ALERT – World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims: it’s time to increase efforts on road safety

Posted by: on Nov 18, 2018 | No Comments

Today is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR), an important opportunity to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are also affected. It is also an opportunity to call for action at all levels.

Local, national, and global decision-makers, as well as civil society organisations and individuals share the responsibility to improve road safety and save lives.

Every year, 20 to 50 million people worldwide suffer non-fatal road crashes injuries, which may result in disabilities; around 1.25 million are killed in road crashes. Vulnerable road users (notably pedestrians, persons with disabilities, cyclists and children) represent 46% of road casualties. Persons with disabilities are at higher risk of sustaining injuries from road crashes

Alarmed by this trend, Member States of the United Nations highlighted this major concern by the proclamation of the 2011-2020 Decade of Action for Road Safety and by adopting a standalone target in the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development  to reduce the number of road traffic deaths and injuries by half by 2020 (Sustainable Development Goal Target 3.6).

Only two years away from the end of the Decade of Action and of the SDG target 3.6, data shows a substantial status-quo: the number of losses  hasn’t reduced, but it hasn’t yet significantly increased either and certainly not to the sort of levels (1.9 million a year) that were forecast ten years ago. While in Europe, a decrease of 40% has been observed over the period 2000 to 2012, in Africa and in South East Asia road crashes dramatically increased by the same percentage over the same period. Clearly, the ambitious target of a fifty per cent real terms fatality reduction by 2020 is far from being achieved.

However, the Decade of Action has strengthened and provided further legitimacy to the tireless work of many victims’ associations and NGOs that have continued raising awareness, mobilizing stakeholders, and supporting families’ victims and communities. Over the years, HI and its project partners have provided support to victims, for example by empowering them to create local associations and to run raising awareness campaigns, thus transforming their grieve into a action for change. On the occasion of the WDR, this vibrant civil society organizes a number of events to make sure this issue is not neglected and victims are not forgotten, neither in developed or in developing countries, in a spirit of international solidarity. The European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR), creator of the WDR, has chosen for this year’s WDR the slogan “Roads have stories”, launching a powerful and moving messages that place people – and their stories- at the center:

Political will, which results in effective measures and investments, is the real driver of change and is the crucial difference between success and failure in addressing road unsafety. It is time to reinforce this political will, by renewing global commitments and ensuring that road (un)safety is prioritized in the political agenda beyond the 2020 “deadline”. The extension until 2030 of the SDG Target 3.6 can further catalyze resources and political buy-in on an urgent development and health issue, which now more than ever deserves greater attention.

On the WDR, follow @FEVRorg and @HI_advocacy on Twitter and use #WDoR2018 and #RoadsHaveStories.

For more information, check HI study Making cities inclusive: safe mobility for persons with disabilities in developing countries.