Building bridges of understanding for road safety in Slovenia

///Building bridges of understanding for road safety in Slovenia

In the near future, Slovenia will have to deal with the challenge of creating a coordinated and stable road safety system at the national, regional and local levels. Effective collaboration among road safety stakeholders is critical in order to meet this challenge. From the 19-20 March, Steve Proctor from TMS Consultancy and Kathleen Elsig from the Global Road Safety Partnership made contributions to provide the support needed by conducting first-ever Road Safety Management workshops along with the Automobile Association of Slovenia (AMZS), an NGO that works with 80 local automobile clubs.

Local auto clubs in Slovenia recognise the importance of working together with other sectors and stakeholders to achieve common objectives. AMZS aims to build on this partnership approach, and use 3 different ways of working in small, middle size and large towns in Slovenia, with the possibility to scale up efforts at the regional and national level. AMZS believes it can be achieved byestablishing a system whereby problems will be revealed, carefully analysed, and the most efficient solutions discovered, so that the information could be presented to the proper authorities.

Yet a synergistic approach is again critical – where various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders join forces, work cooperatively, and constantly upgrade their strategies for dealing with problems.

The workshops, unprecedented in their kind, supported these objectives by bringing together decision-makers from relevant government ministries and agencies (health, transport, roads, police, education) with different sectors including civil society and business.

They contributed to new thinking about road safety management in Slovenia that includes municipalities, and emphasizes accountability and leadership as crucial factors in achieving results.As a result, participants had a unique opportunity to see the road safety field from different perspectives, fostering understanding and collaboration within the group. It also provided a platform to share important and innovative best practices.

Participants gained insight into the current situation of road safety in Slovenia, while discovering new solutions and developing respect for the knowledge, practices and solutions of others. As such, police officers came to understand the points of view of the engineers, the engineers of teachers, the teachers of their municipal colleagues, the municipal officers of the members of the NGOs, the NGO members of public administration officials etc.

In the end, the sharing of information and personal experiences during the workshops led to more than just an exchange of knowledge, it led to the shaking of hands and promises to continue to work together in this collaborative way.

Through these types of workshops, not only does the SOL project also demonstrate its understanding of the real issues related to road safety and its importance at the everyday level of people’s lives, but it is a concrete way that we can all work to improve the quality of our lives and increase the safety of our roads.

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