Road safety 'decade of action'

AA President supports new 'make roads safe' campaign

7 May 2009

5 million lives and 50 million serious injuries could be prevented

Pandemic Alert: 5 million lives must be saved on the world's roads by 2020

Governments in all countries must combat the world's fastest growing public health emergency. This is not the swine flu "pandemic" but global road deaths, according to the AA President supporting the new report by the Commission for Global Road Safety launched in Rome this week.

If all governments committed to a road safety 'Decade of Action', 5 million lives and 50 million serious injuries would be prevented. A coordinated UN action plan for road safety is urgently needed with road crashes set to become the leading cause of disability and premature death for children aged 5-14 across developing countries by 2015.

Make Roads Safe – we call for a decade of action for road safety (link opens a new window)

Make Roads Safe campaign ambassador, movie actor Michelle Yeoh, joined Ministers from developing countries, senior UN and World Bank figures, AA President and celebrities including F1 driver Felipe Massa, at the report launch in Rome to highlight the hidden epidemic of road traffic injuries and to urge UN action on road safety.

The 'Make Roads Safe' report, endorsed by the world's leading road safety experts, urges UN governments attending the first ever global governmental conference on road safety in Moscow in November, to support a 'Decade of Action for Road Safety' between 2010-2020. During the Decade the international community should invest in a $300 million action plan to catalyse traffic injury prevention and re-focus national road safety policies and budgets.

Road crashes already kill more people in the developing world than malaria, at an economic cost of up to $100 billion a year, equivalent to all overseas aid from OECD countries:

  • More than one million people are killed on the roads of developing countries every year, and tens of millions are injured, a toll set to double by 2030. Road crashes are already the leading global cause of death for young people aged 10-24
  • Road crashes have now overtaken malaria as a major killer in developing countries
  • They are forecast to be the number one cause of disability and premature death for children aged 5-14 in developing countries by 2015, according to WHO projections


To tackle this growing epidemic, the Commission for Global Road Safety makes a number of key recommendations:

  • The UN should approve a 'Decade of Action for Road Safety' and governments should collectively commit to reducing the forecast 2020 level of road deaths by 50% (from 1.9 million to below 1 million a year). It would have a similar status to the current UN Decade to Roll Back Malaria
  • Achieving the 2020 target could save up to 5 million lives and prevent 50 million serious injuries – a $300 million international fund should be established to encourage and support road safety interventions
  • Interim targets and strategies should be established to promote 100% helmet and seat belt use in every country by 2020, together with other road safety interventions
  • The World Bank, regional development banks and other donors should dedicate at least 10% of their road investment budgets to road safety
  • The UN Secretary General should appoint a UN Special Envoy for Road Safety to raise the profile of the issue


Edmund King, AA President said:

"Many countries have mobilised against a possible pandemic of swine flu yet there is a far bigger silent global killer out there – road deaths. Most governments are not mobilised to cut this carnage. We will be urging the UK Government and others around the world to commit to a decade of action to prevent 5 million road deaths."

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety, said:

"Five million lives are at stake over the coming decade. We have the tools and the vaccines to save these lives. Now we need the international community to demonstrate the political will to succeed. The forthcoming ministerial meeting in Moscow can be the turning point marking a new direction for global road safety. We must respond to this preventable epidemic with urgency and determination."

Michelle Yeoh, Make Roads Safe Global Ambassador, said:

"Over the past year I have travelled in many countries and seen the terrible impact that a lack of basic road safety can have on people's lives. A child is killed or maimed on the roads every thirty seconds. These tragedies are so sad, and so unnecessary, because we have the ability to prevent this. It is time for the talking to stop. It is time for real action to make roads safe."

Felipe Massa said:

"We must do more to tackle road traffic injuries, the biggest killer of young people around the world. By promoting seat belt and helmet use, enforcing drink driving and speeding, and improving road and vehicle design we can really make a difference. I am pleased to support the Make Roads Safe campaign and the call for a Decade of Action for road safety."


The Commission for Global Road Safety, led by Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, was established to examine the framework for, and level of, international cooperation on road safety, and to make policy recommendations. One key recommendation for a first ever Ministerial-level global conference on road safety, has now been adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The AA is a member of the FIA Foundation which supported the research

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07 may 2009