United Nations Secretary-general Antonio Guterres, on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, has urged every country, company, and citizen to support efforts to make roads safer as accidents kill at least one in every 24 seconds. He also encouraged member states of the UN to accede to the road safety conventions and implement "whole-of-society action plans".Noting the year-on-year increasing graph of fatalities in road accidents in low-middle income countries, the UN chief also urged donors to scale up "much-needed" financial and technical contributions through the UN Road Safety Fund.
"Every 24 seconds, a life is cut short because of a road traffic collision," the UN chief wrote in an official Twitter post. This comes after a Global status report on road safety, launched by WHO in December 2018 highlighted that the number of annual road traffic deaths has reached 1.35 million. "Road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of people aged 5-29 years. The burden is disproportionately borne by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, in particular those living in developing countries," the UN Chief said in a statement.
Every 24 seconds, a life is cut short because of a road traffic collision.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 21, 2021
I urge every country, company & citizen to support efforts to make roads safer, especially in low- & middle-income countries where more than 90% of fatalities occur. https://t.co/dOcSuwmi18 pic.twitter.com/i1LeXTv3i1
As per the UN, more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of motorized 2- and 3-wheelers and their passengers are collectively known as "vulnerable road users" and account for half of all road traffic deaths around the world.
"A higher proportion of vulnerable road users die in low-income countries than in high-income countries," the UN said in a statement.
The UN Chief, who is committed to making efforts to make roads safer for everyone, everywhere, said: "As we look ahead to next year's high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly to improve road safety, let us remember that every one of us has a role to play in keeping roads safe."
World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is observed annually on the third Sunday in November to commemorate lives lost in road accidents. "The Day has become an important tool in global efforts to reduce road casualties. It offers an opportunity for drawing attention to the scale of the emotional and economic devastation caused by road crashes and for giving recognition to the suffering of road crash victims and the work of support and rescue services," as per the UN. The theme of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2021 puts the spotlight on the reduction of traffic speeds – low speeds, which have the potential to prevent many deaths and serious injuries, in particular those of pedestrians and all other vulnerable road users – children, elderly and the disabled.