Road Safety Decade launches today

Road traffic injuries kill some 127 000 people in the WHO European Region every year. WHO/Europe welcomes the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, which aims to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries in the Region and the world. It seeks to save 5 million lives globally during its span.

Ministers of health, transport and interior, prime ministers and presidents are taking part in launch events in over 30 countries in the Region. These events focus on making road users safer by limiting speed, reducing drink–driving and increasing the use of seatbelts, child restraints and motorcycle helmets. They target different interest groups, including professionals from the health and other sectors, policy-makers, the mass media and the public, particularly young people and other vulnerable road users.

On 26 May, WHO/Europe will officially launch the Decade in the European Region, highlighting road safety as a cornerstone of sustainable transport policies intended to help create healthier and wealthier societies.

Five pillars of action

Officially announced by the United Nations General Assembly in March 2010, the Decade provides a global framework in which countries and communities can address the road-safety crisis. Through the Decade and with the support of the international community, countries will commit themselves to taking action outlined in the framework.

The five pillars of the Decade are: investing in safer roads, building capacity for road-safety management, developing safer vehicles, encouraging safer road use and improving post-crash response. WHO/Europe supports Member States in taking such action as:

  • developing and enforcing legislation on key risk factors;
  • improving emergency trauma care;
  • upgrading standards for road and vehicle safety;
  • promoting road safety education; and
  • building capacity for road-safety management.