Toyota has launched its regional safety campaign for a third consecutive year. The campaign, which has a Be Safety Leaders tagline this year, was announced at the 2016 Toyota Technology Media Event in Yokohama this evening. Previously an effort for the ASEAN region, the safety campaign now includes India, Pakistan and four new Southewest Asian countries – Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

With Be Safety Leaders, Toyota is encouraging car drivers and passengers to assume proactive leadership in traffic safety by starting with the basic – wearing seatbelts. This year’s campaign will put emphasis on countering the public’s prevailing mindset on the usage of seatbelts.

While buckling up should be almost a reflex action before one starts a journey, Toyota’s survey conducted in 2014 found many people not doing it, and the top five excuses are (brace yourselves, some are shocking): there are already airbags in cars; confidence in one’s own driving skills; it’s just a short journey; discomfort; and seatbelts cause clothing to be wrinkled.

So, Toyota’s focus on the basics makes perfect sense, and so does the campaign’s aim to counter the mindset. The Japanese giant hopes to reinforce the fact that seatbelts complement airbags and increase the latter’s effectiveness by 15 times. On their own, seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury by up to 50% for front seat passengers and 75% for rear seat occupants.

“Traffic safety is Toyota’s top priority. We believe in contributing to achieving a society with zero traffic accident fatalities. Through our regional safety awareness campaign, we urge drivers and passengers to belt up to keep themselves and their families safe,” said Hiroyuki Fukui, president of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific, at the launch event.

Toyota’s regional safety campaign began in 2014 amidst high traffic accident fatality rates, low law enforcement and general low safety awareness that were becoming prominent issues in an ASEAN region undergoing rapid motorisation. In the first year, Toyota focused on call-to-action for greater seatbelt usage. In 2015, the campaign continued to advocate buckling up and aimed to “empower the public with knowledge to be safety leaders.”

Of course, continued reinforcement is needed for behaviour change, and this year, it is hoped that the public will be leaders-in-action, be proactive and spread the word about the importance of using seatbelts. Toyota played the above video to a silenced hall and I believe the tear-jerker will be a powerful tool in getting people to be proactive. The emotional narrative of The Promise takes a leaf from those brilliant Thai sad ads – do watch it and share your opinion.

The campaign video will join last year’s interactive online campaign that includes the “Toyota Seat Selfie App” and “Go Go Buckle Up” game. As mentioned, the campaign is now an Asia-wide one that includes India, Pakistan and four Southwest Asian nations.

We’ll be learning more about Toyota’s safety efforts and technology over the coming week – stay tuned for more on how the world’s biggest carmaker is playing its part in achieving a future society with zero road accident deaths.