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Pirelli, the Italian Interior Ministry and the Ministry for Education bring road safety to Italian schools

Protocol of intent signed by Pirelli, the Interior Ministry and the Ministry for Education and Research to jointly develop projects aimed at reducing traffic accidents.

The initiative was presented at the Chamber of Deputies before the Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, the Education Minister, Mariastella Gelmini, the chairman of the Transport Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, Mario Valducci, and the director of the Italian highway patrol, Roberto Sgalla.

A video produced together with the national police force will teach secondary-school students the role that tyres play in safe driving.

The project is one of a number designed by Pirelli, within the scope of the European Road Safety Charter, aimed at improving road safety and reducing the number of accident victims.

Today, Pirelli signed a protocol of intent with the Interior Ministry and the Ministry for Education and Research in order to select and support joint projects and other initiatives aimed at increasing awareness among Italian drivers – especially secondary-school students and other young drivers – on the issue of road safety through education and other informational campaigns.

The signing of the protocol took place in Rome today at the Chamber of Deputies before the Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, the Education Minister, Mariastella Gelmini, the chairman of the Pirelli group, Marco Tronchetti Provera, the director of the Italian highway patrol, Roberto Sgalla, and the chairman of the Transport Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, Mario Valducci. This agreement calls for the three parties to work together for at least three years on road-safety projects.

The protocol falls within the scope of the initiatives Pirelli has undertaken throughout Europe in order to help reduce traffic accidents in observance of the principles of the European Road Safety Charter, of which Pirelli is a signatory.

The signing of the agreement was accompanied by the presentation of the first promotional project born out of the collaboration between Pirelli and the Italian Polizia di Stato (national police force), which is in the form of an educational video explaining the central role that tyres play in driving safety. The video is to be shown in Italian secondary schools, published in the web site of the Interior Ministry, and used as teaching material for the national police force. In particular, police officers will be showing the video to young people during road safety courses held in schools. The high impact of the images and the direct language used underscore the importance that tyres play in road safety, while placing an emphasis on proper maintenance and the appropriate use of tyres and on the need to choose the right tyre for the car and for the usage conditions, such as using winter tyres in the colder months. The video is also to be used by the police force as an in-house training tool and in the numerous road-safety and accident-prevention campaigns of the Interior Ministry’s Department of Public Safety.

The video presented to the Chamber of Deputies was produced last April at the Pirelli track in Vizzola Ticino during a training exercise for the Polizia Stradale (Italian highway patrol).The training involved some 50 agents who, joined by the heads of Pirelli Experimentation, studied theory and also had the opportunity to experience first-hand the role that tyres play in passive safety, including in-vehicle stability, grip in curves, and braking. Another goal of the course was to learn to understand the structural and performance characteristics shown on the sidewall of all tyres and in the vehicle’s registration book, such assize, load index, speed code, homologation, tyre pressure, and tread depth.

Tyres and safety. The tyre is an essential component in the performance and safety of any vehicle, as confirmed by the central role tyres play in Formula One racing, where Pirelli is the sole manufacturer. This importance is even more evident in terms of the prevention of accidents. Here, tyre quality and proper maintenance are decisive factors in road safety. As the sole point of contact between the vehicle and the road surface, the tyre is crucial both in braking and in grip in all conditions –dry or wet, in a straight line or in a curve. A worn or improperly inflated tyre can extend braking distance by up to 70%, so it can be the cause of traffic accidents.

As many studies have shown, we tend to pay too little attention to our tyres. According to a study conducted last year by Federpneus and Assogomma, in collaboration with the Italian highway patrol, more than 50% of Italians drive on underinflated, worn, damaged, or even non-homologated tyres.

Pirelli Research. Throughout the world, Pirelli is synonymous with both performance and safety. Together with environmental protection, road safety is one of the key elements of the premium strategy at the heart of the group’s industrial and business decisions. Pirelli’s commitment to road safety comes in the form of a great many training and promotional activities and, above all, in research and the constant application of innovative technologies to promote sustainable mobility.

This means ecological materials and tyre structures developed to achieve the utmost in fuel savings and, at the same time, an increase in vehicle safety, particularly in braking and in curves.

Pirelli’s Research and Development unit, in which the group invests roughly 3% of its annual revenues, also works towards cutting-edge solutions such as the “cyber tyre”, which is a smart tyre that “reads” the road surface by way of an integrated microchip. Currently in final testing before actual commercialisation, this cyber tyre monitors the health and pressure of the tyre and provides important data regarding the state of the tyre and the conditions of the road surface.

Pirelli’s commitment to safety and sustainable mobility is being repeatedly acknowledged in tests conducted around the world by the most prestigious certifying bodies and by the industry press, as well as by international sustainability indexes. In 2011 in particular, and for the fifth year in a row, Pirelli was named the world leader in sustainability in the Auto Parts & Tyres section of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

European Road Safety Charter. As part of the company’s commitment to road safety, Pirelli has signed the European Road Safety Charter promoted by the European Commission. As a signatory of this charter, Pirelli is bound to intensify its efforts already under way internationally in order to help reduce traffic accidents. Promoted by the European Commission, the charter aims to support all projects that can help to increase road safety. The activities that Pirelli has planned meet the standards of feasibility, utility and verifiability required by the European Road Safety Charter, which has been signed by more than 1,900 companies and other organisations throughout Europe, and they also work towards the targets for 2020 regarding the development of safety technologies and the planning of actions to increase awareness internationally.

Pirelli’s many initiatives also include those that seek to increase driver awareness of the key role played by tyre quality and maintenance in preventing traffic accidents. These activities involve both extensive promotional and prevention efforts and training programmes for customers and resellers. This includes the 2010 “Safe & Go” campaign conducted in collaboration with Autostrade per l’Italia. As part of this campaign, mobile workshops were set up along the Italian motorways where Pirelli technicians conducted tyre-condition tests free of charge. Pirelli has also recently launched the online contest “Dai voce alla sicurezza” (Give voice to safety) in order to increase awareness of road safety issues among truck drivers. In addition, Pirelli organises on-track activities for young people and organisations, and the company is also partnering with a number of leading safe-driving schools for drivers around the world.

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