…Over 1.35 Million Die Yearly
By Cyber Era Staff
Global road safety stakeholders who met in Stockholm, Sweden, on 19 and 20 February 2020, have expressed grave concern that road traffic crashes terminate the lives of more than 1.35 million people every year and are projecting 500 million road traffic deaths and injuries to happen worldwide between 2020 and 2030 with 90 per cent of these casualties expected to occur in low- and middle-income countries, saying these collisions are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.
The stakeholders, listing ministers and heads of delegations as well as representatives of international, regional and sub-regional governmental and nongovernmental organizations and the private sector, stated these road traffic deaths constituted a preventable epidemic and crisis that would require more significant political commitment, leadership and greater action at all levels in the next decade, to avoid.
This disturbing piece of information and more are contained in a communiqué, otherwise called the Stockholm Declaration, released at the end of the meeting, seen by this medium. While commending the governments of the Russian Federation and Brazil respectively for hosting the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in 2009 and the Second Global High-level Conference on Road Safety in 2015, the stakeholders welcomed the United Nations General Assembly resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015, entitled Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to integrate road safety in other policy areas, especially policy areas relating to SDG targets for climate action, gender equality, health and well-being, quality education, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, infrastructure and responsible consumption and production for mutual benefits for all.
The global leaders equally welcomed the adoption on 10 October 2019 of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Developments political declaration and its pledge in September 2019, to make the coming decade one of action and delivery, and the continued commitment to maintain the integrity of the 2030 Agenda, including by ensuring ambitious and continuous action on the targets of the SDGs with a 2020 timeline, including target 3.6 of reducing road traffic fatalities and injuries by half.
They also welcomed the adoption of sub-national, national and regional road safety strategies, targets and action plans such as those already adopted by the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the European Union (EU) to meet the target to halve road deaths and serious injuries by 2030; and recognized, the importance of regional initiatives to mobilize multi-sector road safety partnerships in addition to endorsing and encouraging monitoring and reporting of progress towards the achievement of road safety goals, such as the Voluntary Global Road Safety Performance Targets (VGRSPTs) agreed by United Nations Member States.
Crucially, these global leaders welcomed key achievements to date of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, including enhanced global coordination through the World Health Organization, the United Nations Regional Commissions and the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration, increased accession and implementation of the United Nations legal instruments on road safety, greater civil society engagement, production and dissemination of information resources on road traffic injury prevention including the WHO Global Status Reports on Road Safety, inclusion of road safety targets in the establishment of the United Nations Road Safety Fund by support of the United Nations Secretary-General, the appointment and efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety in effectively mobilizing sustained high-level commitment to road safety, the increased commitment of the World Bank and other MDBs to road safety, increased focus and resources for road safety by many governments and the private sector including through donations to the Global Road Safety Facility and the Global Road Safety Partnership.
While acknowledging the lessons learnt from the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 such as the need to promote an integrated approach to road safety such as a safe system approach and Vision Zero, pursue long-term and sustainable safety solutions, and strengthen national inter-sectoral collaboration including engagement with NGOs and civil society as well as businesses and industry which contribute to and influence the social and economic development of countries, they commended the progress made but emphasized that all countries still faced major challenges and whilst there were specific regional and local challenges there were also many proven measures that needed to be intensified everywhere.
The global leaders recognized and worked together to share experiences on adoption and enforcement of legislation on behavioral risks such as speeding, drinking and driving and failing to use seat-belts, child restraints and motorcycle helmets and implementation of proven measures to mitigate such risks, which could save hundreds of thousands of lives annually, but are still not being addressed in most countries.
While reiterating the strong commitment to achieving global goals by 2030 and emphasizing their shared responsibility, they resolved to:
- Reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, recognizing the synergies between the SDG policy areas, as well as the need to work in an integrated manner for mutual benefits;
- Address the connections between road safety, mental and physical health, development, education, equity, gender equality, sustainable cities, environment and climate change, as well as the social determinants of safety and the interdependence between the different SDGs, recalling that the SDGs and targets are integrated and indivisible;
- Call upon Member States to contribute to reducing road traffic deaths by at least 50 per cent from 2020 to 2030 in line with the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development’s pledge to continue action on the road safety related SDG targets, including 3.6 after 2020, and to set targets to reduce fatalities and serious injuries, in line with this commitment, for all groups of road users and especially vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and users of public transport;
- Call upon Member States and the international community to address the unacceptable burden of road traffic injury on children and young people as a priority, increasing political commitment, by ensuring that the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health delivers necessary action on road safety;
- Ensure political commitment and responsibility at the highest level and establish regional, national and sub- national strategies and action plans for road safety and contributions from different governmental agencies as well as multi-sectoral partnerships to deliver the scale of efforts required at regional, national and sub-national levels to achieve SDG targets, and that these strategies and efforts are transparent and public;
- Encourage Member States that have not yet done so to consider becoming contracting parties to the United Nations legal instruments on road safety as well as applying, implementing and promoting their provisions or safety regulations, and ensure that legislation and standards for road design and construction, vehicles, and road use are consistent with safe system principles and are enforced;
- Include road safety and a safe system approach as an integral element of land use, street design, transport system planning and governance, especially for vulnerable road users and in urban areas, by strengthening institutional capacity with regard to road safety laws and law enforcement, vehicle safety, infrastructure improvements, public transport, post-crash care, and data;
- Speed up the shift toward safer, cleaner, more energy efficient and affordable modes of transport and promote higher levels of physical activity such as walking and cycling as well as integrating these modes with the use of public transport to achieve sustainability;
- Encourage and incentivize the development, application and deployment of existing and future technologies and other innovations to improve accessibility and all aspects of road safety from crash prevention to emergency response and trauma care, with special attention given to the safety needs of those road users who are the most vulnerable including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and users of public transport;
- Ensure timely access to high quality emergency and long-term health care services for the injured and recognize that an effective post-crash response includes also mental, social and legal support for victims, survivors and families;
- Focus on speed management, including the strengthening of law enforcement to prevent speeding and mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner, except where strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe, noting that efforts to reduce speed in general will have a beneficial impact on air quality and climate change as well as being vital to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries;
- Ensure that all vehicles produced and sold for every market by 2030 are equipped with appropriate levels of safety performance, and that incentives for use of vehicles with enhanced safety performance are provided where possible;
- Ensure that an integrated road safety approach and minimum safety performance standards for all road users are a key requirement in road infrastructure improvements and investments;
- Call upon businesses and industries of all sizes and sectors to contribute to the attainment of the road safety related SDGs by applying safe system principles to their entire value chain including internal practices throughout their procurement, production and distribution process, and to include reporting of safety performance in their sustainability reports;
- Call upon public organisations at all levels to procure safe and sustainable transport services and vehicles and encourage the private sector to follow this example, including the purchase of safe and sustainable vehicle fleets;
- Encourage increased investment in road safety, recognizing the high rates of return of road injury prevention projects and programs and the necessity of scaling up activities to meet the road safety related SDGs;
- Emphasize the importance of monitoring and reporting progress towards the achievement of our common goals and, as appropriate, the Voluntary Global Road Safety Performance Targets agreed by Member States, and call upon the World Health Organization to continue to collect, publish and disseminate data through the series of Global Status Reports on Road Safety, leveraging as appropriate existing efforts including those of regional road safety observatories to harmonize and make road safety data available and comparable;
- Call upon the World Health Organization to prepare an inventory of proven strategies and initiatives from a wide variety of member countries that have successfully reduced fatalities in member countries. A report should be readied for publication in 2024.
- We call for a first High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Road Safety at the level of Heads of State and government to mobilize adequate national leadership and advance international and multisectoral collaboration in all the areas covered by this Declaration to deliver a 50 per cent reduction in deaths and injuries over the next decade on our way to Vision Zero by 2050; and
- We invite the United Nations General Assembly to endorse the content of this declaration.