Last week, WHO launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 in Geneva, with the ambitious goal of preventing at least 50% of road deaths and injuries by 2030. The WHO and the United Nations regional commissions, in cooperation with other partners as part of the United Nations road safety collaboration, have developed a global plan for the decade of action.

Globally, more than 3,500 people die on the roads every day, accounting for nearly 1.3 million preventable deaths and about 50 million injuries each year, making it the leading killer of children and youth in the world. As it stands, they are expected to cause an estimated 13 million deaths and 500 million injuries over the next decade, especially in low- and middle-income countries. These are unacceptable numbers, both in absolute and relative terms. Road traffic crashes have remained a leading cause of death globally, even though each and every one of these deaths and injuries is preventable.

Almost 90% of these victims take place in developing countries and 11% of them are attributable to India. According to the road accident report for 2019, a total of 449,002 road accidents took place in the country during the year 2019, causing 151,113 deaths and 451,361 injuries. In percentage terms, the number of accidents decreased slightly by 3.86% in 2019 compared to 2018, while accident-related deaths decreased by 0.20% and injuries by 3.86%. The drop appears to have been the result of stricter Motor Vehicle Act road safety rules implemented across the country from September 2019.

“The loss of lives and livelihoods, the disabilities caused, the heartache and pain and the financial costs caused by road accidents add to an intolerable toll on families, communities, societies and communities. health systems, “said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General,” Much of this suffering is preventable, by making roads and vehicles safer, and by encouraging walking, cycling and increased use. safe public transport. The Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety sets out practical, evidence-based steps all countries and communities can take to save lives.

Make the streets safer
Recognizing the importance of the problem and the need for action, governments around the world have unanimously declared – through United Nations General Assembly resolution 74/299 – the Decade of Action for road safety 2021-2030 with the explicit objective of reducing road deaths and injuries. at least 50% during this period.

“One of the best ways to save and improve lives is to make our streets safer – but this work often doesn’t get the attention it deserves,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. “Bloomberg Philanthropies has been working to improve road safety since 2007 by strengthening laws, increasing enforcement, rethinking the streets and using data. I am happy to say that WHO’s ambitious global road safety plan includes many of the strategies we have used to save lives, and it will help encourage governments around the world to make road safety the top priority. top priority that it should be.

This comprehensive plan describes the actions necessary to achieve this objective. This includes accelerated action to make walking, cycling and using public transport safe, as these are also healthier and greener modes of transport; ensure the safety of roads, vehicles and behavior; and ensure rapid and effective emergency care. It aims to inspire countries, including governments and partners, to act boldly and with determination, using the tools and knowledge gained over the past decade of action to change course.

“More than 50 million people have died on the world’s roads since the invention of the automobile. That’s more than the number of deaths during World War I or some of the worst epidemics, ”said Dr Etienne Krug, director of the Department of Social Determinants of Health. “It’s time to implement what we know works and move to a much safer and healthier mode of transportation. This new plan will lead countries on a more sustainable path.

The Global Plan outlines recommended actions from proven and effective interventions, as well as best practices for preventing road traffic injuries. It should be used as a model to inform and inspire national and local plans tailored to local contexts, available resources and capacities. The Global Plan addresses not only high-level policy makers, but also other stakeholders who can influence road safety, such as civil society, academia, the private sector, and community and youth leaders.

Photos: Subhash Simhudu

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