UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for collective efforts to prevent road accidents that cause over 1.3 million deaths annually, on the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance of Road Traffic Victims that was marked on Sunday.
More young people aged between 15 and 29 die from road crashes each year than from HIV/AIDs, malaria, tuberculosis or homicide, Guterres said in his message for the day, which is observed on the third Sunday in November every year.
While the scale of the challenge is enormous, he said, collective efforts can do much to prevent these tragedies, stressing that saving lives by improving road safety is one of the many objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
He recalled that, since 2015, his special envoy for road safety has worked to mobilize political commitment, raise awareness about the UN road safety conventions, foster dialogue on good practices and advocate for funding and partnerships.
In 2018, the UN Road Safety Fund was launched to finance actions in low- and middle-income countries, where around 90 percent of traffic casualties occur, he noted. In February 2020, a global ministerial conference on road safety will be held in Sweden, according to Guterres.
“Urgent action remains imperative. On this World Day, I call on all to join forces to address the global road safety crisis,” he said.
The risk of dying in a road traffic crash is more than three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries, and over half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, according to the UN.