, Renault has had requests from more than 15,000 primary schools for its ‘Safety Matters’ teaching kits, which comprise a teacher’s manual, workbook, classroom posters and 25-minute video. Backed by police officers, community safety co-ordinators, the Local Authority Road Safety Officers’ Association (LARSOA), not to mention the company’s space alien, Woosh, who flies in from outer space to attend functions at schools and other community venues to promote the company’s safety message, the campaign forms an integral part of Renault’s overall safety commitment.
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