Global Road Safety

Global Road Safety

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety external icon, held in Sweden in February 2020, produced the Stockholm Declaration external icon. This statement acknowledges that substantial progress was made to improve road safety during the first Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020) pdf icon [PDF – 6 pages] external icon. It mentions some key achievements, such as enhanced global coordination on road safety, greater engagement with non-governmental entities, production and dissemination of road traffic injury prevention resources, and increased global commitment to focusing on and providing resources for road safety.

However, the statement also recognizes that all countries still face formidable road safety challenges. It describes lessons learned from the first Decade of Action, including the need to promote an integrated approach to road safety, the importance of identifying and implementing long-term and sustainable road safety solutions, and the need for continued emphasis on collaboration across sectors. It also reaffirms commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – especially road safety-related targets 3.6 external icon and 11.2 external icon. In addition, it emphasizes the protection of vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists), the importance of adopting and enforcing evidence-based policies to reduce transportation risk behaviors, the critical role of advanced vehicle safety technologies, the importance of shifting to cleaner and healthier modes of transportation, and our shared responsibility to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries.

CDC recognizes the new United Nations (UN) Decade of Action for Road Safety (2021–2030) external icon and the priorities set forth. This second Decade of Action was established by the UN General Assembly resolution 74/299 external icon “Improving global road safety,” and adopted in August 2020. The new Decade of Action re-establishes the ambitious goal of reducing road traffic deaths and injuries across the world by 50% from 2021–2030.

World Health Assembly Resolution 69.7 pdf icon [PDF – 3 pages] external icon (adopted May 2016) called for WHO Member States to develop a set of 12 voluntary global road safety performance targets pdf icon [PDF – 1 page] external icon to accelerate the reduction of road traffic injuries and the improvement of road safety. In November 2017, the targets were finalized and adopted external icon. They can help countries assess their progress towards accomplishing activities within the following five pillars outlined in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020) external icon:

A new Global Plan of Action aligning with the Stockholm Declaration external icon and UN General Assembly resolution 74/299 [PDF – 9 pages] external icon “Improving global road safety” will be released during the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week external icon (May 17–23, 2021). It will provide actionable steps to work towards a 50% reduction of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. The continued use of these 12 voluntary targets to monitor and report on road safety progress is encouraged.

CDC has also provided technical and funding support for WHO reports, manuals, documents, and technical packages. For example, Save LIVES – a Road Safety Technical Package external icon (2017) is an evidence-based inventory of priority interventions that can help road safety professionals, governments, and other decision-makers to reduce road traffic injuries and achieve the road safety-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets (3.6 external icon and 11.2 external icon). It focuses on Speed management, Leadership, Infrastructure design and improvement, Vehicle safety standards, Enforcement of traffic laws, and post-crash Survival.

In 1997, a new idea from Sweden opened the door to a new way of thinking: Vision Zero external icon. This idea that no one should die or suffer serious injury in traffic crashes has gained considerable traction across the world and has evolved into a highly successful road safety strategy. The strategy embraces the Safe System approach external icon to road safety, which acknowledges that humans make mistakes. Therefore, the road system should be built in a way that helps to reduce human error and protects humans from death and severe injury when they make mistakes. A few examples include creating separate spaces for cars and pedestrians, reducing speeds, engineering roads to facilitate safe driving, and safer vehicles.

In the United States, many cities, counties, and communities external icon have accepted the challenge. Similar to this vision, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) external icon focuses on six areas of emphasis pdf icon [PDF – 2 pages] external icon: 1) Safer drivers and passengers; 2) Safer vulnerable users; 3) Safer vehicles; 4) Safer infrastructure; 5) Enhanced Emergency Medical Services; and 6) Improved safety management. A combination of strategies and the collaboration of groups from many different sectors such as public health organizations, law enforcement agencies, and emergency medical services are necessary to achieve the TZD vision.

In 2016, the Road to Zero (RTZ) Coalition external icon was launched to support and enhance Vision Zero efforts in the United States. The coalition’s primary goal is to end road traffic fatalities in the United States by 2050. CDC actively participates in the coalition and serves on the Steering Group.

The RTZ Coalition outlines three primary focus areas external icon that are needed to achieve zero deaths: