World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims
Statement of the Chair of the UN Road Safety Collaboration
Dr Etienne Krug
20 November 2011
Today, on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, we take pause to mourn the nearly 1.3 million people who lost their lives and the millions of others who were injured on the world's roads this year.
Our thoughts go out to the families whose loved ones began their day like any other, never to return home. We wish them strength and courage as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.
This World Day of Remembrance will be marked in myriad ways around the world.
In Ghana, victims and their families will present a petition to Parliament; while in New Zealand, child car seats will be symbolically displayed with wooden crosses. In Japan a candle-light vigil will take place in front of a darkened Tokyo Tower. In Luxemburg the first trees of the Road Victim Memorial Wood will be planted, while Poland will inaugurate one of the world's few national memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives in road traffic crashes.
Across the world, victims' voices - and their grief - will be heard.
2011 has been a momentous year for road safety. On 11 May the international community marked the start of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
Governments acknowledged the threat of road traffic deaths to health and development, and committed themselves to the Decade goal to save 5 million lives and prevent 50 million injuries. Some used this occasion to release national Decade plans and new road safety legislation targeted at drinking and driving, speeding and using helmets, seat-belts and child car seats.
The World Health Organization convened associations of road traffic victims from 48 countries earlier in the year to plan their Decade contributions. With deep dedication and a relentless optimism, hundreds such organizations were among those who marked the start of the Decade in more than 100 countries.
The international community promotes efforts to ensure the rights of and improve services for the bereaved and injured and to reduce danger for all who use the world's roads. It supports the stated theme of this observance: "From Global Remembrance to Global Action Across the Decade".
Let's indeed make 2011-2020 a Decade to remember! Taking action to save the lives of others will be our greatest tribute to the memory of those already lost.