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February 2, 2017

City of Fortaleza Launches New Campaign Focused on Helmet Wearing

New York, USA – Officials in Fortaleza, Brazil today unveiled a mass media campaign in collaboration with strong police enforcement aimed at increasing the proper use of helmets, a critical safety measure needed to reduce injury and death among motorcyclists and their passengers. With support from Vital Strategies and the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), the city’s campaign will remind residents of the severe consequences of not wearing a helmet properly. The public service announcement (PSA) was launched at a press event spearheaded by Fortaleza Mayor Roberto Cláudio.

In 2015, 315 people were killed and 11,124 were injured due to road crashes in Fortaleza. Motorcyclists and their passengers make up the biggest share of road crash victims, with 145 people killed and 6,247 injured in 2015. Fortaleza has made progress on its road safety problems in the past few years, seeing a 17.3 percent decline in the number of road deaths since 2011. However, at the same time, the city has experienced a six percent increase in motorcycle-related crashes over the same period. Since the wearing of a helmet and properly fastening the strap can reduce a motorcyclist’s risk of death by almost 40 percent and severe injury by 70 percent, Fortaleza is initiating this campaign to prevent and minimize injury to the head and brain in case of a crash.

“We congratulate Mayor Cláudio and other officials in Fortaleza for their commitment to advancing road safety progress, particularly as it relates to the use of helmets, which can make the difference between life, death and severe injury for motorcyclists and their passengers,” said José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies. “Fortaleza has made progress in reducing road crashes, but in recent years has seen a slight uptick in motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities. In a city where motorcycles are a common form of transportation, we’re confident that this new campaign and promise of greater police enforcement will reverse this trend and ultimately save lives.” 

Fortaleza will use television, radio and social media to promote the campaign, which will run through February. It is part of a global, 10 city program spearheaded by BIGRS and coordinated by Vital Strategies to reduce road crashes in major cities around the world.

“Road Safety is a public health issue in Fortaleza and around the world. The good news is, road deaths and injuries are preventable. The most effective strategies are implemented by city governments who know their roads and citizens best. Fortaleza has already shown tremendous leadership by expanding bicycle lanes with recommendations from safety reviews. This new helmet campaign is yet another sign of their commitment to improving the lives of its citizens,” said Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Public Health program director.   

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global public health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.  

For further comment on the information included in this statement, please contact Jon Steed, Vital Strategies, at +1.917.710.2846 or jsteed@vitalstrategies.org.

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