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Miroslav Sanytrák | 27.4.07 | FIA

Formula One Supports UN Road Safety Week

The first United Nations Global Road Safety Week will be held from April 23 -29 and the sport of Formula One will demonstrate its support for the UN initiative with a number of activities.
The objective of the week is to raise awareness of the scale of the global road safety problem, especially amongst young people. The human tragedy contained in the accidents statistics is simply overwhelming:
- More than a million people are killed in road accidents in the developing world each year;
- Every day a thousand under 25 year olds are killed in road accidents;
- Road accidents are the world’s number one killer of 15 - 19 year olds.

The ‘Make Roads Safe Campaign’, led by the FIA and FIA Foundation, is calling on the United Nations General Assembly to approve the first ever UN Global Ministerial Summit on Road Safety and to agree an international strategy for road injury prevention. The sport of Formula One is backing the campaign in a number of ways:
- At the first race of the 2007 season all of the Formula One drivers participated in a photocall to promote the Make Roads Safe web site: www.makeroadssafe.com.
- Crash test dummy characters, the symbol for the FIA Foundation and Bridgestone-backed ‘Think! Before You Drive Campaign’ will attend various promotional activities at the Bahrain Grand Prix throughout the race weekend.
- Seven time World Champion Michael Schumacher will speak at the launch of the UN Road Safety Week in London on April 23.
- Williams driver Alex Wurz will speak at the UN World Youth Assembly for Road Safety in Geneva on April 23/24.
- Formula One drivers, have signed a petition backing the objectives of the FIA and FIA Foundation’s ‘Make Roads Safe Campaign’ and have given the following messages of support for the UN Road Safety Week.

Fernando Alonso, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, said:
“For me it’s very important to support this campaign and make safety the first priority in our cars in everyday life. I think we need to improve safety and we need to improve the roads, make the roads safe and I think we can do this if everyone works in the same directions.”

Lewis Hamilton, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, said:
“I think that people need to sit back and really think about how many people are dying on the roads and what we can do about improving it. It is important we take precautionary measures such as checking that you have the right tyre pressures in your tyres. That is the only contact we have with the road when we’re in the car so just make sure that they are the right temperature, and the right pressure. “I know when I’m in the race car the first thing, the priority is safety. So my seatbelt, my HANS-device, my helmet, my gloves, everything that is going to keep me safe on the road, so make sure you make these checks.”

David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing, said:
“Road safety is important because I’ve always been amazed at how little training youngsters get before setting out on the open road. I don’t think a lot of people today with all the airbags and traction control and safety devices really appreciate how dangerous it is to be out on the open road and the statistics show that over a million people a year are killed on the roads.”

Scott Speed, Scuderia Toro Rosso, said:
“The United Nations have come together for the first time to introduce this week of safety and for me I’m lucky enough to be given the opportunity to express my concerns about it and maybe help out the project. The Think Before You Drive measures that should be taken are to buckle yourself and make sure that everyone else in the car is buckled and safe and to adjust the back of your head rest in case of a rear impact. And make sure you have a good visibility in your mirrors and in front of you and you are seated properly. And then of course to make sure that your tyres are at the right pressure and in a good condition. I think the tyres are one of the most important things on the car because it is actually what connects the car to the road, and if your tyres are not in good condition then you’re at a greater risk and less safe.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1 Team, said:
“There is already a campaign, an action which reminds us to put seat belts before we start the car, both on the front-seat for driver and passenger and on the back-seat for passengers. We must remember to make the right headrest and seats as well as to fit the right seat belts length. We can not forget of course to control tyre conditions because there are many tyre explosions on the roads, usually connected with the high speed. And then you lose the control over your car. It is also necessary to remember all these small details because it may have strong influence on the possible road traffic accident in the future. Let’s keep the safety in our minds.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scuderia Toro Rosso, said:
“On the road, we have to drive safely, use your seat belt because your life and the life of a lot of people are at risk. I would like to help everybody giving a strong message to the public and to all drivers of the normal roads. We need to do something to improve the safety on the road and motivate people to drive safely.”

Heikki Kovalainen , ING Renault F1 Team, said:
“On the track, tyre performance can make the difference between winning and losing but the tyre performance on the road can make the difference between the living and the dying. Well maintained tyres are vital for the good performance, they are also essential for the safety.”

Paris, April 14, 2007 

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