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
“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.
Dustin Armstrong contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.all-motorcycle-helmets.com.
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