Roads have stories: World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

WHO/Malin Bring

18 November 2018

Every 6 minutes someone dies on the roads of the WHO European Region – 230 people each day, 83 000 people every year. Road trauma kills more people aged 5–14 than any other cause and is the second leading cause of death for those aged 15–29, and every death is just the tip of the iceberg with millions more people non-fatally injured to various severities, many with life-long consequences.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDoR), which is held on the third Sunday of November each year. It provides a solemn opportunity to reflect on those who have been lost or irreversibly impacted by road trauma and to put the human side of road safety forward. Who we remember on this day also goes far beyond those killed or injured – road trauma devastates families, friends and communities.

The theme for WDoR in 2018 is “Roads have stories”, highlighting that roads are more than just physical connections from point A to point B, that they are also final resting places for so many lives cut short. Road infrastructure, so crucial to national development and economic strengthening, can contribute to the road safety problem or its solution.

Countries, governments, road safety agencies, communities, families and individuals across the Region will be commemorating this day in many different ways: with public vigils and candle-lit gatherings, with tears and promises that these tragedies never befall another loved one, and with actions. Some will be public, many more will be private.

An International Road Safety Conference, to be held on 19 November 2018 and hosted by the Government of Malta and WHO, will use international experience to identify national objectives to be prioritized to save lives on Malta’s roads. This is one of many activities being organized around the Region and around the world.

Recognizing its public health and international development priority, road safety is a key target under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a 50% reduction in road traffic fatalities called for by 2020.