Luchemos por la Vida and the Fact of Traffic Safety in Argentina
Luchemos por la Vida ("Let's fight for life") is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to help prevent traffic accidents in our country. These accidents are the cause of 21 deaths each day (nearly 7,600 a year), more than 120,000 injured people each year, and terrible material losses (estimated in U$S 10 billion a year). These figures turn out to be unfortunately high for the population of the country where there are 7,700,000 circulating vehicles.
These figures are also too high when compared to those of developed countries, which have a fatality rate six to ten times lower (considering the number of circulating vehicles). In 2009, 876 people died in Argentina for each 1,000,000 circulating vehicles.
We know that in all developed countries there are systematic and continued efforts to reduce the number of street accidents, through campaigns designed to teach people and make them aware of this danger, as well as safety rules and appropriate laws.
Following this model, we created Luchemos por la Vida as a means to develop a new reality in traffic safety in our country.
Our main purpose: to help modify the habits of those who walk or drive on our streets every day, to be pro life, to reduce the number of dead and injured people significantly.
We understand that there are three main courses of action that need to be taken:
1. TO CREATE AWARENESS about the risk of traffic accidents among the public.
2. TO EDUCATE PEOPLE so that they learn to practice some life preserving habits (simple safety rules to reduce risks).
3. TO ENCOURAGE the passing of appropriate laws and their enforcement.
Areas of work
1. MASS MEDIA. Ongoing campaign for public awareness and education on TV, radio, newspapers, etc., for more than fifteen years.
2. INSTITUTIONS. All school levels: pre-school, elementary, high, intermediate organizations, etc.)
3. GOVERNMENT. Bills of laws and regulations to be presented to the Executive and Legislative powers).
4. RESEARCH. Analysis of local and foreign situations; surveys, statistics, projects, etc.
Luchemos por la Vida is the oldest non-profit organization working to change the sad reality of traffic safety in Argentina. Most of the work is done with the cooperation of volunteers who come to help after work. However, many things have been accomplished (and many more could be with a little more help). Some of the most important ones are:
One of our first efforts was to encourage the passing of a new traffic law. Finally, the government passed a decree (692/92), and then, the new National Law of Traffic (24,449), ruling on the use of seat belts, helmets for motorcycle and moped riders, the prohibition of taking children on front seats, maximum BAC levels, etc. We are working to that it is properly enforced now. Currently, we are also promoting the treatment of the Crimes against Traffic Safety and its inclusion in the Argentinean legislation.
We got air time on TV and radio programs that let us share information on traffic safety. This is the only campaign that has been on the air for more than fifteen years now, designed to help prevent more road accidents. This is undoubtedly the most important task we have, since through this campaign, messages on traffic safety and life care in transit reach all the population. This campaign, which as we said has been on the air for almost 19 years now, has not been suspended even for one day during ten years. It has a high frequency rate (it is aired an average of twice or three times daily) on the five main national TV stations, and some 90 provincial, not to mention many TV and radio foreign stations. Since they are aired for free, promotion spots must have a limited duration (30 or 35 seconds each). As regards Radio broadcasting, there are around 300 stations where our messages are transmitted on average 6 times daily.
We launched a quarterly publication called "Luchemos por la Vida" designed to promote public interest on traffic safety and prevention of traffic accidents and share info from international research and developments in other countries.
We helped the government of the city of Buenos Aires to teach traffic safety to people who wanted to renew their licenses during 11 years.
Traffic safety programs were developed for systematic teaching of children and teenagers. Note that in Argentina, traffic safety is not considered in any public school's teaching program (despite the Traffic Law's provisions about it). The teams of Traffic Safety Teaching sponsored by private firms have offered special and personalized teaching to groups of up to 25 students of elementary and high schools, reaching more than 190,000 students in the capital city and the province of Buenos Aires up to now.
We have produced educational materials: videos, books, posters, brochures and manuals about road safety, safe driving and traffic safety education at schools.
As an answer to our input, the subject of prevention of traffic accidents has begun to be discussed on TV and other mass media (it was not until 1991). Nowadays, members of our association appear on TV programs, radio and TV interviews and articles in the most important papers in the country.
The "Luchemos por la Vida" awards are been given each year since 1996 to all those who made awareness about it. The ceremony is held at the end of the year, with many people attending and the news was covered by the main mass media of the country.
Seminars on prevention of traffic accidents and traffic safety are being taught.
Our organization takes part or collaborates with prestigious international technical and political scientific organizations such as: UN (United Nations), where it is part of the UN and WHO’s Collaborators Net in the issue of traumatisms in the traffic, GRSP (Global Road Safety Partnership), ITMA (International Traffic Medicine Association), PRI (Prevention Rutiêre International) and so on.
However, we know that is just the beginning of something that, if fully developed, would change traffic reality in Argentina, thus saving thousands of lives that year after year are lost in traffic accidents that could have been avoided. We want to reduce the fatality rates to reach those developed countries and we dream of the day when, God willing, no one will die in a traffic accident in Argentina.
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