Volvo Trucks’ Road Safety Project Reaches 10 776 Children during Transport Month

In South Africa, three children under the age of 15 die on the roads every day. They are among the almost 12 500* road fatalities per year, which unfortunately makes it a country with one of the highest per capita road deaths in the world. This makes traffic accidents the leading cause of death of healthy children in SA.

Volvo Trucks South Africa has made it its mission to educate young people about road safety through its Stop Look Wave project.

“Safety is part of our DNA, and we are determined to educate, inform and enable children to stay safe and thrive,” said Waldemar Christensen, managing director of Volvo Trucks South Africa. “Stop Look Wave is a simple, fun way to teach children to stay safe on the road and we believe it can assist if not reduce the amount of road fatalities, of which 43% are reported to be pedestrians.”

During Transport Month in October 2023, Volvo Trucks reached 10 776 school children in Mpumalanga, Northwest, Free State and Gauteng through its various Stop Look Wave activations.

The ongoing project, now in its 8th year in South Africa, is aimed at schoolchildren worldwide to instil the importance of safe behaviour, as well as heighten awareness of trucks, buses, and other vehicles in traffic.

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 pedestrians especially to be as visible as possible to truck drivers and other road users.

“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 Christensen. “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 advances in technology, Volvo Trucks create smart safety systems that are designed to monitor the truck’s 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 transport solutions that form part of a society’s sustainable development,” concluded Christensen.

* Released at the end of May 2023, the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) State of Road Safety in South Africa (January 2022 to December 2022) notes that 12 436 people died on South African roads last year. Of these fatalities, 5 347 (or 43%) were pedestrians.

Viral Stop Look Wave Video

To attempt to change this for the better, the World Health Organization (WHO) annually arranges the UN Global Road Safety Week – inviting individuals and organisations to contribute towards the UN’s target to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% before 2030.

Volvo Trucks´ contribution this year included the introduction of a new song and a music video that encourages children all over the world how to best behave in traffic and to ultimately keep them safe on the roads.

Children from all around the world are featured in the video, including from South Africa, showing how to do a set of simple, easy-to-perform dance moves that are intended to make the message more engaging and appealing to young people, and to help spread the message.