Key messages for the Week
The First United Nations Global Road Safety Week will be a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of road traffic injuries, particularly among young road users, and to promote action around the leading factors related to road traffic injuries and their prevention. Whatever form of events are being planned for the Week, it will be useful to articulate them around the following key messages:
1. Road traffic injuries are a major global public health and development problem. Their magnitude is expected to rise considerably in the years ahead.
Nearly 1.2 million people worldwide die as a result of road traffic collisions every year, representing more than 2.1% of global mortality, and comparable to the number of deaths caused by major killers such as malaria and tuberculosis. Millions more are injured and often remain disabled for life. Around 85% of deaths from road traffic crashes occur in low-income and middle-income countries, at a cost of 1%–1.5% of gross national product annually. Without action, road traffic deaths and disabilities are likely to rise due to increasing motorization.
2. Road traffic injuries greatly impact upon young lives.
Road traffic injuries are the second leading cause of death for people aged 5–25 years. Among this age group, young men – pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, novice drivers and passengers – are nearly three times more likely to be killed or injured on the roads than young women.
3. Road traffic injuries can be prevented.
In some countries, the number of road traffic injuries has declined, despite increasing motorization. By acting on a number of factors, in particular drink-driving, speeding, helmets, seat-belts and road design and infrastructure, many lives and financial resources can be saved.
4. Road safety is no accident.
Road safety happens through the deliberate efforts of many individuals and many sectors of society – governmental and nongovernmental alike. Political commitment is paramount. Today’s success stories often result from a decision at the highest level of government to improve road safety.
5. International cooperation is crucial to strengthening national road safety efforts.
International cooperation can strengthen national road safety efforts through the sharing of information and lessons from successful strategies and programmes, and by mobilizing additional resources. International cooperation can also help to ensure that road safety is among the top priorities on the public health and development agendas of countries around the world.