16 trucks, about 700 primary school children and one goal: to draw attention to the danger of blind spots in road traffic and make them tangible. For this purpose, Schleswig-Holstein’s Statens Trafikvagtforening on Thursday made the parade ground in Kiel a place for traffic education. 32 primary schools in Kiel responded to the call for the new model project that the association had launched as part of the campaign “Beware: dead angle”.
The primary school children could take a seat in the large vehicles of the fire brigade, the waste disposal company Kiel (ABK) or various freight forwarders and convince themselves of the problem of the blind spot. Next to each truck in the passenger side was a tarpaulin, which the classmates placed on – and became invisible when they looked in the side mirror.
Action in Kiel: Children get a practical impression of the blind spot
She was “surprised” when she no longer saw the others in front and next to the truck, says seven-year-old Tilda as she gets out of the ABK vehicle. “Sitting in the truck helped to visualize the blind spot better,” says the second grader from the primary school in Kiel-Holtenau. The same is felt by their classmates Jonathan and Johann (8) a little later.
For principal Meike Becker, a visit to the parade ground is an important part of the traffic safety education that accompanies the children through their primary school years. “The impression that the children will get here cannot be represented on paper,” Becker says. Especially because you want all children to go to school, you have to use such opportunities. “This is really amazing.”
The event was planned by the state traffic police two years ago – but the corona pandemic put the project on hold. The inspiration to make children aware of the subject in a practical way originally came from neighboring Denmark. There has been such an event there since 2015 with stations all over the country, professionally organized by a freight transport association.
“What is being done there full time, we would also like to do on a voluntary basis,” says Elisabeth Pier, Executive Vice President of the Danish Transport Authority. There was already a test drive at Exe in Flensburg in 2019, so the well-known corona problems got in the way of a continuation. Once a year you want to be on the go with such an event in the country. The association won Provincial Nord Brandkasse for the funding. And Pier would also like to thank the freight forwarders who made their vehicles available. This means a loss of earnings for the company.
The action at the Kiel parade ground should also be a starting signal to make the subject more familiar again. ‘The blind spot has not been so present in public recently. But unfortunately we have many accidents of this type, “says Markus Witt, also deputy chairman of the Statens Trafikvagt. The blind spot is not only a problem for trucks, but also for other means of transport, which do not disappear even with technical aids such as turning assistants. Another problem is that there are relevant accident statistics, but they do not differentiate between when someone has been injured as a result of the blind spot problem.
According to Witt, it is estimated that between 80 and 120 traffic fatalities each year are caused by blind spots in Germany. “In Germany, children and young people are particularly affected,” he adds. That is why we want to increase that awareness-raising work. The big event in Kiel has now started.