Summer of Road Safety in Tunisia

In Tunisia, Alliance member Les Ambassadeurs de la Sécurité Routière (ASR), as part of a consortium of NGOs alongside the Ministry for the Interior and its departments, has kickstarted a large-scale national awareness campaign to tackle the problem of road crashes. The consortium includes the National Road Safety Observatory and fellow road safety NGOs, ANSR and ATSR,  alongside organizations outside the road safety sphere, including the Scouts, representing youth, and Red Crescent, the well-known medical NGO. The Scouts and Red Crescent have been very active in the COVID-19 response in Tunisia and their involvement in the consortium helps to demonstrate that road safety is a mainstream concern.

The campaign, entitled Vacances en sécurité été 2020 (Safe summer vacation 2020), aims to see less than 1000 road deaths in Tunisia in 2020. According to the Global Status Report for Road Safety 2018, in 2016, 1,443 people were reported to have died due to road crashes.

To help achieve this, the consortium has launched a big media campaign pushed through audio-visual media, social networks, printed and electronic press, bus displays and urban billboards, and radio and television spots. It focuses on three key risk factors identified as having the biggest impact in Tunisia:

  • Reducing speed: Speed is the leading cause of road crash deaths in Tunisia. In 2019, 366 people were killed and 1603 injured because of speed.
  • Wearing a seatbelt: After seat belt became mandatory in 2017, there was a significant reduction in the seriousness of crashes and a decrease in the number of deaths. Recently, however, there has been a slight decline in the wearing of seat belts. This campaign will put more emphasis on this theme again.
  • Wearing a motorcycle helmet: In Tunisia, helmet laws are not enforced and many motorcycle users therefore do not wear helmets. Through the campaign, the consortium will raise awareness and put pressure on decision-makers to put helmet laws into force.

To kick off the campaign the consortium partners held a press conference resulting in a lot of television and newspaper attention. In the first two weeks, the campaign has already been seen by two million road users. To monitor its effectiveness, the consortium has developed some indicators:

  • Tracking government data on number of traffic crashes, number of deaths and injuries in comparison with the same period in previous years
  • The number of fines issued
  • A survey on road user behaviors

Afef Ben Ghenia, founder of ASR, said, “In Tunisia, COVID-19 had a negative impact on all aspects, we all agree. But it has contributed positively to the strengthening of the alliance between NGOs and actors working in the field of road safety and to the consolidation of the consortium with government authorities.”