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A road safety agenda for 2018: Lord Robertson urges global parliamentary action

17 January 2018

Story from the FIA Foundation.

Lord Robertson Chairman of the FIA Foundation

Writing for the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund , Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chairman of the FIA Foundation and a member of the UK Parliament, urges legislators across the world to support a new global fund for road safety and the #EveryLife campaign to protect the human rights of children as they use the world’s roads.

“We are at a time of transition for global road safety. The world’s leading cause of death for young people between 15 and 29 years is finally recognised as a global development issue, with a stand-alone target in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. But this ambitious objective - to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes - requires far greater action, backed up by unprecedented financing in the form of a new targeted UN fund. Only with serious political commitment will we end the appalling daily carnage on the world’s roads.

Over 1.2 million people are killed – 3,500 every day. Fifty million are injured each year. Road users in low and middle income countries are disproportionately affected: 90% of all road traffic fatalities occur in developing countries. And those in poverty are not only more likely to be injured or killed, but also to remain or even be forced further into poverty because of the injury. The estimated cost of road traffic injuries is a $1.85 trillion burden on the global economy each year, according to the 2015 intergovernmental ‘Brasilia Declaration’, which set an agenda for action to meet the global target.

We have the tools to confront this human tragedy. We know the systems and policies which work in road traffic injury prevention. There has been progress. Bloomberg Philanthropies estimates that, through its support for global road safety since 2011, more than 1.8 billion people have been covered by strengthened road safety laws and 65 million people have seen new media campaigns promoting road safety. Those countries – like Vietnam - that have set targets, allocated resources, implemented legislation and had the political drive to sustain efforts over many years are seeing a health dividend.

The philanthropic programme of the FIA Foundation, which I chair, has also helped to improve the way countries build and design their roads and vehicles. Through independent vehicle crash testing, the Global New Car Assessment Programme is forcing a revolution in car safety. The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) publishes star ratings for highway safety in more than 70 countries and works with governments and development banks to improve design - at least 16,000 deaths and serious injuries were prevented through its work in 2016. These programmes have catalysed positive action in developing countries, with safety improvements resulting from the combined pressure of legislative and consumer demands.''

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