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Important New Manual from WHO

2 September 2013

WHO has launched a manual aimed at strengthening road safety legislation.

Released this month by the World Health Organization (WHO), 'Strengthening road safety legislation: a practice resource manual for countries' describes methods and provides resources that practitioners and decision-makers can use for enacting new laws or amending existing ones as part of a comprehensive road safety strategy.

The manual follows the issue of the 'Global status report on road safety 2013: Supporting a decade of action' which revealed that legislation on five known key risk factors for road traffic injuries (speeding, drink-driving, and the non-use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints) is incomplete in the majority of countries and that current laws are often inadequately enforced, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The report revealed that only 28 countries (covering just 7% of the world's population) have comprehensive laws on these five risk factors.

More work needs to be done to improve road safety legislation globally, and meet the target of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 which aims to raise from 15% to 50% the number of countries worldwide that have comprehensive legislation on five key risk factors. This manual recommends a stepwise approach to assessing and improving legislation relating to these risk factors, as well as post-crash care.

The manual, which was funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Global Road Safety Programme, can be used to:

  • develop an understanding of the framework of legislation and relevant processes that are applicable in a country
  • review current national legislation and regulations and identify barriers to the implementation and enforcement of effective road safety measures
  • identify available resources, such as international agreements, and evidence-based guidance and recommendations on effective measures, to improve legislation
  • prepare action plans to strengthen national legislation and regulations for the five main risk factors and for post-crash care, including advocating for improvement

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