Interview of Mrs. Vassiliki Danelli-Mylona, President of Road Safety Institute called R.S.I. “Panos Mylonas”.
Today we meet Mrs. Vassiliki Danelli-Mylona, President of Road Safety Institute called R.S.I. “Panos Mylonas”, one of the most active NGOs in the field of road safety in Europe. Can you describe what road safety fields your association embraces?
On May 12, 2005, the Road Safety Institute (RSI) “Panos Mylonas” was established. During the 15 years of our continuous work and action in this field, we have focussed on 3 strategic pillars: a) Contributing to the General Policy on Road Safety, b) Improving Driver’s behavior, and c) Supporting infrastructure. Up to the present, the Institute has trained 240,000 students of all levels, 5,395 teachers, 46,548 young people in the Greek Army, Officers and Military Unit Officials, 15,750 Company Executives and Employees, 20,050 Scouts, and 1,005 young offenders and their families. We have implemented more than 150 information and awareness raising campaigns reaching at least 8 million Greeks through TV, radio broadcasts and social media. In addition, we have been carrying out hundreds of initiatives with significant positive impact on the society.
In recent years, Greece is one of the countries that has achieved the best results in reducing road accidents. How do you think it was possible to achieve this important result?
Greece has drastically improved its road safety indicators in the decade 2010-2019, where fatal injuries decreased by 44% and serious injuries by 63% (Hellenic Statistical Authority). This achievement has been reasised through a combined effort by relevant stakeholders in Greece: the creation of advanced and safer infrastructure, stricter regulations and better enforcement by the Traffic Police, active dissemination of road safety issues by the Media and corresponding Organizations that raised the issue in the political agenda, educational programmes to children and young people, and information and targeted awareness raising campaigns. RSI has been very active in informing and educating all road users, as well as advocating that for Road Safety should become a key priority for the State. However, despite this progress, it must be acknowledged that Greece remains in 8th place in the worst ranking as far as road deaths per one million inhabitants are concerned among 32 countries (ETSC). Since road crashes are the leading cause of death for children and youth in the range 5-29 year old (WHO), it is an absolute necessity to continue to inform, raise awareness and educate young people.
Participating in European projects is an ambition of many European associations. It seems to me that you have a nice curriculum.
RSI has been participating in various projects because we strongly believe in the importance of fertile collaboration among different partners, as well as of know-how exchange for the creation of a more sustainable result with a higher positive impact. These projects were funded by EU and international bodies such as DG MOVE (ERSC, AVENUE for Traffic Safety, Heroes), INEA (SLAIN), MSCA-RISE (TraSaCu: Traffic Safety Culture and the Safe Systems Approach), ERASMUS+ (KROS: Knights for Road Safety, Road Safety Awareness and Learning for Youth), FIA (‘promoting traffic safety Culture in Youth’, #3500LIVES campaign in Greece) and UNECE (‘Scouting for Global Road Safety’). Last summer, RSI was invited to the World Scout Jamboree, North America 2019, where it trained more than 3,500 young people from over 150 countries. The project was supported by the FIA and was under the auspices of the UN. Moreover, the SLAIN Project (Saving Lives Assessing and Improving TEN-T Road Network Safety), where RSI is the Greek partner, aims to demonstrate a methodology of network-wide assessment and to provide examples of network-wide road safety assessment with 10,000 km of mapping.
Do you think that a collaboration between your association and the European driving school federation (EFA) will give good results in the future? If so, in which topic?
We have educational programs for all ages and especially for young people and drivers both novice and experienced. Road Safety is our primary focus and we are committed to the prevention of road crashes. We can work together with EFA to design the educational framework for a new generation in order to foster responsible, conscious and safe drivers and road users. We can create this based on the experience gained from the AVENUE project that is now promoted by the EC as an exemplar of best practice internationally for education and raising awareness among road users through experiential – interactive learning, based on scientific documentation and advanced technologies.