UN urges world action to cut 1.3 million road deaths in half

AFP
July 03, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly’s first high-level meeting on road safety called on Saturday for global action to cut the annual toll of nearly 1.3 million deaths and 50 million...

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UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly’s first high-level meeting on road safety called on Saturday for global action to cut the annual toll of nearly 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries in traffic crashes by at least half by decade’s end.

The political declaration adopted by consensus on the final day of the two-day session says traffic deaths and injuries not only cause widespread suffering for loved ones but cost countries an average of 3 percent to 5 percent of their annual gross domestic product.

It says that “makes road safety an urgent public health and development priority.”

The delegates urged all countries to commit to scaling up efforts and setting national targets to reduce fatalities and serious injuries as called for in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030.

Addressing Thursday’s opening session, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that road accidents are the primary cause of death globally of young people ages 5 to 29, and that nine out of 10 victims are in low- and middle-income countries.

“Road fatalities are closely linked to poor infrastructure, unplanned urbanization, lax social protection and health care systems, limited road safety literacy, and persistent inequalities both within and between countries,” he said. “At the same time, unsafe roads are a key obstacle to development.”

The UN chief called for “more ambitious and urgent action to reduce the biggest risks — such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or any psychoactive substance or drug, failure to use seatbelts, helmets and child restraints, unsafe road infrastructure and unsafe vehicles, poor pedestrian safety, and inadequate enforcement of traffic laws.”

He urged increased spending on improving infrastructure and implementing “cleaner mobility and greener urban planning, especially in low- and middle-income countries.”



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