In August 2020, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 74/299 “Improving global road safety”, proclaiming the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.
WHO and the UN regional commissions, in cooperation with other partners in the UN Road Safety Collaboration, are currently developing a Plan of Action for the Decade for consideration by Member States and other stakeholders.
The Plan of Action will align with the Stockholm Declaration, which emphasizes the importance of a holistic approach to road safety, and calls on continued improvements in the design of roads and vehicles; enhancement of laws and law enforcement on behavioural risks such as speeding and drinking and driving; and provision of timely, life-saving emergency care for the injured.
The Plan of Action will also reflect the Stockholm Declaration’s encouragement of policies to promote walking, cycling and using public transport as inherently healthy and environmentally sound modes of transport. “In a post-pandemic world, we must take the opportunity of these unprecedented times to reimagine mobility, to make it safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable,” notes Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director of the Department of Social Determinants of Health. “Road safety is at the heart of making this vision a reality.”
Progress made during the previous Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 has laid the foundation for accelerated action in the years ahead. Among achievements are inclusion of road safety on the global health and development agenda, broad dissemination of scientific guidance on what works, strengthening of partnerships and networks, and mobilization of resources.
Despite considerable declines in road traffic deaths observed in the European Union and countries such as Brazil and the Russian Federation during the previous ten years, however, the number of road traffic deaths remains unacceptably high, with 1.35 million people killed every year and as many as 50 million people injured.
This new Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 provides an opportunity for harnessing the successes and lessons of previous years and building upon them to save more lives.
The Plan of Action is set to be released during the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week to be held from 17-23 May 2021. The Week itself will focus on speed management, in particular 30 km/h zones in cities and other areas where pedestrians and cyclists mix with traffic, as key to a safe transport system which protects all who use the roads, prevents road traffic deaths and injuries, and facilitates the attainment of many of the Sustainable Development Goals.