Each year, more than 1.35 million people die on the world’s roads and tens of millions are seriously injured. Road traffic crashes are currently the number one killer of young people aged 15–29 and the eighth leading cause of death among all people worldwide. Alongside the devastation that road traffic crashes impose on victims’ families and loved ones, traffic crashes take a tremendous toll on the economy. Each year, developing countries lose between 1% and 3% of their gross domestic product (GDP) due to medical costs, productivity losses, and other expenses resulting from deaths and injuries on the road, which is more than most of them receive in development aid. These consequences are preventable and NGOs play a critical role in reducing the impact of road traffic crashes around the world.
Several global commitments have helped to define the road safety response and provided a framework for evidence-based action.
First Decade of Action 2011-2020: In May 2011, the UN General Assembly announced the first Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 to “stabilize and then reduce global road traffic fatalities by 2020,” with a Global Plan organized around a five-pillar approach to improving road safety with includes targets and indicators for each pillar: road safety management; infrastructure; safe vehicles; road user behavior; post-crash response.
The Global Status Report on Road Safety is published by the World Health Organization (WHO) periodically throughout the Decade’s duration and is the official monitoring tool to assess progress toward the pillar goals.
The Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety was established in response to the first Decade of Action and helps to coordinate NGO efforts in support of the Decade.
Second Decade of Action 2021-2030: The second Decade of Action was declared by UN Resolution A/RES/74/299 on Improving Global Road Safety. The target for the decade is to reduce road traffic deaths and serious injuries by 50% by 2030. A Global Plan for the Decade of Action is in draft and will be launched in fall 2021 as a guide for governments to achieve the 2030 goal.
In 2015, UN Member States adopted the post-2015 sustainable development agenda incorporating 17 targets as a road map to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030.
Safer roads are addressed in two of the 17 goals:
Read more HERE.
In 2017, UN Member States agreed a set of 12 targets to provide a framework for national road safety strategy covering vehicle and road standards, key risks including managing speed, seat belts and child restraints, drink and drug driving, and mobile phone use, commercial driving, and post-crash care. Read more HERE.
In 2020, Ministers gathered at the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety agreed the Stockholm Declaration. The Declaration includes extending the target to reduce road deaths and injuries by 50% to 2030 and details action that governments need to take to achieve it. It is due to be ratified at a meeting of the UN General Assembly, which was delayed from April 2020. Read the Declaration HERE.