Meet the new TISPOL President

Published Mon, 31/10/2016 - 13:39

Meet Paolo Cestra, the newly-appointed TISPOL President

Congratulations on becoming the new President of TISPOL. What are your thoughts about this exciting new challenge for you?  

First of all thank you. Special thanks goes to the members of the TISPOL Executive Committee who have decided to entrust me with this prestigious responsibility, and also a thanks to the Italian State Police, and in particular to the National Traffic Service, which allowed me to dedicate myself to TISPOL with constant commitment and passion. The first thought that I was accepting the prestigious role of TISPOL President has been to want to do all my best to honour my new activity. I felt proud to represent the 31 Member States of TISPOL, especially in this particularly important time for road safety and for the Network. It is a new challenge, demanding and exciting, which focused energy and responsibility, in order to achieve, together and with the contribution of all, the objectives that the European Union has set for 2010. 

Looking back at the work of previous presidents such as Aidan Reid, Koen Ricour, Pasi Kemppainen, Javier Sanchez, Roar Larsen… is there perhaps something special that each of these people has brought to TISPOL? 

The names that were listed represent the history of TISPOL. Each one represents so much for the Organisation, for his country and for the common progress of European road safety. Many of them still play an active role in TISPOL. In a constructive spirit I ask them for advice and consultation on forthcoming initiatives and strategies. Each was able to be special during his period of Presidency, providing a unique contribution, doing his service for the common purpose of TISPOL and contributing to the achievement, day by day, of the Organisation’s objectives. The example of those who have gone before me in the Presidency will be a constant point of reference and stimulus to try to do my best. 

TISPOL is changing. How confident are you that the changes are good – and will work? 

It’s true. TISPOL is changing. Major changes are planned during the period of my incoming Presidency, such as the adoption of a new constitution, the transformation of TISPOL in a European Network, and the creation of new rules for membership and participation. A new leadership and decision-making structure. A significant challenge. I believe that change like this, when it is an expression of the common will, helps to do better, to keep up with the times, to explore new horizons and to set more ambitious goals. With that in mind, we need to continue to work together, trying to use lessons learned from the past to find the most effective paths, and continuing to learn from experiences, projected with some new ideas to new goals. 

What do you see as your priorities while you are President?  

My main goal as President is to continue to develop TISPOL internationally, consolidating the present position in Europe and making the organisation known even further afield. To obtain these results will require maximum synergy with all member countries and with the European institutions, as well as the common effort to respect the commitments made with the European Union in view of the active contribution to halving road deaths by 2020.  

What are some new or emerging areas where TISPOL’s expertise and experience could be valuable?  

First of all, we have to continue to fight hard against the three killers (driving under the influence, speeding and non-use of seat belts). Recently, however, new opportunities have opened up, first and foremost the result of the improper use of mobile phones while driving, with so many drivers distracted by making phone calls, sending and receiving messages and even... researching Pokemon. 

Another very important aspect not to be underestimated, as also pointed out by the European Commission in the White Paper on Road Safety, is related to vulnerable users (pedestrians, children, cyclists, the elderly etc.) on which I have long focused my commitment as Chair of the High Risk Working Group set up within TISPOL. 

Leave us with a clear message of support, advice and encouragement as TISPOL prepares for a new era… 

It is very difficult to summarise into a simple message the future commitment that will see us all together protagonists in the coming months. But in the era of texting and Twitter, though, I can try to sum it up in one short sentence, as a possible slogan: “Learning from the past, work hard in the present, for a better future.”