The world has been paying serious attention to road safety since 2003, following a United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the rapid global increase in road traffic deaths, injuries and disabilities. With roughly 1.25 million people dying each year around the world as a result of traffic accidents, the United Nations Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, introduced in 2011, has helped to garner further attention and spur action, particularly when the personal tragedy of every life lost reflects the enormous overall cost of road traffic accidents to society.
Doing its part to facilitate international cooperation in the area of road safety, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Inland Transport Committee (ITC) has been the “invisible hand” that has been busy applying many courses of action and tools to make roads safer. Its starting point are the international conventions and agreements it administers, which are at the core of all concerted efforts. In addition, UNECE has identified 11 goals derived from the five pillars of the Global Plan to form its strategic approach to road safety during the Decade. This report covers each goal in detail – from protecting vulnerable road users to raising awareness for road safety, from making vehicles safer to mitigating the impact of road crashes. It provides a comprehensive overview, including the status and key results of its goals, as well as descriptions of specific UNECE ITC initiatives and information on the challenges the overall road safety community faces.
One of the main conclusions of this report is that political will and the introduction and use of national strategies are likely to be the difference makers in helping to reach the main goal: halving the number of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020.
The path to road safety is a personal, societal and organizational obligation. “Together with UNECE on the road to safety” clearly underlines this joint responsibility.