Will there be road safety in the country?

Financing of the road safety fund in Ukraine for 2022 is under threat. State funds determined by the State Program for Improving the Level of Road Safety approved by the Government of Ukraine until 2023, and for 2022 it is about UAH 3.2 billion, which were not planned for the purchase of cameras for photo and video recording of traffic violations, road infrastructure, passenger safety and freight transportation, medical road safety, informational and educational work among road users and other activities, want to redirect to the needs of Ukrzaliznytsia, namely the purchase of new cars. This decision of government officials is not only irrational, but also illegal, according to participants of a press conference held on October 6 at Ukrinform news agency –  Andriy Mokan, head of the National Road Safety Council, Ihor Didenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Frolov – People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Volodymyr Karavayev – lawyer, human rights activist on road safety, Yuriy Chorny – President of the International Charitable Foundation «Assistance to Victims of Road Accidents», co-organizer of the annual national road safety weeks.

The participants insisted on the importance of keeping money in the Fund and continuing the implementation of the tasks and measures for road safety defined and approved by the state program. These are the nine key areas of the Program that Ukraine has identified, based on the objectives of the United Nations European Convention on Road Safety and taking a course to achieve first half and then zero deaths from road accidents in Ukraine. These include improving public safety in the field of road safety, accounting and analysis of statistics on road accidents, improving road infrastructure, ensuring the safety of passengers and goods, ensuring the safe behavior of road users, implementing measures to respond to and manage the consequences of road accidents, improving the provision of medical care to victims, ensuring compliance with traffic rules by all participants. In each of these areas, targeted measures are already being implemented that require funding, and the executors – about twenty relevant government agencies and structures – are interested in quality performance of tasks and improvement of road safety in the country.

Unfortunately, every year Ukraine loses more than 3.5 thousand of its citizens in road accidents and almost 2% of GDP, which goes to overcome the consequences of road accidents. The state sets global goals for Vizion Zero road deaths, but at the same time absurdly cuts funding to achieve these goals. Of course, new cars are needed, but there are many other tools to raise funds for these needs, – said the participants of the press conference.

Yuriy Chorny, as a representative of an organization that constantly works with the problems of road accident victims, noted the difficulty that exists in the country today to obtain legal, financial, medical, psychological and other assistance to citizens who lose loved ones, property, injuries or become disabled. The mechanisms of such assistance in the state are imperfect, long-lasting, or non-existent and it needs funding.

In general, Yu. Chorny is convinced that the fight against injuries and deaths on the roads is not so much in overcoming the consequences of accidents as in their prevention. It is this mission that the Foundation professes, he said, by implementing a number of projects united under the name «Safe Country», which are aimed at working with the population – pedestrians, drivers, children and youth. Promotion of traffic rules and safe behavior on the road, wearing reflective elements, training in skills of home care for victims, blood donation campaigns for road accident victims, all-Ukraine photo and video competitions among children and youth – all these activities of the Foundation are aimed at forming conscious and responsible road users.

The Foundation is also a permanent co-organizer of Road Safety Weeks in Ukraine. Yu. Chorny announced the holding of the next Road Safety Week on November 15-21, 2021 and called on Ukrainians to join this Week.