Armenia is facing a crisis in road safety, according to the World Health Organisation
(WHO). The rate of road traffic fatalities in Armenia is 18.3/100,000 population according to the WHO 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety. This is the highest rate in any Eastern European or Caucasus country, and costs an estimated 4.62% of GDP/year.
Establishing partnerships with local authorities is a vital step towards improving road safety, saving lives and developing the economy. EASST partner Poghos Shahinyan, executive director of the Armenian National Road Safety Council, recently visited the rural Shirak region of Armenia to meet with the governor, Arthur Khachatryan. During the meeting they discussed a variety of issues related to road traffic regulation in the region – particularly in the regional capital, Gyumri.
In Gyumri there is a lot to be achieved – street markings need updating while both drivers and pedestrians frequently flout traffic safety rules. Not only in Gyumri, but also globally, there is a need to change public attitudes to road safety from one that focuses on risk takers to one that understands the importance of sustainable mobility and a safe system approach for everyone.
As an initial step, Poghos has suggested introducing the EASST Road Safety Education Packto schools in Gyumri. The introduction of the pack in Yerevanhas already seen 1000 children trained and led to a commitment from local road police to put on extra patrols around school gates.