United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety

The United Nations has proclaimed 2011-2020 to be the Decade of Action for Road Safety in an effort to address the global epidemic of deaths and serious injuries on the world’s roads.

One person every six seconds is killed or seriously injured, with nine out of ten road deaths and injuries taking place in developing countries.

CARRS-Q is working with the UN and stakeholders around Australia to acknowledge the Decade of Action and continue our efforts to reduce the road toll both in Australia and overseas.


Road trauma: stop counting the dead


The Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week was held 8-14 May 2017, with the theme “speed management”. With 328,000 people dying on the regions roads every year, making it the leading cause of death for those aged 15-49, WHO strongly encourage the organisation of activities to commemorate this day and advocate for the prevention of road traffic injuries. CARRS-Q actively participated via the launch of its new Queensland-wide campaign “Watch your pace when sharing space“.

CARRS-Q also supported the 2015 UN Global Road Safety Week and the campaign message of #SaveKidsLives, in partnership with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, the Queensland Police Service, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission, the RACQ, Kidsafe and the International Roads Assessment Program (iRAP).

#SaveKidsLives called for action to save children’s lives on the roads around the world, by:

  • highlighting the plight of children on the roads;
  • generating worldwide action to better ensure the safety of children on the roads; and
  • calling for inclusion of safe and sustainable transport in the post-2015 development agenda.

The campaign operated on the principles of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 and is managed by a broad coalition of members from the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration.

Links to resources:

On 15 April, 2016, Dr Barry Watson, former Director of CARRS-Q, spoke to the United Nations General Assembly in support of a special resolution to improve global road safety:

Mr. President,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this brief statement on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies. 
The IFRC first recognized road safety as a humanitarian crisis in its 1998 World Disasters Report. Since this time, it has worked alongside its Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to undertake a variety of actions to enhance global road safety.  For example, our National Societies are widely recognized for the first aid services and training they provide. In addition, many are actively involved in working with their authorities to develop evidence-based road safety laws and policies, as well as delivering on-the-ground road safety initiatives. These efforts are supported by our hosted programme, the Global Road Safety Partnership, which works to establish partnerships with government, private sector and civil society organizations to enhance road safety – particularly in lower and middle income countries where the need is greatest.
Mr. President,
We are now at the mid-point of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and considerable progress has been made to address this man-made crisis. In this regard, the IFRC would like to commend all those who contributed to the establishment of the Decade of Action and have worked tirelessly to achieve its goals.  More recently, the inclusion of truly ambitious road safety-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Secretary General’s appointment of a Special Envoy for Road Safety, and the organization of the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety in Brazil have provided much-needed political impetus for further global action.  
However, so much more still needs to be done, and policies must now be put into effect. While the latest data from the World Health Organization suggests that road fatalities have stabilized at 1.25 million per year, the human and economic costs of road crashes remain staggering.  From a humanitarian perspective, the risk of death or injury on the road remains ever-present in many communities around the world. For example, there are cities and towns where vehicles travel at up to 100 km/h through school zones because the road police have no authority or resources to prevent it; where injured road users are provided with no assistance due to a lack of legal protection for Good Samaritans in their country;  where adults and children falling from motorbikes suffer life-altering head injuries because they are either not required to wear a helmet or only have access to substandard helmets offering little protection.  Events like this happen every day –  and are happening right now – all over the world. The reality is that if you are poor or if you live in a rapidly motorizing country, you are likely to experience road trauma firsthand.
Mr. President,
Changes need to occur at a local, national and global level if we are going to achieve our ambitious road safety goals. Of particular importance is the need to build strong multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder partnerships.
In this regard, we welcome the resolution before you, which lays out clear actions for Member States, UN agencies and other relevant stakeholders. In particular, we support the call for governments to pass and implement strong road safety policies which are locally relevant and evidence-based.  To maximize their effectiveness, these policies should be consistently and uniformly enforced and adequately resourced.  More broadly, there is a need for more attention, political will and resources to be devoted to road safety.
For its part, the IFRC will continue to work with all member states and relevant organizations to realize the goals of this resolution. Achieving ambitious road safety targets will not only benefit society as a whole, but particularly assist the poorest and most vulnerable among us, ensuring that no one is left behind.


Kim Smith, Marketing & External Relations Coordinator:  k31.smith@qut.edu.au or +61 7 3138 4568.