In September 2015, heads of state attending the United Nations General Assembly adopted the historic Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the new SDG targets (3.6) is to halve the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.
Inclusion of such an ambitious road traffic fatality target is a significant advance for road safety. It is a reflection of the growing recognition of the enormous toll exacted by road traffic injuries – road traffic crashes are a leading cause of death globally, and the main cause of death among those aged 15–29 years. It is also recognition of the heavy burden that road traffic injuries place on national economies and households, and thus their relevance to the broader development and environment agendas addressed by the SDGs.
Adopting a target on road traffic injuries is also an acknowledgement of the strong scientific evidence base that exists on what works to reduce road traffic injuries. There is considerable evidence about interven-tions that are effective at making roads safer, and countries that have successfully implemented these interventions have seen corresponding reductions in road traffic deaths. Rolling out these interventions globally offers huge potential to mitigate future damage and save lives.
The Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020) calls on countries to implement the measures identified internationally to make their roads safer. The UN General Assembly invited WHO to monitor progress through its Global status report on road safety series. This report is the third in the series, and provides a snapshot of the road safety situation globally, high- lighting the gaps and thereby encouraging the need for countries and the international community to galvanize greater and faster action.