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.
In May 2011, the UN General Assembly announced the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 in response to the rapidly rising number of road-related injuries and fatalities occurring all over the world. During the Decade of Action, the UN encourages new partnerships and initiatives across sectors to address what is being called a major public health issue. The official goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 is to “stabilize and then reduce global road traffic fatalities by 2020.” The Global Plan for the Decade of Action is organized around a five-pillar approach to improving road safety, and includes targets and indicators for each pillar, in addition to global targets.
The five pillars for focus during the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 are:
The Global Status Report on Road Safety, which will be published by the World Health Organization (WHO) periodically throughout the Decade’s duration, is the official monitoring tool to assess progress toward the pillar goals. You can find the report on the WHO website here: http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2015/en/
The Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety was established in response to the Decade of Action and helps to coordinate NGO efforts in support of the Decade.
For more information about the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, visit the official website: http://www.who.int/roadsafety/decade_of_action/en/.
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.