Improve road safety around the world to save more lives on the roads every day

At the beginning of the year, the UN promoted the III World Ministerial Conference on Road Safety around the 2030 Agenda. The meeting, which was held in Sweden, closed the call ‘Stockholm Declaration’, a text through which more than 140 countries reaffirmed their commitment to international cooperation in order to reduce by half the number of deaths and serious injuries in the European roads in 2030, as well as reaching the ‘Vision Zero’, that is to say, zero deaths and zero serious injuries by 2050.

In this same meeting, in addition, a balance was made, both from the point of view of successes and improvements, of the measures taken in the UN Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. After closing this year, a stage in which road deaths have dropped due –obviously– to mobility restrictions around the world, the international organization has gone one step further and proclaimed the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021 – 2030.

A period of ten years during which, the governments with the collaboration of organizations such as the WHO and the private sector, they want to reduce the number of deaths on the roads to 50%, mostly avoidable with prevention, road safety measures, sustainable and safe transport, as well as communication campaigns to make the population aware of the importance of prudence while driving.

It is not a trivial objective, especially because, according to WHO data, at this time 1.3 million people die annually in the world from road accidents. But, in addition, and according to the same source, between 20 and 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries, but of intense gravity; while traffic accidents have become the main cause of death among young people between 15 and 29 years of age.

Halve the number of fatalities by 2030

To reduce the number of fatalities by half in 2030 and to zero in 2050, concrete measures will be carried out as contemplated in this Second Decade of Action for Road Safety, which will be applied at the global and local level. In this sense, in addition, the WHO has drawn attention to the fact that only 15% of countries have extensive legislation that addresses five fundamental risks: speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol and not wearing a helmet, seat belt and child restraint systems.

To avoid these risks, both from the UN and from the WHO, maximum coordination is requested between governments, non-governmental organizations, private companies and, of course, the strong collaboration of civil society, especially of young people and victims and survivors.

At the normative level, they point out as a priority to implement a national and local plan that complements the Global Plan for Road Safety, as well as enacting new laws that improve compliance with the legislation; while urging nongovernmental organizations to create awareness instruments, organize public events and, as far as possible, propose changes and improvements in current legislation.

With regard to the civilian population, the WHO asks young people to be ambassadors for road safety and the victims ask them to share their personal stories and explain the consequences of traffic accidents in order to raise public awareness of the importance of respecting the regulations and save more lives every day. For private companies, for their part, the WHO urges to publish the safety regulations applicable to their corporate fleets, support campaigns in the contexts in which they operate and contribute financially to the Fund for Road Safety.

More technology for safer travel

Now, after closing 2020, the Second Decade of Road Safety wants to improve road safety by reinforcing some of the initiatives that are already underway and include novelties, especially marked by high technology, that will advance us to the objective of zero victims of 2050.

Among other aspects, it is advocated for actions aimed at ensuring that road safety plays an important role when developing urban plans, transport systems and governance, protecting, above all, the most vulnerable of the circulation: pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.

This new ten-year plan promoting healthy environmental transport, safe and economical where, in addition, the public character is first, as well as making efforts so that the infrastructures are totally safe with transport and users.

The promotion and development of technology and innovation are also contemplated to save more lives every day. In this regard, if we look at Spain, and according to data from the DGT, at this time sustainable transport systems and investment in high technology are being financed in order to control and monitor that road safety laws are complied with, avoid distractions and , in short, make travel safer.

It has also been invested in communication campaigns to demand responsibility from civil society and the drop in speed to 90 km / h on conventional roads, a gesture that has reduced the accident rate by up to 9%.

Commitment to road safety from the private sector

Also this Second Decade 2021 – 2030 asks the companies, regardless of their size or sector, that commit and contribute, through different actions, initiatives and financing, to achieve the SDGs on road safety marked by the UN.

Along these lines, and joining the road safety campaigns from the different areas of civil society, the Abertis Foundation has carried out education and awareness actions such as the initiative of ‘Add your light’ with the aim of preventing young people from driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs or the campaign ‘We have to do it again’ destined to the education and awareness of the students of the ESO.

With regard to children, Abertis and Unicef ​​have been partners in the project for several years “Rights of way” to prevent harm to children caused by traffic accidents, as they are the leading cause of school-age mortality.

In the academic setting, Abertis promotes its network of university chairs and collaborates with doctors from the Institut Guttmann specialized in the treatment of injuries of neurological origin that, among other activities, travel to different countries to give training sessions and advice to local doctors on the best practices applied for the prevention and treatment of injuries derived from traffic accidents.

It all adds up, we all have a great responsibility to improve road safety around the world and achieve the goal of saving more lives on the roads every day.