4th United Nations Global Road Safety Week

8–14 May 2017

The WHO European Region will mark the 4th United Nations Global Road Safety Week on 8–14 May 2017 with a focus on managing speed. Excessive speed is among the major risk factors for road traffic deaths and injuries.

Road crashes are responsible for over 84 000 premature deaths annually in the Region, and are the leading killer of people aged 5–29 years. Thirty percent of road crash deaths are among pedestrians and cyclists, some of the most vulnerable on the roads.

The speed of a vehicle is a very important risk factor for both the occurrence of a crash and the gravity of its consequences. A 5% average reduction in speed can reduce fatal crashes by 30%. This is why urban speed limits should be set at 50 km/h and reduced to 30 km/h where motorized traffic mixes with pedestrians and cyclists.

Only 44% of countries in the Region have such comprehensive laws. This situation needs to be improved to make roads safer. Intersectoral action is needed by countries and municipalities to implement cost-effective measures to ensure that speed is controlled appropriately.

Road safety is a priority on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The overall goal of Global Road Safety Week is to contribute to saving lives on the world’s roads, thereby furthering progress towards Sustainable Development Goal targets 3.6 and 11.2.

Its objectives are to:

  1. raise awareness about the dire consequences of speed and the benefits of reducing speed;
  2. promote evidence-based solutions to manage speed (based on the Safe System approach) to policy- and other decision-makers; and
  3. gather commitments from policy and other decision-makers on promoted solutions by the end of the Week.

Health ministry focal points for injury prevention, nongovernmental organizations and road safety activists throughout the Region are encouraged to join in advocacy activities and to register their events on the website. Activities include organizing a “Slow Down Day”. A toolkit for organizers and a WHO infographic on managing speed are available below.