Todt impressed by Azeri cooperation in road safety

In a tour of Azerbaijan, FIA President Jean Todt was impressed by the country’s efforts to improve road safety, both by the Government and the AASF.

FIA President Jean Todt is continuing to promote road safety issues around the world, most recently in Azerbaijan, where he met with President of the Republic, Ilham Aliyev, and the AASF – the Motor Sport Federation of Azerbaijan.

Todt was travelling with Marius Vizer, President of the Fédération Internationale de Judo (IJF), one of the earliest supporters of the FIA’s Action for Road Safety campaign. The two men joined forces to promote AfRS in Azerbaijan as part of an on-going cooperative effort between the two Fédérations.

Despite having a low motorisation rate and low vehicle density on their roads, Azerbaijan has a relatively high fatality rate, which is why the AASF is working hard to improve road safety throughout the country.

The AASF’s work, which is focussed on educating road users old and young on best practice on the roads, also receives support from the HAYAT International Humanitarian NGO, which concentrates on raising public awareness of the need to wear seat belts when in cars and taxis, irrespective of where one is sitting in the car.

But increasing the use of seatbelts – the first of the FIA’s 10 golden rules states “Whether you are a driver or a passenger, always wear your seat belt” – is but one small aspect of the AASF’s work to improve road safety standards. Other issues faced by Azeri road users include excessive speeding and poor lane discipline.

In 2012, Azeri pop star and 2011 Eurovision Song Contest winner Nikki helped to launch a high profile campaign promoting the use of seatbelts as part of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety. Nikki’s contribution took the form of a song and music video promoting road safety in Azerbaijan, in addition to hosting road safety events in conjunction with the AASF.

Cooperation is the byword for road safety in Azerbaijan, with a range of interested parties working together to create grassroots campaigns, workshops, and educational activities aimed at increasing awareness across the country. The AASF has hosted seminars with national and international bodies on improving road safety, concentrating on information exchanges with countries with high road safety standards.

Todt’s itinerary in Baku reflected that spirit of cooperation; the FIA President met with the Minister for Education, who expressed his interest in the AfRS campaign, with the Minister for Youth and Sport, and with the Vice-Minister for Transport.

Rounding off the trip, Todt visited the Traffic Control Centre to see first-hand Azerbaijan’s existing road safety technology and monitoring systems.