Road Safety – Fundamental Right and Everybody’s Responsibility

By Natalia Gonchar (Sakhalin Energy Investment Company), Sakhalin Energy
05:30 PM, July 18, 2013

We drive and bike, walk, and even run trying to catch the rhythm of modern life. For most of us, traffic has become an integral part of our everyday routines. We take it for granted and do not consider the road to be a source of constant danger – until suddenly a car accident happens and we are forced to reconsider … and think. Each year nearly 1.24 million people die as a result of road traffic accidents. It means that more than 3,300 are killed on the road every day.

The world community acknowledges danger and its complexity. At the recent Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, a clear link was made between road safety and sustainable development. It marks the critical importance for all stakeholders to accept responsibility in road safety – state responsibility to protect its citizens, individual responsibility of all road traffic participants, and corporate responsibility of business to protect its employees and to contribute to sustainable development of society where it operates in. Cross-sector cooperation and, in a best-case scenario, partnership are essential.

The participants of the Sakhalin Road Safety Council believe partnership helps to maximize existing resources and transfers joint efforts into long-term, efficient programs. The basis of such optimism is the fact that the partners have been working together for more than eight years and their initiatives have yielded good results. The Sakhalin Road Safety Council unites representatives of the Sakhalin Oblast government, the local Ministry of Internal Affairs and Road Traffic Safety Inspection, the public, and – representing the business sector – Sakhalin Energy.

Safety is one of the key priorities for the company. During all the years of its activities, Sakhalin Energy has been implementing programs targeted at road safety. In 2004 a program was launched within the company aimed at raising awareness about the driving culture while creating safe conditions for the transportation of people and cargo. The program includes daily road-safety monitoring, vehicle compliance control, close engagement with contractors and subcontractors, Defensive Driving Training, use of the In-Vehicle Monitoring System, among other things.

InitiatorSakhalin Road Safety Council
Project start
Contact person
Natalia Gonchar

Project benefit

  • Road Safety
Anti-Corruption -
Business & Peace -
Development -
Environment -
Financial Markets -
Implementing UNGC Principles in your Corporate CSR Management -
Human Rights x
Labour Standards -
Local Networks -
Advocacy of global issues x
Business opportunities in low income communities/countries -
Project funding -
Provision of goods -
Provision of services/personal -
Standards and guidelines development -

However, road traffic is a “multi-player game.” The success of a program that is only focused on an isolated group of participants – for example employees – will always be limited. An important objective of the Sakhalin Energy road safety program is to spread high standards for corporate road safety beyond the company and its contractors. This is implemented via the Sakhalin Road Safety Partnership, initiated by the company back in 2005.

The first step toward the creation of a partnership program aimed at improving the situation on the roads of Sakhalin was the workshop arranged by Sakhalin Energy in March 2005. It was supported by the Sakhalin Oblast Government and the Global Road Safety Partnership, with the participation of more than 60 representatives from 25 government organizations and businesses.

In June 2005, the Sakhalin government, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as businesses and the public joined together to sign the Agreement on Sakhalin Road Safety Partnership. This officially confirmed their intention to work together toward the improvement of road safety in the Sakhalin Oblast. In 2011 the partnership was transformed into the Sakhalin Road Safety Council, the primary function of which is to build a platform for cooperation among the stakeholders and thereby create a favorable environment for the development and implementation of social projects. The projects should help to decrease the number of injuries and deaths from car accidents as well as the overall number of accidents, and encourage a culture of safe road behavior for all road traffic participants. Since 2005, the partners have implemented several major projects. The key to their success in these efforts has been the comprehensive support given by all the participants of the partnership.

The goal of the long-term and large-scale seatbelt promotional campaign called “Choose Life – Buckle Up!” is to enhance the awareness of drivers and passengers in regards to the benefits of seatbelts. In different years and at different stages, it has included different components and has thus been continuously expanded. Since 2012 this project has become part of a complex educational and informational area of activities. The project is an open contest for the development and implementation of the best promotional campaign for the use of restraints (seatbelts and children booster chairs). Symbolically, Sakhalin Energy employees and their family members participate in promotion campaigns as volunteers.

The project “A Safe Road to School” started in 2006 due to problems concerning school students’ safety on Sakhalin roads. The goals of the project were to reduce the injury rate of children involved in car accidents; to unite the efforts of the road police officers, teachers, and parents; and to increase road-safety awareness in the area. Under this project, the schools of the Sakhalin Oblast received visual aids and “safe school route” maps indicating dangerous sections of the streets and roads. All the materials were developed after having taken local habits into consideration. This gave the students an opportunity to study traffic regulations using practical examples, and to provide insights on their actual daily routes.

The international experience shows that first aid provided right on the spot plays the main role in rescuing human life and preserving health. This is the reason why training programs should work to improve the awareness and first-aid skills of road police officers and nurses. First aid is a priority method, as it helps to reduce the occurrence of death and injury. The Council supported first-aid training seminars to help in the response to injuries and heart attacks. Each year more than 70 medics take part in these training seminars. Moreover, 135 first-aid kits were granted to the Road Traffic Safety Inspection office for placement in police cars.

• On a contest basis six Sakhalin schools received modern equipment for tutorial road safety classes. Significantly, under the terms of the contest, the schools will implement special road safety programmes for children and parents as part of their normal educational activities, as well as organize road safety events for other schools.
• “Be Bright! Be seen!” is a promotional project encouraging Sakhalin young people to wear light-reflecting stickers on their clothing. The main characters of all the promotion materials and events are break dancers of the group very popular among the Sakhalin teenagers and youth.
• Over the years different events were arranged under The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

The main accomplishment of the partnership has been a decrease in car accidents and injuries. These figures are dropping slowly but steadily. According to the Road Traffic Safety Inspection office of the Sakhalin Oblast, when compared to the figures for 2011, the number of car accidents in the region in 2012 declined by 3.3 percent; the number of deaths decreased by 2.4 percent; and the number of people injured in car accidents dropped by 0.1 percent.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the period 2011–2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. The Secretary-General called on states, civil society, business, and communities to ensure that it leads to real improvements.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees everyone the fundamental right to life, liberty, and security of person. Should road safety be recognized as a part of it? Answering this question is the unalienable right and responsibility of all members of the human family.

This project description was originally presented in the Global Compact International Yearbook 2013.

About the Authors
Gonchar, Natalia

 Natalia Gonchar works for Sakhalin Energy Investment Company.

Sakhalin Energy

Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. (Sakhalin Energy) is a consortium for developing the Sakhalin-II oil and gas project with corporate head office in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The chief executive officer is Roman Dashkov. The company's principal activities are the production and export of crude oil (since 1999) and liquefied natural gas (from 2009).
Source: Wikipedia

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect CSR Manager's editorial policy.
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