Violence and Injury Prevention

UN General Assembly adopts a resolution on "Improving global road safety"

The UN General Assembly and its Member States adopted a resolution on "Improving global road safety". The resolution, which was tabled by the Government of the Russian Federation, was co-sponsored by 55 governments.

Among key decisions, resolution A/70/L.44 reaffirms adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets on road safety outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: SDG target 3.6, which aims to reduce global road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2020 and SDG target 11.2, which aims to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all by 2030.

The resolution acknowledges their importance and calls for action to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries as a pressing development priority. It also endorses the outcome document of the 2nd Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety, held in Brazil in November 2015, namely the "Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety".

The resolution invites two major development conferences - the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III, Quito, Ecuador, October 2016) and the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion (Shanghai, China, November 2016) - to give appropriate consideration to road safety and sustainable mobility generally. It asks these to do so, while paying special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, including people with disabilities.

With regard to Member States, the resolution renews its call on governments to take a leading role in implementing the road safety-related SDG targets and the activities of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. In line with the Global Plan for the Decade of Action, and as documented in previous UN General Assembly resolutions, Member States are specifically invited to adopt comprehensive legislation on key risk factors, including speeding, drinking and driving, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints; improve the safety of vehicles and roads; and strengthen emergency trauma care for victims of road traffic crashes.

Member States are also requested to develop and implement targeted social marketing campaigns to raise awareness; commemorate the annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims; organize activities in 2017 to mark the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week; support the activities of the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety; and explore new and innovative funding modalities.

The resolution requests WHO, in collaboration with other UN agencies and UN regional commissions, to continue facilitating a transparent, sustainable and participatory process with all stakeholders to assist countries to develop voluntary global performance targets on key risk factors and service delivery mechanisms to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries. WHO is also encouraged to continue to monitor, through its global status reports, progress towards the achievement of the goal of the Decade of Action.

Finally the resolution requests the UN Secretary-General to consider the possibility of establishing, from voluntary contributions, a Road Safety Trust Fund, to support the implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action and road safety-related SDGs.

Road traffic deaths and injuries are a major health and development concern. WHO's Global status report on road safety 2015 indicates that worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths has plateaued at 1.25 million per year, with the highest road traffic fatality rates in low-income countries. In the last three years, 17 countries have aligned at least one of their laws with best practice on the key risk factors noted above. While there has been progress towards improving road safety legislation and enhancing vehicle safety, the report shows that the pace of change is too slow. Urgent action is needed to achieve the ambitious targets reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.