UN Secretary-General issues new report on the global road safety crisis

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, has issued a report Improving global road safety, in advance of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. The report draws attention to key developments in global road safety over the last two years, including the launch of the Global status report on road safety 2013; the Second UN Global Road Safety Week; the creation of the Global Alliance for Care of the Injured; and the annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

In the report the UN Secretary-General highlights the global and national achievements towards improving the safety of roads and vehicles; legislation on key risk factors such as speeding, drink–driving, and the non-use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints; and trauma care systems. Despite progress, the UN Secretary-General notes that much more needs to be done to meet the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 to save 5 million lives, particularly with regard to protecting vulnerable road users and adopting and enforcing comprehensive road safety laws. The UN Secretary-General also remarks that financial support for road safety continues to be a challenge to the attainment of the goal of the Decade of Action.

Mr Ban asks the UN General Assembly to call on Member States to, among others:

  • Implement a good road safety management system, including a lead agency, a national plan in line with the Global Plan for the Decade of Action, and quality data and statistics;
  • Develop strategies, policies and programmes that pay particular attention to the needs of vulnerable road users;
  • Develop comprehensive road safety legislation, particularly on the five key risk factors noted above, and improve implementation through sustained enforcement and social marketing campaigns;
  • Participate in new car assessment programmes in order to foster availability of consumer information about the safety performance of motor vehicles;
  • Strengthen and improve pre-hospital, trauma and rehabilitation care including promoting a global universal emergency number;
  • Ensure the observance of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, in addition to other international and national events;
  • Convene for a high-level mid-term review conference to assess progress on implementing plans for the Decade of Action and discuss next steps;
  • Acknowledge the importance of the current funding mechanisms for road safety, and the need to develop new innovative mechanisms;
  • Request initiation of a process to develop a set of global and national targets and indicators for road safety against which progress can be systematically measured;
  • In the context of the discussions on the post-2015 agenda, recognise the lack of road safety as an important obstacle to sustainable development;
  • Participate in the third Global status report on road safety survey.

The UN Road Safety Collaboration, when it convenes for its bi-annual meeting in Abu Dhabi next week, will discuss a number of these key action items, including the need for internationally agreed upon targets and indicators for road safety, incorporation of safe and sustainable transport into the post-2015 development agenda, and the mid-term review conference for the Decade of Action.