Volvo Trucks South Africa reached 7 589 learners across South Africa with its Stop, Look, Wave road safety programme just in the past three months.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the lives of approximately 1.3 million people are cut short annually because of a road traffic crash. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged between 5 and 29 years, and more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

Through the company’s own traffic research analysis of real-life accidents, it became clear that most road accidents involve human behaviour, and that children are the most vulnerable of all road traffic users. In 2015, Volvo Trucks took a step towards trying to improve this distressing statistic and launched the Stop Look Wave campaign, also here in South Africa. Since then, tens of thousands of learners in both rural and urban schools across the country have participated in the programme.

“Over the years, Volvo Trucks has developed many pioneering safety features for its products to limit the impact of traffic accidents on people,” said Valentia Hobbs, Volvo Trucks South Africa’s marketing and corporate affairs director. “Stop, Look, Wave is specifically aimed at helping children understand how to best behave around trucks, buses and cars, and to ultimately keep them safe on the roads.”

The interactive activations facilitate conversations with the participating children, and the message is brought home through various song and dance activities. Discussion and practical demonstrations also include information on the size of trucks and buses, their uses, when and how they operate, as well as the need for road users to be as visible as possible to the truck drivers.

“Part of the message to the children includes the fact that even though we can see a truck, we cannot be sure that the truck driver sees us due to the vehicle’s height and size,” explained Hobbs. “They are taught to stop, look and if possible, wave at the driver to get his or her attention before crossing a road, even if it is at a pedestrian crossing.”

Utilising the advances in technology, Volvo Trucks create smart safety systems that are designed to monitor the truck behaviour and surrounding traffic to predict safety hazards and intervene to prevent accidents from happening. The systems may be out of sight, but they are engineered to activate and support the driver in various traffic situations, and in the process, make the trucks as safe as possible for the driver and all other road users.

“The Stop, Look, Wave programme is an extension of our vision to provide safer and more efficient transport solutions that form part of a society’s sustainable development,” concluded Hobbs.

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