May 01, 2004

UN, WHO Call for Better Policy, Street Design to Reduce Traffic Deaths

On April 7, hundreds of events around the world highlighted the need for improved traffic safety, in honor of the World Health Organization’s World Health Day –
“Road safety is no accident.”

Photo: ITDP gave bicycle safety training during Accra’s WHD celebration 

The WHO launched a year-long campaign to increase political commitment to improve road safety in response to dramatic increases in traffic-related deaths. Every year, more than 1.2 million people die as a result of traffic collisions, and 50 million more are injured.

One week after World Health Day, the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution inviting WHO to coordinate worldwide efforts to establish road safety standards, particularly in developing countries, where the costs of traffic fatalities and injuries was nearly twice the total development aid they received.

If current trends continue, the number of people killed and injured on the world’s roads will rise by more than 60% between 2000 and 2020, according to WHO. Most of these injuries will occur in developing countries where more and more people are using motorized transport. In these countries, cyclists, motorcyclists, users of public transport, and pedestrians are especially vulnerable to road traffic injuries.

Among WHO’s recommendations, detailed in a report released on April 7, are engineering-based traffic calming measures that ITDP and other groups have found most effective for reducing traffic deaths.

ITDP has a traffic calming fact sheet available at https://www.itdp.org/PR/index.html

The WHO’s report and materials on traffic safety is available at https://www.who.int/features/2004/road_safety/en/

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