The 46th activation of Volkswagen Philippines’ Child Safety Initiative (CSI) was held at Ayala Malls the 30th last November 4 and 5. The local campaign of the German carmaker’s global CSR efforts toward road safety achieved the landmark 10,000th child participant.
More than two years after the launch of the CSI campaign during the Manila International Auto Show in April 2015, and after successful activations in various malls, schools, institutions, and in Volkswagen dealerships, the CSI has also reached out to 7,289 parent observers. It has also garnered four citations, including the Silver Award from Anvil, Gold Award from the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists’ Driven to Serve and Stig Awards from Top Gear Philippines (for two consecutive years).
The CSI emphasizes the timeliness and urgency of pedestrian and motorist safety efforts. According to figures released by the Philippine Statistics Office in May 2017, an average of 34 Filipinos are killed every day in road accidents, and that the main cause of deaths among Filipino youths aged 15 to 19 are road accidents. It also revealed that transport-related crashes increased sharply from 15,572 in 2014 to 24,565 in 2016.
Data from Safe Kids Worldwide Philippines (SKWP) revealed that globally, an estimated 1.25 million people are killed and over 50 million are injured in road crashes annually, and that by 2020, road traffic crashes are expected to increase by 80 percent in low- and middle-income countries due to increasing motorization.
The Philippine auto industry has had record-breaking increases in vehicle sales the past few years. With the dramatic increase of the number of motorized vehicles on the road, the sharp rise of motorist and pedestrian accidents are also bound to happen, unless a concerted effort from the government and private sectors is initiated to avert the trend.
The CSI campaign is aimed at introducing early childhood safety awareness to children of 4 to 8 years of age with the Junior Driving Course module, while imparting important road safety habits to their parents. The Steps to Safety program (launched in April 2017 also during the MIAS), on the other hand, addresses the pedestrian safety for older children aged 9 to 12 years old, and for the graduates of the Junior Driving Course.
The Junior Driving Course features a miniature simulated roadway within a community (complete with road signages, stoplights, and miniature vehicles) for the kids’ use as well as the Child Seat Corner that emphasizes the passive safety devices of modern day passenger vehicles, with special focus on the use of age-appropriate child safety seats. It also draws in kids and their parents with a video show, primer, and coloring book activity.
The Steps to Safety program uses the virtual reality (VR) and smartphone app technologies played on a Samsung Gear VR to attract participants, while a pedestrian road safety seminar, a pre-requisite to the experience of the VR app, teaches participants to become responsible adult road users. The pedestrian road safety seminar, conducted by an instructor from the Philippine Global Road Safety Partnership, consists of lessons on how to cross roads safely, how to recognize traffic lights and signals, recognizing and following road signs and markings, and identifying the types of pedestrian crossings. The VR and smartphone app simulates a busy road network, wherein participants are required to pass all seven game levels by using pedestrian crossings, overpasses and following road signs.
Graduates of the Junior Driving Course receive their Junior Driver’s License, while participants who pass the Steps to Safety program get their road safety badge. More than receiving their licenses and badges, these kids and their parents have hopefully removed themselves from being potentially part of the tragic statistics of road accidents.
Volkswagen Philippines continues to expand its reach to more Filipino kids and their parents. But more than the 10,000 participants already having been inculcated with the valuable wisdom of road and pedestrian safety, Volkswagen Philippines hopes to see the dramatic reduction of road fatalities as the real gauge of its CSR effort’s success. More than selling world-class, German-engineered vehicles, the number one European car brand in the Philippines is helping save lives. Because with Volkswagen, It’s More Than Just A Car.