- Morozova said road safety should be treated as a public health issue that needs holistic intervention because everyone is affected.
- Last week, the organisation held a meeting with the National Transport Safety Authority and came up with a plan to work together on the speeding campaign.
The government has been urged to undertake public campaigns on road safety.
The Vital Strategies director of communication Irina Morozova said that there is a need for the government to mobilise the power of mass communication and empower individuals to adopt healthy behaviour on roads.
She said that people make mistakes on roads because of human nature but there should be a system in place that will not allow such mistakes to become fatal, so that even if a crash happens no one dies.
Morozova said road safety should be treated as a public health issue that needs holistic intervention because everyone is affected.
There is no point for the police to be on the street when the law is not right and that is why there is a need for communication, which is a critical component of the road safety system approach, she said.
Morozova said it is important to engage those who call themselves risk takers, people who violate the law by speeding, consuming alcohol, those who do not wear helmets properly or do not use seat belts.
“Through communication, you can change their behaviour and this is really critical when communication goes hand in hand with enforcement. It helps people to be aware of not only their personal and family’s consequences but also the opportunities they will lose and the legal consequences they will face,” she said.
She said people need to know about law enforcement in case they violate any road safety rules because it makes no sense to have laws but not to inform the public why the laws matter.
Vital Strategies group in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety work with governments to run sustainable best practice campaigns.
“This is not just a campaign, it is a science of communication. We are also data-driven, we look at data that tells us what and where the genuine problem is. Is it speeding in the pedestrian areas that cause the road crash or what could be the problem?” Morozova said.
“Passing the message to all the drivers and checking whether these messages resonate with the audiences is motivating and clear.”
She said that knowing about something is not enough to change behaviour. It is also not enough just to tell drivers to stop speeding. “No, it does not work. People are people, they have different kinds of benefits, barriers and facilitators for their behaviour, so it is important to find the right balance.”
The Vital Strategies Road Safety director said campaigning is important. Last week, the organisation held a meeting with the National Transport Safety Authority and came up with a plan to work together on the speeding campaign.
“We had a meeting with NTSA on a specific plan. They have a very precise action plan and this month, they will be launching a railroad safety action plan where the communication strategies will be written into the action plan,” she said.
From her experience in Kenya, Morozova said that she noticed speed is the core of the problem and that is why speed regulation is fundamental. People need to be aware of the laws and there should be good signage and infrastructure.
Deputy Director of Communications Kristi Saporito at Vital Strategies said that with the strong partnership they have with government agencies, a lot will be achieved because the government is creating long-term strategic plans.
“I would certainly hope that within the next five years, some of those policy goals would have been achieved, or at least progress made towards them. I think you will also be seeing changes in other areas where the initiative works, including street design,” she said.