These are not your average street signs. These are not even your average Russian street signs. Yet these women are part of an experimental campaign to curb reckless driving habits in one Russian town, and the effort seems to be working. The drivers most likely to speed are slowing down to get a better look at the signs themselves.
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The trial was set up near a pedestrian crosswalk in Severny, which is little more than a village. The idea was conceived back in 2013, but hadn’t been fully enacted. Now, with fatalities on Russia’s roads topping 30,000 a year, there’s a renewed push for safe driving habits.
The road Road campaign is called Avtodrizhenia. How does it work? The first report suggests “most speeding drivers, the majority of whom happened to be men, slowed down to admire the female road safety assistants.”
So that’s what these women are called: road safety assistants. The women are adept at getting attention. The signs they’re flashing at drivers read 60 and 40 kilometers per hour, though the signs themselves may be superfluous. It isn’t the signs that the drivers are slowing down to read.
How is the new sinage being received by the pedestrians who use the crosswalk? So far there have been no reports of accidents caused by distracted drivers. And the one of the elderly women who regularly use the crossing had this to say: “Drivers do not let us cross. Some of them do but many others just fly past. They even shout at us – ‘why are you walking here?’ Can you believe it?”
“Our drivers usually do not slow down when they pass a village or a settlement,” says one of the new road safety assistants, “even though their are speed limit signs by the road. So we have to make them do it.”
“It’s super thing, amazing,” said one driver. “I’d like to see more of this by the road, and yes I looked at speed limit sign this time. It will teach other drivers too.”