Road Accidents

Road accident deaths “a 9/11 tragedy every day

More than three thousand people are killed every day in road traffic accidents across the world and a UN Taskforce is needed to stem the rising numbers, warns the FIA Foundation today.

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre resulted in horrific loss of life. But the death toll on the roads is equivalent to a 9/11 tragedy every day, with thousands more seriously injured. International action is needed to prevent a rising tide of road traffic deaths and injuries that threaten to become an epidemic over the next twenty years.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director General of the World Health Organisation and UK Transport Secretary Alistair Darling will join government ministers from other countries, UN agencies, international organisations and road safety groups, at a unique High Level conference in London today, to discuss strategies to stem the dramatic rise in road casualties worldwide.

The FIA Foundation, a leading international road safety charity based in the UK, is calling for the United Nations and the international community to substantially increase efforts to prevent a rising tide of avoidable road traffic deaths and injuries. In a paper to be published at the conference the Foundation will argue that:

Road safety is almost completely ignored as a priority issue of the international community. For example, the Implementation Plan of the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development World last September failed to mention road traffic safety even once;      

The predicted rise in road traffic deaths and injuries is avoidable. Seat belts, child car seats, motorcycle helmets, designated drivers, traffic calming, etc. have all proved effective countermeasures. With international action to promote similar prevention strategies much higher levels of road safety can be achieved.    

The United Nations should create a Taskforce on Road Safety to provide a co-ordinated response to the challenge of global road safety as a matter of urgency. The Taskforce would become a ‘lead agency’ within the UN, responsible for road safety and the promotion of ‘best practice’ prevention strategies. The Taskforce could build on the successful experience of industrialised countries, like the UK, that have substantially reduced road traffic injuries and could act as centres of excellence to aid and advise developing nations.    

Speaking at the Conference Max Mosley, President of the FIA, said:
“Poor road safety causes one of the greatest inequities in the world today. More than a million people - the vast majority in the poorest countries of the world - are being killed each year, often because unsuitable vehicles are being driven on unsuitable roads by poorly trained drivers. These are the forgotten victims of road crashes.”

“There is no excuse for the international community to ignore the problem. Road crashes kill thousands of young, fit, economically productive people every day – a death toll of 9/11 proportions every day. This daily toll not only strengthens the cycle of poverty but results in three thousand individual human tragedies that can and should be prevented.”

The FIA Foundation is currently supporting the World Health Organisation’s development of a strategy for Road Traffic Injury Prevention. According to the WHO road traffic injuries cause an estimated 1,171,000 deaths annually and many more serious injuries. Developing countries account for over 80% of this death toll. The economic cost of road accidents to developing and emerging countries is estimated at over US$70billion. The WHO forecast that by 2020, road traffic injuries will have risen from ninth to third place in the global disease burden.

Author Notes:

Dustin Armstrong contributes and publishes news editorial to  A buyers guide to all types of motorcycle helmets plus shields, googles, custom and wired radio helmets.

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