The challenge Edit
Despite causing death and injury on a similar scale to global diseases like Malaria and TB, road traffic injuries are not included in Millennium Development Goals and receive overseas funding which is a tiny fraction of that allocated to Malaria and TB.
Road crashes also hit the poorest countries and poorest people hardest. The annual economic costs of road crashes to low and middle income nations are estimated at between $65 billion - $100 billion. This compares with official overseas aid in 2005 of $106 billion. The majority of those killed or injured are pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. Road injury is a significant cause of poverty amongst lower income families who lose a breadwinner.
- Each year 1.2 million people are killed and 50 million injured around the world in road traffic crashes
- more than 85% of road traffic casualties are in low and middle income countries
The campaign Edit
The Make Road Safe campaign, launched June 8 2006, is calling for
- G8 countries to support a $300 million, 10 year Action Plan to improve road safety in developing countries;
- Road projects in developing countries to be funded with overseas development aid and to include a minimum 10% for road safety improvements including engineering measures, safety rating and assessment, and wider community based road safety initiatives.
- A United Nations Road Safety summit – the first ever such meeting - to be convened to coordinate an international approach to road traffic injury prevention.
- putting global road safety on the G8 agenda (St. Petersburg, July 2006) and secure political and financial commitments for the recommendations proposed in the Make Roads Safe report
- raising awareness amongst young people around the world of the global, developmental problems of road safety. This will also help to raise awareness about and acceptance of domestic road safety amongst a key high risk age group in terms of road crashes in industrialized countries: men in their late teens and early 20s
Launch quote Edit
“The five main development lending banks, like the World Bank, together fund road projects worth $4 billion a year. Yet between them, these five institutions have just two road safety specialists. The G8 has approved major development funding for new roads in Africa, but road safety is not part of the package. Unless we make roads safe in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, a whole generation will suffer the human tragedy and economic cost of rising road deaths. If we are to Make Poverty History we must Make Roads Safe”. David Ward, FIA Foundation Director General
FIA is an organisation for drivers of private cars and racing cars in the rich countries. They consequently focus on the methods they think have reduced road deaths in the rich countries, but it would be very difficult for them to see that increased car ownership and an emulation of western style driving, perhaps even from Hollywood movies and racing tracks might be a large part of the problem. FIA has expertise in fiels that are very relevant to traffic safety in the rich countries, but that does not automatically make them a fully qualified authority in the south. Even in the north, they need to communicate better with organisations like Walkable Communities,and programmes like THE PEP (Transport, Environment and Health, Pan-European Programme) of the World Health Organisation. For good examples from the south, look to Curitiba in Brazil and Bogotá in Colombia (mayor Enrique Penalosa). Last, but not least there is a need world-wide to see traffic safety as a part of the larger picture.
The larger picture pertaining to road traffic and public health includes local air, noise and water pollution, congestion, obesity/a sedentary lifestyle, global warming (which has health effects of it own), energy consumption, sprawl/urban planning, alienation, oil dependence, increased vulnerability to technological breakdown (eg: Houston deadlock after hurricane warning), market strength and might of the (multinational) car manufacturers, ecological footprint and more. The WHO estimate that in European cities, pollution from cars kill more people yearly than victims of road traffic. The obesity epidemic, due in part to excessive planning for and usage of private cars, in turn kills even more persons each year, and the numbers are rising.
External links and references