Road trafc injuries: the hidden development crisis 1
‘Time for Action’. This is the slogan of the FirstGlobal Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.And if we consider the scale of the road injuryepidemic facing the world, and particularlythe developing world, it is clear that now isindeed the time for action. This issue has beenneglected for far too long. Moscow can bethe turning point, the fork in the road. We canchoose this week to take a new direction for road injury prevention.This brieng paper provides conference del-egates with powerful arguments for why roadsafety must become a development and healthpriority. As Kevin Watkins and Devi Sridhar point out, economic self interest alone dictatesthat road safety be acted on by governments.The tragic waste of human life, the draining of national wealth, the crippling impact on healthsystems, families condemned to poverty –these are the man-made disasters that are theconsequence of ignoring road safety.We encourage national governments, and thosewith responsibility for road safety at regionaland local level, to adopt ambitious strategies toreduce road trafc injuries. For example, minis-ters meeting in Moscow could together committo work for universal seat belt and helmet wear-ing by 2020.We urge international donors and the develop-ment banks to lead by example. Both interna-tional institutions and individual countries areincreasingly recognising the important role thatroad assessment and subsequent safe road de-sign can play in reducing casualties across theroad network. This must become a program-matic priority.And we call on ministers meeting in Moscowto support our call for a Decade of Action for Road Safety. With political determination andresources commensurate to the scale of thiscrisis, leading road safety experts believe thatve million lives could be saved over the nextten years.Five million lives are at stake: ve million peoplewhose potential can be realised, and not wast-ed. Five million families who need never knowthe sudden shock and lifelong grief that comesfrom losing a loved one in a road crash.So let us commit this week, at this historic con-ference, to work together for a Decade of Actionand make roads safe for us all.
Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson of Port EllenChairman, Make Roads Safe Campaign
Foreword: Lord Robertson