Stop, Look, Wave Road Safety Campaign and Interview with Mr Olivier Metzger, General Manager, Volvo Trucks Singapore

Mr Olivier Metzger, General Manager, Volvo Trucks Singapore

{Interview and Stop, Look, Wave Road Safety Campaign Highlight}

In view of the recent news, there is a rise in traffic accidents involving children aged 12 and below. It is worrying to know that it has risen in the first nine months of 2015 and infact a 20% jump compared to 2014. Road Safety Month was launched to raise awareness on the importance of road safety among young children in Singapore. Volvo Trucks is proud to be working closely with Singapore Road Safety Council to launch Volvo Truck’s global road safety campaign “Stop, Look, Wave” programme across four primary schools in Singapore.

It is important that young children learn about road safety in schools and parents should also instill road safety habits among children at home. However, accidents may happen unexpectedly. Therefore, parents should continue to play an active part in ensuring the safety of their children on the roads. But how?

Our Parenting World team is very honoured to interview Mr Olivier Metzger, General Manager, Volvo Trucks Singapore, he is also a father of two lovely young children, on the “Stop, Look, Wave” campaign, how parents can educate their children and raise the kids’ awareness on road safety.

1) Mr Olivier, please share with us on how do you inculcate good road safety habits to your two children and how do you get their attention for them to realize that road safety is very important?

My two children are precious to me. I want the best for them and would want them to stay safe always. Traffic accidents involving children aged 12 and below have risen in the first nine months of 2015, a 20% jump compared to 2014. In addition, there were more accidents involving heavy vehicles last year. In my line of work, safety has been a core guiding principle at Volvo. We need to ensure that we nurture a safe road culture, especially for our children who are the most vulnerable pool of pedestrians.

Apart from launching our STOP LOOK WAVE global campaign to educate children on how to behave safely in school, parents, like myself, are an additional touchpoint to reinforce the importance of road safety behaviours at home.

I have two young children, Zoe (9 years old) and Arthur (6 years old).  For these young children, they do not understand the dangers on the roads as well as they should. As parents, we need to constantly remind them, whenever they ride their bicycles or walk to school, the right safety behaviours on the road. Parents must be aware that we should not instil fear in these young minds, but rather reinforce gently the importance of road safety behaviours to them.

2) It is a common sight to see people of all ages busy with their hand phones or having earphones plugged on, totally oblivious to the on-going traffic. How can safety be maintained or enhanced to prevent such accidents?

Education is definitely the key driver. Pedestrians need to be educated on the importance of road safety. We are very pleased to partner with local authorities to extend our STOP LOOK WAVE global campaign to the local audience. Aside from Singapore, the campaign is also present in China, India, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Belgium and South Africa, among other places. Over 50,000 children all over the world have learnt road safety with the help of Volvo Group staff.

Our safety initiative is focused on three safety areas: safer vehicles, safer road users and safer roads. A successful safety campaign must include measures in all three areas and this is a requirement for achieving zero accidents.

3) Based on the experience of conducting road safety awareness in many countries, what are some of the challenges faced in trying to ensure that road-safety habits are strongly enforced in children till it becomes second nature?

Through STOP LOOK WAVE, we conduct 30-minute workshops to teach school children safety tips and traffic rules alongside hands-on knowledge of the blind-spots of a heavy duty truck worldwide. The program teaches children to ‘Stop’ before stepping onto the road, ‘Look’ both ways to keep an eye on any oncoming vehicles, and when all the vehicles have come to a standstill, ‘Wave’ at the truck driver before they cross.

We recognise that in order to reinforce the importance of road safety among the children, we would need to reach out to them via additional touchpoint, and that is through their parents. Road safety awareness does not last for a day or a few weeks. It is a long-term education effort to nurture a safe road culture in Singapore for our children. Parents serve as a complementary resource we can leverage to enforce road safety habits among children.

4) Parents and caretakers play a larger role in cultivating road safety habits (more than schools). Their habits (when in a hurry or stressed and in other situations) are quickly picked up and emulated by their kids. How can they play an active role in influencing their kids to adopt road safety habits?

The parents is a child’s strongest role model and holds great influence. Every parent plays a critical role in shaping the child’s values and development.

In the daily routine of life, it is important for us to exercise good road safety habits in front of our children to ensure that their road safety knowledge is well-reinforced. This includes paying good attention to the traffic conditions, ensuring that cars have stopped before crossing the road, avoid jaywalking, and also refrain from using the mobile phone when crossing the roads.

If parents do not exercise good habits, their children suffer. For example, if parents jaywalk across the road with their children, this action can potentially jeopardise with what children are taught or have learnt in school.

Apart from exercising good road safety habits, parents’ attitudes and knowledge of road safety are very important in the development of the child’s road skills. 

5) Many parents have hectic lifestyles. How can they be encouraged to attend the awareness programs to be conducted in relation to the “Stop, Look and Wave” campaign?

We will bring STOP LOOK WAVE to them.

Parents need to be aware of their critical role in protecting and teaching their children road safety. This year, we will also be launching a “Families for Road Safety” social media campaign. We want to encourage more parents and family members to be involved in the road safety education drive from home. Volvo Trucks Singapore will organise education programmes on its website, Facebook – and via driver and customer events to drive home the message.

We believe in contributing to the community where we operate as we have the expertise and know-how to lessen the number of road accidents involving trucks.

6) Is there any website/source which parents can refer to, to receive the latest update of the awareness programs planned?

Parents can keep a lookout on our Volvo Trucks Singapore Facebook page to be updated on details of the awareness programs planned.

https://www.facebook.com/VolvoTrucksSingapore

On our Facebook page, we will also be sharing messages of road safety to raise awareness of road safety.

7) In Singapore’s scenario, what would be your safety tips around fast moving vehicles, heavy or long vehicles and personal electric vehicles such as the e-bikes and unicycles?

Safety is a shared responsibility for all road users, including both riders and pedestrians. While riders need to pay more attention to pedestrians in their paths, pedestrians also need to exercise their fair share of responsibility.

When crossing the road, pedestrians must avoid getting distracted by mobile devices and not jaywalk. Walk in the designated footpaths for pedestrians. Even when you have the right of way, do keep a lookout for riders who may be riding along your path, and keep a distance from them for your own safety.

8) There is an increase in the number of foreigners in Singapore. How can they adapt to Singapore’s road safety habits after being so used to the road safety habits developed in their home countries?

As an advocate for safety, we would encourage foreigners who stay here to be familiarised and obey the road safety rules and regulations of the country. Nonetheless, regardless of where you come from, road safety habits are universal. This includes keeping a lookout for oncoming vehicles and ensure that they stop before crossing the road, avoid getting distracted by your mobile phones; and of course, do not run across the road.

9) Lastly, is there anything you would like to share with our readers on the road safety campaigns?

Volvo Trucks is an active participant in numerous road safety campaigns around the world. We have been working on safety issues longer than any other manufacturers of heavy goods vehicles. We invest a significant amount into these road safety campaigns as we believe in creating as much awareness as we can on the importance of road safety. We will continue to introduce interesting and relevant road safety campaigns in the future, targeting different audiences such as truck drivers, school children and even the general public. Keep a lookout for it! 

Thank you Mr Olivier Metzger for taking our interview! 

SLW SG15

About Stop, Look, Wave Road Safety Campaign 

“Stop, Look, Wave” was launched on the initiative of Volvo Trucks in 2015. The aim is to help children understand how to act safely in traffic. All of the Group’s 100,000 employees around the world have been encouraged to spread the campaign among their children and their classmates. In Singapore, building upon its existing partnership with Singapore Road Safety Council, Volvo Trucks Singapore will conduct “Stop, Look, Wave” workshops at four primary schools: Qihua Primary School, Gan Eng Seng Primary School, Springdale Primary School and Bukit View Primary School. To date, over 50,000 children all over the world have learnt road safety with the help of Volvo Group staff. Aside from Singapore, the campaign is also present in China, India, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Belgium and South Africa, among other places.

In June, Volvo Trucks Singapore took the opportunity to remind and raise awareness amongst parents, caretakers and children about the importance of keeping safe on the roads through “Stop, Look, Wave.” This includes conducting educational workshops at primary schools, community events and leveraging social media in Singapore. This year, the workshops, combined with community events, are expected to benefit 2,000 children in Singapore, bringing the total number reached since 2014 to more than 5,000.

SLW SG5

All the images above credited to Volvo Trucks

Volvo Group’s research of real life accidents has shown that the cause behind the majority of road accidents involves human behaviour to some degree. This is why, in addition to developing many innovative safety features for their products, they also work on all other aspects of safety. The “Stop, Look, Wave” campaign includes promoting safety awareness sessions for children in their immediate environment, with the help of specially developed training kits developed by Volvo. These kits, available in 10 languages, are used by educators, youth group leaders, police officers, and other people who work with children. For more information, please click HERE

Through this STOP LOOK WAVE family kit, Volvo Trucks hope families can join the movement, learn more about the dos and don’ts of road safety and spread the message of #StopLookWave and @VolvoTrucksSG (Instagram) to their family and friends on social media (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram).

Come, let’s join in the movement and encourage good roads safety habits for our children, family and friends!

* Article brought to you by Shobana N, Senior Writer and Our Parenting World (OPW) Team.

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