World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Statement of the Chair of the UN Road Safety Collaboration

Dr Etienne Krug

18 November 2012

Esteemed colleagues and friends,

Every twenty seconds somewhere in the world, a father, mother, son, daughter, sibling, colleague and friend is killed in a road traffic crash.

On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, our thoughts go to the families of the more than 1.2 million people who perished this year. We wish them strength and courage as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.

Such pain and suffering are unacceptable, given that we have the knowledge needed to prevent road traffic crashes. Many countries have managed to reduce their death rates considerably over the last decades. This year’s theme – learning from the past – is therefore appropriate. Let’s learn from their achievements!

Those countries which have made progress have done so with political will at the highest levels of government and a sustained focus on what works. Measures include identifying a lead agency for road safety; developing a comprehensive road safety strategy; and implementing concrete measures related to roads, vehicles and people’s behavior. Responding to emergencies following a crash and ensuring justice for victims and their families are also key.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 – with its goal to save 5 million lives - serves as a mechanism for countries to gain the knowledge and experience which have benefitted others.

Since its launch in May 2011, the Decade has had tangible victories. Many countries have started implementing plans, revising and enforcing legislation, and strengthening trauma care. Through newly established assessment programmes, countries are also paying increased attention to the quality of their roads and vehicles. Small grants are being provided through two new mechanisms to support national and local action, and a number of strategic partnerships have been made, including with nongovernmental organizations, influential global media and some of the world’s leading companies.

Years ago a bereaved father likened his life to that of the war-affected, marked by the periods before and after he lost his daughter in a road traffic crash. His life was irrevocably changed.

Let’s use this World Day of Remembrance to remind governments, their partners and all of us of the need for action to learn from the past in order to create a future that is safe for all.

We wish you a successful World Day of Remembrance.

Video statement (streaming)

Video statement (downloadable files)

Past World days of remembrance

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