An Urgent Call for Better Funding for Road Safety NGOs

2 April 2021

A recent article in Injury and Prevention by Stein, Bachani, and Hoe on Alcohol Industry Involvement in Road Safety NGOs points to evidence that alcohol companies are seeking to limit the impact of sales losses from drink driving reduction initiatives by partnering with road safety stakeholders. 

As an organization, the Alliance does not accept funding from the alcohol industry. However, Alliance member NGOs are independent organizations and can seek the funding they might see fit to achieve their work. 

Although we were not consulted on the data in the report, we welcome research that identifies risks and weaknesses in the road safety response and helps us to bring a strong evidence-base to our members.

Primarily, it is a strong reflection on the lack of funding available to road safety NGOs that some of our members accept support from the alcohol industry. Absence of other options results in some NGOs making hard choices to accept funding from alcohol companies, or indeed other sectors that might be seen as having alternative agendas, in order to be able to implement life-saving programs because no other avenues are available to them. 

Road safety NGOs, especially in low- and middle-income countries, are often funded out of their founders’ own pockets and are frequently undertaking work that should be covered by government budgets, but for which they, unlike commercial contractors, are expected to complete without adequate funds.

We, the Alliance, call for national and local government to allocate road safety budgets that reflect the value of life, the devastating social and economic impact of road crashes on citizens’ lives, and the cost-benefit of road safety initiatives. 

We also call for governments and other stakeholders to recognize road safety NGOs as professionals and to fund their evidence-based activities. 

By doing so, we will draw closer to achieving urgent progress toward reducing the unacceptable 1.35 million road deaths each year.