Youth for Road Safety: a new generation of road safety ambassadors

Under 25s are the largest group of victims of road accidents. Every year, they represent 400,000 victims of road accidents, worldwide, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorbike riders, young drivers and passengers. Road safety action specifically targeted at this population is therefore essential, particularly in areas where young people are the most exposed, such as in Africa, or in low or intermediate income countries.



How can efficient road safety campaigns be designed that are targeted at young people? The answer to this question is the purpose behind the worldwide organization Youth for Road Safety, YOURS. In South Africa, a country that is particularly hard hit, over recent months the organization has undertaken a major campaign in the province of Limpopo. And to get the message across it has chosen to rely on a network of ambassadors.

But what sort of ambassadors could relate to as many young people as possible, and find the right words? Rather than using famous people or adults, YOURS decided to choose young spokespeople, themselves part of the targeted population. They were firstly given exhaustive training which, they said, was highly stimulating in terms of every aspect of road safety. They were then made responsible for passing on in their own words what they had learned, from technical advice down to having the right reflexes, to their friends, their family and their community. In this way road safety can become part of everyday life, within the local community.

The success of this initiative, which has received support from the Michelin Corporate Foundation has now been emulated. It is behind a similar campaign currently being deployed in Brazil.  

A few figures

20 ambassadors were trained in 5 districts (Capricorne, Mopani, Sekhukhune, Vhembe and Waterberg) in the province of Limpopo.
2 of these ambassadors will be monitored over the course of the next 3 years; they come from the district of Waterberg. The district has a total population of around 614,139. One ambassador is based in Modimolle and the other in Bela Bela.
2 000 young people (aged 16 to 35) have been target by the program and at least one parent / guardian for each of them.