The beginning of a new road safety campaign in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine coincided with the handover of five speed-detection radars from the Queensland Police Service (QPS) in Australia.
“On behalf of the Global Road Safety Partnership and the European Union project for the Integration of Ukraine into the Trans-European Transport Networks I am delighted to hand over this radar equipment to the Lviv city Police Department,” said Anthony Pearce, Senior Project Adviser of the EU’s TEN-T project in Ukraine, at a press conference held in Lviv on 4 August.
According to the Ukrainian Road Safety Association, every day over 20 people are killed on Ukrainian roads and another 100 people are injured. Ukraine has the fifth highest mortality rate from road-crash injury rate per 100,000 people in the WHO’s European region. About one third of these fatalities fall on people under 25 years of age. Road crashes are among the ten top reasons for death in the country.
The World Bank experts in Ukraine claim that “even taking into account a smaller amount of vehicles and relatively short number of kilometres travelled per capita, Ukrainians are four times more likely to die in road accidents compared to the residents of Western European countries.” 25 percent of all road crashes in Ukraine happen due to speeding. This figure is higher in Lviv.
“In 2009, there were 10,000 road accidents in Lviv that took life of 300 people,” says Pearce. “The largest cause of death was speeding, which accounted for 43 percent of the road deaths. It is important for the Lviv road police to be able to control speeding, but they do not have enough equipment, and were seeking help in obtaining additional speed radars,” he said.
The radars from Australia delivered by GRSP arrived at the time when Lviv administration, in partnership with national and international road safety experts, is implementing a pilot road safety project. The project goals are in line with the WHO World report on road traffic injury prevention that identified safety belts, speeding, drinking and driving and helmet use as the key risk factors of the road crash deaths and serious injuries.
“This equipment is new for us and will be operationally vital for better enforcement of the traffic law on our roads,” said Yaroslav Martinik, Major of the Lviv Road Police Department when receiving the donation. The QPS made the donation as it is replacing traffic-enforcement equipment in the state with newer models. The cost of a new radar is USD 4,500.
“Today we are launching the second part of the campaign for improving road safety in Lviv,” says Pearce. “This is on wearing seat belts. Correctly used seat-belts reduce the risk of death in a crash by up to 70 percent. Seat-belts are most effective in frontal collisions – more than a third of injury accidents in Lviv, and in lower-speed crashes that happen in towns,” he said.
The public safety belts campaign in Lviv, which follows the speed-limit campaign in April, will include stronger police inspection on the roads as well as public education including radio announcements, posters on city roads billboards and distribution of educational leaflets which, together with promotional automobile air fresheners, will be distributed among drivers by the city road police inspectors and volunteers involved in preparation for football championship EURO 2012 in Ukraine.
The EU road safety project in Lviv engages the leading world experts including those from the GRSP.
“The donation by Queensland Police Service is a significant contribution to make an impact on the attitude and driving behaviours of both riders and drivers,” said Kathleen Elsig, GRSP Regional Manager Europe and Central Asia. “GRSP is developing its work in Ukraine to strengthen the capability of traffic law enforcement and make a difference in reducing road trauma.”
GRSP has been supporting the programme in Ukraine since 2009. In April 2009 GRSP experts participated at a high-level Road Safety Round Table in Kiev, Ukraine, organised by the European Union as part of the TENT-T project.
Ukraine is not the first country where the QPS has sent a donation of road safety equipment. In July 2009 GRSP delivered QPS surplus equipment, including alcohol breath-testing devices and mobile radars, to the National Police of Cambodia.
“Such donations make an important contribution toward developing the life-saving capacity in low- and middle-income countries,” says Andrew Pearce, GRSP Chief Executive. “In the coming Decade of Action for road safety, GRSP will continue to find effective and innovative ways of improving road safety through partnerships,” he said.