Volvo XC70
Multinational Visibility Campaign

As a symbolic action to highlight the importance of being visible in traffic, and to show that even small measures can make a significant improvement to road safety, Volvo Car Corporation is commemorating World Health Day, 7 April, by distributing 70,000 free reflectors to those most exposed to traffic: pedestrians, cyclists and other road users in some of the world’s largest cities with especially high accident rates. The campaign reaches to cities in Thailand, Turkey, China, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, and in the Philippines.

"With increased visibility, much suffering could be avoided," says Ingrid Skogsmo, head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre in Gothenburg. "Often quite simple and inexpensive measures have the greatest impact. Like handing out reflectors."

Every day, over 3,000 people worldwide die on the roads, 140,000 are injured, of which 15,000 are injured for life, and to publicise this the World Health Organisation (WHO) has proclaimed a special, worldwide road safety year, under the slogan "Road Safety is No Accident", with an inauguration ceremony in Paris on World Health Day.

"For Volvo, every day is a ‘road safety day’. We devote ourselves every day to analysing accidents – why they happen, how they can be avoided, and how injuries can be minimised. So of course we will observe a World Health Day and support the World Health Organisation initiative," says Ingrid.

Much can be done to make roads safer, but it takes money and planning to control traffic deaths, and a majority of these accidents happen in the low and middle-income countries in the world where road safety cannot keep up with the increase in traffic. Unprotected road users – pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, for example – are especially exposed on roads where there are no streetlights, crossings or pavements.

TARC - Thailand Accident Research Centre

In another initiative to help improve international road safety, Volvo is sharing expertise from its own Traffic Accident Research Team (TART) at the Volvo Safety Centre in Sweden with the Thailand Accident Research Centre (TARC) in Bangkok.

The TARC is a joint venture established last year between Volvo Cars, Thailand’s Department of Highways, the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP1), the Red Cross and the World Bank to research and build up a database of details from real accidents to learn more about how to prevent them. One of the many questions that TARC is addressing is the extent to which seatbelts are used in back seats.

TARC’s database and research will form a scientific basis for decisions by Thai officials on road safety issues. At the same time, Volvo Cars will receive valuable extra safety knowledge about traffic in developing countries to use for future models.

Volvo ‘Safety Ambassadors’ in China

With a fast growing new car market in China and traffic accidents accounting for as much as 76.3 per cent2 of deaths from all accidents in the first six months of 2003, Volvo’s safety education across the country recently included its first child safety seminar in Beijing with free copies of Volvo’s Children in Cars booklet available.

Volvo also introduced an initiative to offer 60 customers who bought S80 saloons in China to be Volvo ‘safety ambassadors’ and become advocates of car safety knowledge. Volvo invited them to the Volvo Safety Centre in Sweden to experience first-hand the total safety that goes into every Volvo car. This unprecedented offer was so popular with the increasingly safety-conscious Chinese that Volvo increased the invitation from 60 to 200 S80 customers.

Published : 09/04/04 Author : Melanie Carter

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