The World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen Turkey, where 10,000 lives are lost every year due to traffic accidents, as venue for a pilot project that aims to reduce this number by promoting road safety.
In Afyonkarahisar, where the project has been implemented since January 2010, seatbelt use in the city has already increased from about 8 percent to 80 percent. The rate of seatbelt use was very low in Afyonkarahisar, so it was a good place to launch the project, Dr. Etienne Krug, director of the Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability Department of WHO, told Hürriyet Daily News
in a recent interview.
“Seatbelt wearing went up from about 8 percent to 80 percent in Afyonkarahisar in a very short period of time. The people of Afyonkarahisar are now safer, and this also demonstrates that it is possible to provide safety awareness in Turkey. So we hope to expand this to other provinces,” Krug said. “I hope every governor in Turkey, each one of the 81 provinces, will practice the same steps and push for seatbelt use.”
The recently published WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety confirms that about 10,000 lives are lost in Turkey every year due to road accidents, Krug said. “There are laws on speeding, drunk driving, and seatbelt and helmet use, but they appear to be inadequately enforced at present,” he said.
The project is implemented in Turkey by national partners, with technical support provided by a consortium of road safety partners. The leading partners in Turkey are WHO, the Ministry of Health and the General Directorate of Security of Ministry of Interior, the Police Department, the gendarmerie, and NGOs and educational organizations.