A New Deal for Road Safety: Why We Need NGOs

The Alliance’s article A New Deal in Road Safety: Why We Need NGOs has been published in the Australasian College of Road Safety (ACRS)’s Journal of Road Safety, Volume 33, Issue 1, 2022.

The Alliance set out its advocacy objectives for 2022 in January, and now this article lays out the rationale behind them.

It notes the road blocks that may hinder achievement of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, demonstrates why NGOs are essential partners for the achievement of the 2030 target, and demonstrates why, in 2022, the Alliance is focusing on three advocacy objectives: people-centered, evidence-based road safety action, investment to put commitment in to action, and involvement of NGOs in decision making,

The Background

“We know what works but we are not implementing it”

“Even though much is known about what works to reduce deaths and injuries from road crashes (evidence-based interventions),” says the article, “these interventions are not being implemented to the scale required to address the actual size of the deaths and injuries occurring from road crashes. We know safe speed limits are required for people to survive in a crash, yet speed limits are left too high on many roads (Power, 2019). We know speed-calming measures save lives and reduce injuries, but they are not commonly implemented across low- and middle-income countries (World Bank, 2020). Universal helmet laws for motorcycle riders work, but they have been repealed in a number of states in the USA (Peng et al., 2017). We know how to build five-, four- and three-star roads, yet 88% of a 358,000 km sample of roads across 54 countries found sampled roads were only one- or two-star rated for pedestrians.”

“Evidence-based interventions are not financed to the scale required”

“Verbal commitments that are not backed with financing to deliver them are not genuine commitments,” it continues. “The lack of funding towards the interventions known to work to save lives and serious injuries is well recognised as the core of the continuing road trauma experienced around the world (Wegman, 2015; Job, 2020). The Global Plan recognises that road safety is underfunded and a call for sustainable financing of road safety was made at the Supporting Event to the High-level Meeting (HLM) of the UNGA on Global Road Safety to be held in 2022 (UNGA, 2021).”

“Decision makers evade taking responsibility for road safety”

Referring to the member survey conducted by the Alliance in 2022, the article says, “In the Alliance NGO survey, the ‘lack of political will’, ‘lack of accountable focal point in government’, ‘lack of prioritization of road safety in government’ and ‘lack of political commitment’ were commonly cited by NGOs as hampering road safety delivery. In the Global Plan, governments (national, state and local) are clearly identified as the entity that bears the main responsibility to ensure people’s safety and to fund road safety activities. However, governments often evade taking responsibility for road safety and investing in system reforms by presenting the lack of safe road use by the people as the core of the road safety problem.”

The Power of NGOs

The article then explores how NGOs contribute to the implementation of the Decade of Action and the key role they play in “highlighting the accountability of decision makers who have the power to determine where funds go and how funds are spent.” It continues, “NGOs also play a key role in amplifying public demand for transparent, dedicated, impactful investments in road safety.”

The role of NGOs in set out in the Global Plan
The role of NGOs described in the Alliance survey

“Civil society can help amplify the voice of academia by being
an advocate and acting as an independent voice to influence
social change.”

“Ensure evidence-base”
“Bring change”

“support the development of policies by augmenting the
evidence base as well as bringing the perspectives of
communities impacted by those policies to the table.”

“participate in decision making”
“data collection, research, monitoring & evaluation”
“support, empower and include victims in road safety

“help ensure government accountability by empowering
communities on road safety issues and ensuring good
“help push for the achievement of the road safety related SDGs”

“hold governments accountable”

“keeping road safety on the government agenda and uniting
stakeholders with a common goal”

“influence government”
“collaborations & partnerships with other

“be an important source of road safety information for the
community and governments”

“community & government education”

Advocacy Objectives

The article concludes with the Alliance’s three advocacy objectives and the rationale behind them.

“People are being killed or seriously injured in our ubiquitous use of the road transport system around the world. Knowing the continuing unacceptable numbers of deaths and injuries, yet not implementing or funding the measures that are known to save lives and injuries with continuing acceptance that road safety is a personal responsibility rather than a system designer responsibility, all reflect the deep lack of political will to address the road safety problem. Genuine commitments to road safety delivery are demonstrated by funds allocated to and spent on measures that are known to work in saving lives and injuries. Decision makers have the power to determine where funds go and how funds are spent and greater transparency in impactful investments in road safety is needed. NGOs have the power to increase the political will through three key roles: 1) Advocacy to drive the implementation and financing of evidence-based interventions; 2) Holding decision makers accountable for road safety delivery; and 3) Empowering communities to demand a Safe System. In order for NGOs to have influence at the decision-maker levels, governments and other decision makers must also allow NGOs to participate in decision making. NGOs are needed to deliver the target of reducing road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50%.”
by 2030.

Read the article here: . https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-21-00070

Suggested citation: Brondum, L., Sakashita, C. Man, L. and Motta, V. (2022). “New Deal in Road Safety: Why we need NGOs”. Journal of Road Safety, 33(1), 64-70. https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-21-00070