April 4, 2012

JAMA Launches Its 2012 Spring Road Safety Campaign

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA) is pleased to announce the conduct of its annual spring road safety campaign from April 6 through May 6 this year.  The campaign’s launch date intentionally coincides with that of the Japanese government’s nationwide spring traffic safety campaign (April 6-15, 2012) carried out by the National Police Agency.

In 2011 there were 4,611 road fatalities in Japan, marking the eleventh consecutive annual decline and representing less than 30% of the peak total of 16,765 fatalities recorded in 1970.  Road accidents and road injuries, both of which climbed to all-time highs in 2004, fell for the seventh straight year, to 691,932 and 854,489 respectively.  Notwithstanding the progress made, these numbers remain excessively high and have prompted the government to adopt measures aimed at reducing the number of annual road fatalities to fewer than 3,000 by 2015.

Road safety is also a critical issue for JAMA, which fully supports the Japanese government’s road fatalities reduction goal.  JAMA’s own initiatives towards that goal encompass not only vehicle-based measures, such as expanding the installation rates of onboard safety equipment and enhancing vehicle structural safety, but also road user-directed measures, including JAMA’s road safety campaigns which it conducts yearly, in spring and autumn, in a sustained push for greater safety for all road users.

Priority Issues Addressed by JAMA’s 2012 Spring Road Safety Campaign

  • Seatbelt Use in Rear Seats (for Passenger Vehicle Users)

The use of rear seatbelts has been compulsory in Japan since June 2008.  However, seatbelt use by rear-seat passengers in cars driving on regular roads (as opposed to expressways) remains, at 33.2%, far lower than the rates of seatbelt use by drivers (97.5%) and front passengers (92.7%).  JAMA’s spring safety campaign will therefore strongly promote rear seatbelt use, particularly since the accident fatality rate of unbelted backseat passengers is about 3.2 times greater than that of backseat passengers who have buckled up.

  • Proper Wearing of Helmets (for Motorcycle Riders)

Of the 846 persons who died in Japan in 2011 while riding a motorcycle, 46.9% suffered head injuries, even though 96% were in principle wearing their helmets.  However, a common occurrence for 32% of the victims who were wearing their helmets was the sudden loss of their helmets on collision impact.  With the primary reason behind helmet loss being the incorrect fastening or non-fastening of helmet chinstraps, JAMA’s spring road safety campaign will urgently appeal to motorcycle and moped riders to always fasten their helmets properly before starting off.