Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020
Road traffic injuries are a pressing global health and development concern. Approximately 1.3 million people die on the world’s roads each year and up to 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries.
In March 2010, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly took steps to address this enormous global problem by proclaiming the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 (the Decade). The resolution on the Decade was introduced by the Russian Federation and co-sponsored by 100 countries including Australia. The goal of the Decade is: “to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world” by 2020.
The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on 11 May 2011 with rolling 24-hour events in each of the world’s time zones, including an Australian launch at Parliament House, Canberra.
The global road safety problem
- Over 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low to middle income countries.
- Road traffic fatalities are the tenth leading cause of death of young people aged 15-29 years.
- In addition to the grief and suffering they cause, road traffic crashes result in considerable economic losses to victims, their families, and nations as a whole, costing most countries 1-5 per cent of their gross national product.
- If no action is taken to address the current crisis, global road traffic fatalities are forecast to rise to more than 2.4 million deaths per year by 2030, becoming the fifth leading cause of death.
- There is evidence about what works to prevent road traffic deaths and injuries. However, many countries have not implemented or do not enforce seatbelt use, speed limits, drink driving restrictions, helmet wearing or child restraint use.
Global Plan for the Decade of Action
The resolution on the Decade of Action invites all member states to set their own national road traffic casualty reduction targets for the decade and calls for the implementation of road safety activities, particularly in the areas of road safety management, road infrastructure, vehicle safety, road user behaviour, road safety education and post-crash response.
These objectives are supported by the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which provides a guiding implementation framework based on Safe System principles. The categories, or ‘pillars’, of activity are:
- building road safety management capacity
- improving the safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks
- further developing the safety of vehicles
- enhancing the behaviour of road users
- improving post-crash care.
Indicators have been developed to measure progress in each of these areas.
Australia’s National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2010 is closely aligned with the Global Plan, and it forms an important part of our country’s response to the Decade of Action.
The Decade was proposed by the Commission for Global Road Safety, which was established by the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society in 2006. This body also campaigned for the first ever Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety which was hosted by the Russian Federation in November 2009.
The Decade is formally coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), through the UN Road Safety Collaboration (RSC).