With more than 1.3 million deaths worldwide each year and nearly 50 million serious injuries, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for children and young people between 5 and 29 years old. Road crashes are a global health issue that incites loss of livelihoods and feeds cycles of poverty. Road traffic fatalities disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, where 90% of global road deaths occur.
Ensuring safe mobility and transport is crucial to access to education, jobs, health and social services, shops, family and friends, sport or culture. Rural isolation disproportionately harms the poor, older persons, persons with disabilities, children and women. Safe transport is critical to moving people out of poverty.
However, 95 per cent of the world’s transport energy still coming from burning fossil fuels, the transport sector produces a quarter of all energy-related emissions. There is therefore a strong correlation between road safety and climate change that we need to address globally.
This event included the launch of the book on safe and sustainable mobility for the new Decade of Action for Road Safety, by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Mr. Jean Todt. The book comprises essays from public figures, "Friends of the Special Envoy", representing many sectors and industries and sharing their beliefs on how we can collectively tackle the invisible pandemic of traffic crash fatalities and injuries. Several high-level contributors to the book were present at the event.
Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges spoke about the efforts her country has put in place to promote road safety, from expanding cycle paths and pedestrian paths to introducing road safety as part of the educational curriculum at all ages. Young Leader Giovanni Pintor stressed how implementing safe zones in front of schools helped to reduce accidents. Panellists agreed that the number of deaths caused by road accidents is far too high and that, to achieve the target of SDG 3.6 to reduce this number by half, joint efforts and partnerships are required.