United Nations adopts new resolution on improving global road safety

WHO/Faith Kilford Vorting

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children and young people aged 5–29 years in the WHO European Region. Last month, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on improving global road safety, sponsored by the Government of the Russian Federation.

Road traffic accidents are estimated to have taken 1.24 million lives globally in 2010. Only 7% of the world’s population is covered by adequate laws that address all behavioural risk factors linked to road traffic injuries.

The new resolution:

  • commends the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) for its plan for the United Nations (UN) Decade of Action for Road Safety, which includes actions, initiatives and measures dealing with road infrastructure, traffic rules, dangerous goods and vehicle regulations;
  • invites WHO to continue monitoring progress in the Decade of Action;
  • encourages countries that lack national plans on road safety to develop them, paying special attention to the needs of all road users, particularly pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable groups;
  • encourages countries to enact comprehensive legislation on the key risk factors for road traffic injuries (with the goal of raising the share of countries with such legislation from the current figure of 15% to 50% by the end of the Decade of Action in 2020), including: disregard for road signs and signals; non-use of helmets, safety belts and child restraints; driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs; inappropriate and excessive speed; and inappropriate use of mobile telephones, including texting while driving;
  • welcomes the Government of Brazil’s offer to host a second global ministerial conference on road safety in 2015;
  • requests that a third UN Global Road Safety Week be organized in 2015, on the theme of children and road safety; and
  • encourages the inclusion of road safety in the post-2015 development agenda.