An antidote for traffic accidents lies in this project

An antidote for traffic accidents lies in this project

I do not recall a single day that I have read the papers and have not seen a traffic accident story that caused someone’s death or injury.

Merve Oruçduvağıyla, an 18-year-old girl, was buried after losing her life in a traffic accident in Istanbul, daily Hürriyet reported on Oct. 23. It broke my heart.

It is usually the young ones who lose their lives in traffic accidents, in a vehicle they themselves had not been driving.

And what about those who place children in their laps and sit in the front?

In 2016, more than 185,000 deaths and injuries were caused by traffic accidents, Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported.

In 2015, the same data was lower, at 183,000.

That simply means we are losing more and more people to traffic accidents.

Despite the many projects that are meant to fight traffic accidents, the numbers tell us they haven’t accomplished much.

Yet, there is a silver lining.

Nurten Öztürk, Founding Board Member of OPET, a Turkish oil company, has taken on the task.

Öztürk is the name who began the “Clean Toilets” campaign 17 years ago and had simply turned the page for Turkey.

Right before the ceremony in Barcelona, we had been chatting with Nurten Öztürk, who was awarded for her two projects by the International Stevie Academy, which evaluates the business world’s performance.


How does a project become sustainable?

“We had made a big difference with the ‘Clean Toilet Campaign’ in the country. We generated social sensitivity with it.

When we first hit the road, not many believed in us. We will continue to work on the Traffic Inspectors Project, which began in 2013 and which will help secure our roads,” Öztürk said.

That’s why I’m hopeful. Nurten Öztürk, “a woman of projects,” will not leave this halfway. She will see it through as she is also very hands-on when managing campaigns.

Öztürk, who calls herself a “woman of labor,” visited 71 cities for the “Clean Toilets” campaign.

With the project, Öztürk reached over 9.5 million people, covered a distance of 7.5 million kilometers to educate 6,482 people. You would be surprised what a determined person can do.

Nurten Öztürk, who has also managed to operate other projects such as “Honoring History,” “The Green Mile” and “Exemplary Village” while managing the “Clean Toilets” project, gives away her secret to success:

“I create subprojects for sustainability.”


A 16.9 percent decrease in death toll

Numbers demonstrate Öztürk’s success, which brought her two golden Stevie Awards for her project the “Traffic Inspectors Program,” along with others, the “European Corporate Responsibility Program” and the “European Health, Security and Environmental Program.”

Accidents that include three to 17-year-olds were decreased by 16.9 percent between 2013 and 2016 with the Traffic Inspectors Project, which aims to teach youngsters a responsible way of driving, Interior Ministry figures show.

When you look at the data from July until September this year, there is a 16.7 percent decrease when compared to the same period in 2016.

In summary, the project becomes more and more effective each year.

Öztürk, who has reached 3.5 million people with this project, has been operating the “Life Belt” subproject along with it since 2016.

Efforts include promoting seatbelt wearing by 1,200 OPET stations around the country and advertisements that aim to raise the seatbelt wearing ratio above 70 from the current figure of 47.

Opinion, Gila Benmayor,