How good is this? Through a road safety initiative called Stop, Look, Wave, Volvo Trucks Southern Africa is helping children understand how to best behave around trucks, buses and cars so as to ultimately keep them safe on the roads.
FleetWatch first came across this campaign on a visit to Sweden with Volvo. It was on arrival at Guthenburg airport that I was confronted in the baggage collection hall by a huge Volvo Trucks billboard display headed Safety for Everyone advertising the Stop, Look, Wave campaign.
As you can see from the accompanying photograph, it was brilliant. Three smiling young girls above a protruding Volvo cab which had a cardboard cut-out figure of a truck driver behind the wheel waving at a ‘cardboard’ cut-out child below on the ground.
It was so real and then – magic happened. As I was exiting the hall, a young child walked onto the display. I stopped to see what he would do. He walked up to the cab, touched the headlights, stepped back to the front of the cab and waved at the driver. Perfect. I just laughed out loud at the sheer brilliance of it all.
There is, of course, a very serious intent behind this campaign as, according to the South African Journal of Science, pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users. An estimated 40% of road deaths in South Africa last year were pedestrian deaths and 16.3% of the pedestrians killed in vehicle accidents were young children (younger than 10 years) while 20.8% were children 14 years or younger.
“Too many of these accidents involve heavy commercial vehicles and children, being the most vulnerable road users, need to be empowered through road safety education initiatives. To this end, we at Volvo Trucks work on various road safety initiatives, as well as develop innovative safety features for our products with the goal of making roads safer for all road users,” says Marcus Hörberg, Vice President, Volvo Group Southern Africa.
The Stop, Look, Wave campaign was launched in South Africa in 2015 and regained momentum in June this year. It has since reached more than 9 300 children nationally.
“The initiative was successfully reinvigorated with the help of staff from our truck centres and head office who went to local schools in their areas and did the training with the kids. We also offer the training material as a download for free on our website and would like to encourage parents and community leaders alike to help us empower the nation’s children and save their lives” says Valentia Hobbs, marketing director at Volvo Trucks Southern Africa.
The training material was specially developed to facilitate dialogs with the children in a fun and interactive manner through various song and dance activities.
”We are heading to the Levleesky school in Florida on 19 October and our goal is to reach 10 000 children by the end of the year” says Hobbs. “As one of the country’s leading vehicle manufactures, we believe it is our obligation and privilege to campaign for more awareness around road safety, especially when it comes to children,” she concludes.
Hats off to Volvo Trucks on this great initiative!